50th year anniversary of "Chicken Heads"
Bobby Rush’s biggest hit, “Chicken Heads”, is celebrating its 50th year anniversary this year. In recognition of this milestone, he collaborated with this prolific group of artist friends in recording reimagined versions of the track, in their own unique styles. On Record Store Day Black Friday this year, a 12″ vinyl will be released with versions from Buddy Guy, Gov’t Mule, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, and a brand new recording of the track from Bobby Rush–inspired by over 50 years of performing the song live in front of audiences around the globe.
12 Blues Music Awards and 48 nominations
To date, Bobby has earned 12 Blues Music Awards and 48 nominations, including the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Award and Album of the Year. Rush co-starred in the 2014 documentary Take Me to the River alongside Terrence Howard, Snoop Dogg, and Mavis Staples. That same year, Bobby joined Dan Aykroyd on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon to perform two songs, marking his first late-night television appearance. In 2019 the feature film Dolemite Is My Name about Rudy Ray Moore making cult classic film Dolemite, was released in select theaters and on Netflix, starring Eddie Murphy, Wesley Snipes, Keegan-Michael Key, and with a cameo by Bobby Rush.
Some years ago I happened to see Paul Thorn performing on an outdoor stage at a street festival in the heart of a small Mississippi town. Suddenly, in mid-song, Thorn stopped playing and looked down at the upturned, sugar-splattered face of a fan on the front row. “I sure would like me a funnel cake,” Thorn announced. The crowd exploded with laughter. By the end of the next song, someone in the audience had responded, and soon Thorn was happily munching on the doughy confection.
And that, dear people, is one more shining example of how Paul Thorn is able to breathe in the air around him, everyday and commonplace, and exhale something original and often side-splitting funny. It’s a kind of genius, and it’s there plain to see, in his music, his art, and through his performances, which not only showcase his chops as a singer-songwriter but as a pitch-perfect improv comic.
His audiences love it. And they come back for more because no two Paul Thorn performances are alike. For further confirmation of this, check out Thorn’s YouTube videos, though I warn you. You will find yourself a long time in this rabbit hole.
It's never too late to call
In contrast with earlier work that riffed on short-term love affairs, as well as “kissing the right one good-bye,” the writing on Thorn’s latest release, “Never Too Late To Call” features music from a man who is with the “right one” and is happy to be there.
This offering, seven years in the making, features all original material, some songs written by Thorn, others co-written with his friend and longtime manager Billy Maddox. The CD was recorded at Sam Phillips Studio in Memphis and produced and engineered by Grammy-winning wunderkind Matt Ross-Spang.