DARIUS RUCKER FEATURING TAKE ME HOME CHARLESTON OKRA SOUP

Author : Tee Mayberry

Darius Rucker, the front man for 1990’s super group Hootie and the Blowfish was one of the most popular lead singers and rhythm guitarist in main stream rock and pop music.

Native of Charleston, South Carolina attended the University of South Carolina. One day while singing in the shower former member of Hootie and the Blowfish Mark Bryan overheard him singing. The two became friends and formed a duo which covered R.E.M Songs at local venues around the town. They later recruited Jim Sonefield and Dean Felber 1989. Collectively the four individuals formed the super group Hootie and the Blowfish.The band’s debut album “Cracked Rear” was inexplicably amazing, so amazing that it sold over 16 million albums. Now either they were crazy popular or literally talented. I tend to lean towards the latter. After such a powerful release, the band never reached the success of their release. They decided to take a break after their latest release in 1998 entitled “Musical Chairs.” During this break, Rucker used this time to start a solo career and began to get more in touch with his country and rhythm and blues roots.

Growing up in Charleston, Rucker was exposed to many R&B greats at a very early age. Believe it or not those icons had major a major influence on Hootie and the Blowfish’s recordings but it wasn’t until Rucker’s solo career did he pay homage to the influences of his youth.

Speaking of a solo career, Darius was slated to release his first solo effort “The Return of Mongo Slade” in 2001 on Atlantic Records but contract changes prevented the release so Hidden Beach Records approached him with a sweet deal and acquired all the rights to Darius’s master recordings of Darius’s materials. Once signed with Hidden Beach Records, Rucker revamped a few of his songs and injected the vocal styling of Jill Scott and flow of Snoop Dogg or Snoop Lion whatever you want to call him these days. After the album “The Return of Mongo Slade” Rucker re-united with his fellow band members Hootie and the Blowfish and released two albums in the early 2000’s before returning to his solo career. This time, Darius returned to his country roots in which he developed a huge country following and fan base. His fan base was so strong that they propelled his first “Country” single “Don’t think I Don’t Think About It ” to the top of the Billboard country charts. Darius released two more singles that peaked #1 status from this album which propelled this album into platinum status. Rucker decided to stay in the country industry feeling he had finally found his musical niche. He has released two more albums. One release in 2010 “Charleston, SC 1966” and another this year called ” True Believers” which peaked at number 18. Its second single is a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel“, featuring backing vocals from Lady Antebellum and it reached number one on the Country Airplay chart.Last year he was invited join the Grand Ole Opry, he accepted and was officially inducted on October 16, 2012. Looks like Darius Rucker’s decision to stay on the country path paid off in a major way for his music career.

Now on to the food !!!

Author : Shap

Word on the street is that Darius Rucker’s favorite thing to eat is Charleston Okra Soup. This is a warm, smokey and very savory soup with a kick to it. This is a great dish to have on a nice fall day and I enjoyed every last bit down to the last slurp !! I think this might even be just wonderful over a warm bed of rice or couscous…just an idea for later…:) Hope you enjoy !!

Take Me Home Charleston Okra Soup

Ingredients

– 1 1/2 pounds Beef Shank, cut into 3/4-inch cubs, marrow bone reserved
– Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
– 2 tablespoons Canola Oil
– 2 cups chopped yellow onion
– 3 bay leaves
– 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
– 1/4 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
– 1 (28-ounce) can Peeled and Crushed Tomatoes
– 1 pound Fresh Okra, trimmed, cut on the bias into 1/2-inch-thick ovals ( if you cant find any fresh you can use frozen)
– Fresh parsley

Directions

1) Season the beef and marrow bone with a pinch salt and black pepper. Put in a shallow dish, covered, and bring to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pat the pieces dry with a paper towel.

2) Pour the oil into a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, and when it shimmers, brown the beef and marrow bone adding oil by teaspoonfuls if the pan becomes too dry.

3) Transfer the browned beef and bone to a bowl and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, bay leaves, red pepper flakes, paprika and a pinch of salt. Cook, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and adding a teaspoon of water or oil if the pan becomes dry, until the onion softens and is some what clear, about 6 minutes.

4) Add 1 quart of water and the tomatoes, return the beef and marrow bone to the pan and cover. When the soup simmers gently, uncover and reduce the heat to low. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is just tender, about 1 hour. Add the okra and continue cooking until the okra is just tender, about 25 minutes.

5) Discard the bay leaves and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve and garnish with parsley.

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