Before signaling the start of the singer/songwriter era with 1968's The Circle Game, Tom Rush made his name as a solid folk singer on the Cambridge, Mass., music scene. After several albums for various labels, Rush landed on Elektra Records and recorded this self-titled collection of blues and folk traditionals. (It's not to be confused with his Columbia Records debut, 1970's Tom Rush.) His love for classic American music is evident in these hard-rocking acoustic renditions of Kokomo Arnold's "Milk Cow Blues," Bukka White's "Panama Limited," and public domain tunes such as "Black Mountain Blues" and "The Cuckoo." His singing is tougher throughout these early albums than the restrained and assured style of his later work. But these tracks represent the earnest roots of a man who's proven to have an unerring ear for a song.