An Early Interview with Tom Rush

Tom Rush's Wrong End of the Rainbow LP
This was Tom Rush’s newest album at the time of our conversation.

I conducted this brief interview with then 29-year-old folk singer Tom Rush on Dec. 5, 1970, right after his performance that night at the State University of New York at Albany (which I was attending at the time). The Albany Student Press published the piece three days later.

Tell us about your new album.

It’s called Wrong End of the Rainbow, which is the name of the title song, which I wrote. It’s on Columbia, and it should be in the stores in a few weeks.

Who would you list among your musical influences?

Well, I started in Cambridge, Massachusetts, playing with Eric Von Schmidt, [Joan] Baez, and Jim Kweskin, among others. So them. And a cat named Robert L. Jones. And another named Geoff Muldaur.

What music have you been listening to lately?

Oh, Otis Redding. And the Brewer and Shipley Band. And the Stones. Their new album, the live one. They don’t even have to be good because they’re so famous. But they’re fantastic. Unbelievable.

You seem to spot talented songwriters long before anyone else. You recorded Joni Mitchell and James Taylor songs long before most people had ever heard of them. How do you spot talent?

I have good taste in music.

Have you ever thought of adding a drummer to your group?

Been thinking about it for two years. Haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Did you like the audience tonight?

Yeah, I thought they were a great bunch to play for.

Did you hear that amazing applause after your encore?

Yeah, I would’ve played some more, but “The Child’s Song” is the only one I play by myself at this point and the other two guys [in the band] were already halfway to a bar.

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