Category: Tom Rush

Tom Rush – The Circle Game

ARTIST: Tom Rush                        220px-tom_rush_circle

TITLE: The Circle Game

YEAR RELEASED: 1968

CHART ACTION: #68

SINGLES: No Regrets, Something in the Way She Moves

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: He covers three Joni Mitchell songs you may know.

LINEUP: Tom Rush and session musicians.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Rush, no slouch as a songwriter, uses songs from others (for the most part) to construct a concept album about a relationship.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tom Rush had a great ear for his fellow singer-songwriters, and plucked tunes from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne, among others (mind you, those songwriters were still unknown to the general public) and constructed a song-cycle about a relationship from beginning to end.

Moving from the highs of the beginning of a romance, to the end of the road, then following with a somber instrumental, then with his tour-de-force self-penned “No Regrets”, Rush used the songs from his compatriots to build the concept.

His rich baritone and knack for arrangements and instrumentation and production from Arthur Gorson made this one of the go-to singer-songwriter albums for the folk fans and the more mellow counter-culture.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Linda Eastman (soon to be McCartney) took the iconic cover photograph.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few alternate takes.

 GRADE A: It may seem a bit dated now, but it’s still an elegant song-cycle and “No Regrets” is an all-timer.

Tom Rush – Take a Little Walk with Me

ARTIST: Tom Rush                         MI0001689574

TITLE:  Take a Little Walk with Me

YEAR RELEASED: 1966

CHART ACTION: #122

SINGLES: Who Do You Love, On the Road Again

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Most all of these are well known

LINEUP: Tom Rush, Al Kooper, session musicians

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Interesting collection of old rock and blues on one side, and current (for the time) classics from the folk genre on the other one.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tom Rush was known as a interpreter of folk songs, and on the second side of this he does the same. His version of  “Joshua Gone Barbados” is beautiful and haunting and he did an interesting folky version of “Statesboro Blues”.

The other side is a full out folk-rock attack on 50’s electric blues and rock classics from Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and others. While this shows Rush as someone with a great, diverse palette of music, it sounds odd and disjointed when moving from the old rock standards to the new folk classics. He’s got a great voice and a feel for both folk and rock.

Perhaps Rush was emulating what Dylan did on some of this albums. That’s a possibility. But it still sounds odd, especially from an interpreter.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Even though Rush is known as a singer/songwriter, every song here is a cover or a traditional folk song.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B: Good performances, but I’d rather have an album of more rock standards and another full album of folk standards.

Tom Rush – Tom Rush

ARTIST: Tom Rush MI0002780063
TITLE: Tom Rush
YEAR RELEASED: 1965
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: None
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A lot of traditional and old folk and blues songs here.
LINEUP: Tom Rush, John Sebastian, Felix Pappalardi, Bill Lee
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Young folk singer gets a break in signing to Elektra and records an album that has tendrils in the blues and soul.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Tom Rush is known, if that, for his songs than his performance. He faded into the background after the 60’s turned to the 70’s. But in the 60’s he was an emerging artist in the folk, later folk-rock, later later singer-songwriter, movements.

This was his first break, as Elektra was then known as the folk singers label of choice (if you weren’t Dylan – and who was?) Instead of traditional folk with nice acoustic guitars and plaintive vocals, he leans into the songs. He also chose to record several older blues songs, and a lot of Woody Guthrie that is more in line with the traditional blues than purist folk.

Performing on many songs with help on bass, harmonica and another guitar, Rush rolls through 13 tracks and it doesn’t bore a rock listener. These are solid folk interpretations and had folk been more prominent in the late 60’s he could have been big.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: He attended Harvard and majored in English Literature and was part of the fertile Boston folk scene in the early 60’s.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A-: This is an acoustic folk album that even non-folkies can love.