Bobby Rush knows what a chitlin—a spiced pig intestine--tastes like. And he doesn’t have to eat one now, unless he wants to. These days it tastes very good to be Bobby Rush, the King of the Chitlin Circuit. He is a Grammy Award winner, just recently had a fabulous cameo in the latest Eddie Murphy movie, and right this second is rocking audiences around the world at the tender age of 86. Sitting in a comfortable room in his Jackson, Mississippi home on a November morning, with construction workers in the process of building a Bobby Rush museum, Rush went all-in on a conversation with Radio NWR. We caught up with the blues master for a conversation about Mississippi, Howlin’ Wolf, the chitlin circuit and Doctor Martin Luther King. The guy has a lot to tell.

Bobby blows a note. Photo by Peter Conheim.
Bobby explains how it’s done to RJ. Photo by Peter Conheim.
Bobby’s Arkansas Black Hall of Fame award. Photo by Peter Conheim.
The house of Rush. Photo by Peter Conheim.

Slider image and left image: Bill Steber.


Interviewer: RJ Smith.


RJ Smith is author of American Witness, a biography of filmmaker and photographer Robert Frank, and The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. He is currently at work on a biography of Chuck Berry. Smith lives in Chicken Corner, California.