By John Kessler
Otis Rush brought such passion and emotion to his singing and guitar playing that his music has been called “frighteningly intense”. Rush never achieved the commercial success that he might have, but along with Buddy Guy and Magic Sam, he is acknowledged to be one of the architects of the Chicago blues sound of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Playing guitar left-handed and upside-down gave him a unique sound, and his vocal commitment was obvious, but beyond that, Otis Rush wrote and recorded songs that would be huge influences on future blues guitarists Peter Green, Gary Moore and Michael Bloomfield. Otis Rush often played in minor keys, and his 1958 recording “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” also had a Latin-influenced rhythm section. Peter Green admitted that his best-known composition “Black Magic Woman has the exact same musical form as “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)”.
Another British blues player who has repeatedly cited Otis Rush as his main influence is John Mayall, one of the originators of the British blues movement of the 1960’s. His various versions of the Bluesbreakers would feature guitarists Peter Green, Mick Taylor and Eric Clapton. Mayall’s 1966 release Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was the record that established Clapton as a legitimate guitar hero, and featured “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)”.
Here’s a great live recording of Otis Rush with Eric Clapton performing the song:
It would have been hard to predict that a blues artist would have commercial success in the same decade as Disco, Punk and New Wave music. But the talent and musicianship of Stevie Ray Vaughan were an undeniable phenomenon, and during the 1980’s his albums regularly went gold. An ardent Otis Rush fan, Vaughan named his band Double Trouble after the Otis Rush composition. The live recording featured here is from 1980.
Here are the complete versions of “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” tracked through time: