What I Know
Tom Rush (“Circle Game”, “No Regrets”) is best known as one of the many folk singers who crossed over to the pop field in the late sixties. Like countless contemporaries, with time Rush faded from view; What I Know serves as his first studio album in more than three decades.
Rush has remained active; he has maintained a regular touring schedule and live albums have been released. Time has been kind to his voice, and What I Know stands on its own as a superior folk album whether Rush’s past is considered or not.
Rush reminds one of Chip Taylor, himself a performer who left the limelight for many years before embarking on a successful comeback. Rush’s delivery is languid, and on a song such as “You’re Not Here With Me” he affects a half-spoken, partly sung quality that is very reminiscent of Taylor.
A man with many friends, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, and Bonnie Bramlett join Rush in duets, and the ladies complement Rush’s rich voice. Nashville A-listers including Harry Stinson, Fats Kaplin, Mike Henderson, and Suzy Ragsdale contribute.
What I Know alternates between light, bouncy ditties (“Hot Tonight” and “What I Know”), thoughtful examinations (“East of Eden”, “All A Man Can Do”, and “Too Many Memories”), and the familiar (“River Song” and a splendid rendering of “Drift Away”).
The results are spectacular.