Louisiana bluesman Bobby Rush has had a long and storied career, notching three Grammy nominations, 10 Blues Music Awards and a 2006 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame over the course of his 60+ year career. At 82, he hasn’t slowed down a bit and is preparing to release his Rounder Records debut, Porcupine Meat, on September 16.
The album’s title and accompanying title track were inspired by a romance gone wrong. Rush, known as much for his sense of humor as his musicianship, wrote about the relationship from a pretty unique perspective: comparing his lady to porcupine meat.
“I wrote this song, because I was in a situation with a lady I knew,” Rush says. “She didn’t mean me no good but she made me feel so good. If I stayed with her I’m dead, and if I leave her I’m dead. Anytime a situation comes to me like that I try to find words to put to song. A porcupine looks really good with stickers on it, but you better not touch it – on the inside its meat is too tough to eat. So there you get ‘porcupine meat, too fat to eat, to lean to throw away.’ We got this video we did on it. It’s one of the greatest things that I’ve ever done in my life. The guy Patrick Tohill, who was doing it, had a vision for it that was like he was there when I was writing the song. He understood the concept. He knew the meaning of porcupine meat, knew it was a little animal, but understood my idea for it, that it was the hard situation of being in love with a woman who meant me no good, but that I couldn’t let go. He understood it as soon as he had heard the song, as if he wrote it himself. I think that’s one of the reasons the video came out so well.”
Watch “Porcupine Meat” below.