Bob Corritore All-Star Blues
Bad Dog Blues (October 1999)
Blue Beat Music (1999)
Blues & Company (France)
Blues and Soul Records, Vol. 30 (Japan) (December 1999)
Blues On Stage (MN Blues)
Blues Revue (December 1999)
Cherry Hill, NJ Courier-Post (December 25, 1999)
City Link (Fort Lauderdale)
Down Beat (November 1999)
Get Out Magazine (Mesa, AZ Tribune)
Hohner Harmonicas' Easy Reeding Magazine
Living Blues (November/December 1999)
Record Collector's Magazine (Japan) (January 2000)
Soul Bag Magazine (France) (Spring 2000)
Stereophile (December 1999)
Tower Records' Pulse (December 1999)
|Corritore is Phoenix's blues
man around town, a club co-owner, DJ and talented harmonica player who likes to have
various dignitaries enter the local recording studio when they pass through south-central
Arizona. This collection of numbers has Corritore and his band lighting fires under Bo
Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Nappy Brown and others. High spots: Brown gets intensely personal
singing the ballad "Driftin' Blues" and Robert Lockwood, Jr. has a ball probing
Wes Montgomery's "Naptown Blues."
--- by Frank-John Hadley
|Bob Corritore is a fine
harmonica player --- particularly notable for his ability to adapt to a wide range of
stylistic situations, from vintage Chicago blues to romping bayou rock --- but it's his
lineup of guest stars that makes this collection intriguing.
From 1986 to 1998, the ex-Chicagoan (and former owner of B.O.B. Records) escorted an all-star array of touring blues talent into various Arizona recording studios (Corritore lives in Scottsdale) to cut sides that spotlight his own harp skills behind the vocals of his guests. Corritore's productions are uniformly first-class on tracks with Jimmy Rogers (Out On The Road is as dark and brooding as it was when Rogers waxed it for Chess), King Karl and Jimmy Dotson (whose sides drive over a late '50s swamp-rock groove), and downhome guitarists Clarence Edwards, R.L. Burnside, and Lil' Ed Williams. Bo Diddley sounds tired on the otherwise solid Little Girl, but Nappy Brown's world-weary Driftin' Blues is affecting. Pianist Henry Gray swings Everybody's Fishin', and Corritore locates common ground with guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr., for the jazzy instrumental Naptown Blues.
Corritore's taste in studio partners is matched by his musical execution.
--- by Bill Dahl
All-Star Blues Sessions appeared at #19 on the Living Blues radio chart for October 1999.
|Bob Corritore is, first and
foremost, a friend and fan of the blues. His schooling began during his teen years, when
he was hanging out on Chicago's South Side and playing harmonica with Magic Slim, Honeyboy
Edwards and Mighty Joe Young. At 21, he created his own blues label and recorded Louisiana
Red, among others. After relocating to Phoenix, Corritore became a partner in a showcase
blues club, created a respected weekly blues radio show on KJZZ-FM and continued sitting
in with local bands. Over the years, this aggressive promoter of "authentic"
blues --- deep-groove traditional blues that bleeds with emotion --- has amassed a legion
of contacts and recorded with a veritable who's who of blues talents, from Robert
Lockwood, Jr. to Lil' Ed Williams and from Kid Ramos to Jimmy Rogers. Those are only a few
of the luminaries who appear on these tracks recorded from 1986 to 1998.
Corritore modeled his harmonica playing after the teachings of Little Walter, whose talent for grabbing attention with his amped-up chromatic workouts set the standard for harp players everywhere. Here, however, Corritore has the wisdom to lie back on many cuts, tastefully adding subtle hues to each carefully organized composition. The rollicking "Naptown Blues," featuring Lockwood's guitar and Eddie Hollis' standout B-3, is a highlight. Corritore jumps forward with R.L. Burnside's "Goin' Down South" and Dino Spells' infectious "Jennie Bea," demonstrating his ability to hold his own while in the spotlight. Bo Diddley's "Little Girl" coaxes a deeper, more passionate Corritore to the fore. But the heroes of this varied collection are the stars who lend their credibility to the proceedings, creating an interesting blues tapestry that's worth a listen. It's to Corritore's credit that he's reversed his role from blues student to blues teacher, faithfully spreading the word and sharing his extensive knowledge and experience.
--- by Eric Thom
A collection of newly recorded blues tracks might sound like a sketchy proposition --- especially one recorded and compiled by a young, white harp-player in Arizona. Go ahead, admit it: images of cool shades, Hawaiian shirts, jazz patches and facial expressions saying, "I got the mojo" come to mind. And that's not to mention the several-times-removed version of the blues found on too many such projects. Which is why musician / manager / DJ / ex-label head Bob Corritore's All-Star Blues Sessions (HMG / HighTone) is such a pleasant surprise. Between 1986 and '98, Corritore managed to capture such greats as Robert Lockwood, Jr., Jimmy Rogers, R.L. Burnside, Bo Diddley and others working through an assortment of well-worn songs ("Five Long Years", "How Many More Years"), as well as a number of original tunes. But half the attraction here is the first-class backing, by the likes of Bob Margolin, Pinetop Perkins and Corritore, who's an ace harp-player. A worthwhile gift for old blues wolves and howlin' young cubs alike.
--- by Ned Hammad
One of the biggest downsides of music writing is having a friend suddenly show up with a smile on his face and a new disc in his hand that he made himself. Ouch! Sad to say, in most cases the results are something less than essential.
I admit up front that Bob Corritore is an old and dear friend who, like all my musician friends, got the standard warning: "You'll get no special quarter from me just 'cause we're friends. In fact, I'll be harder on your disc than I will on those from musicians I don't know." On top of that, collections of "all star" collaborations usually leave me cold --- too many disparate styles, philosophies, and engineers to make for a coherent album.
All that said, Corritore --- who co-owns Phoenix's Rhythm Room club, hosts a radio show, is one of the world's living experts on Chicago blues, and, oh yeah, plays a fairly mean harp --- has made a very listenable blues record that moves from highlight to highlight. This disc contains everything from R.L. Burnside's primal, modern-day Mississippi grunt blues vocals ("Goin' Down South") and the great King Karl singing Excello blues ("Cool Calm Collected"), to Texas blues-piano legend Henry Gray ("Everybody's Fishin'," plus two more) and a sweet cut from late Chicago icon Jimmy Rogers ("Out On The Road"). Despite my reservations about stylistic incongruities, it all hangs together beautifully.
The glue is Corritore's producing skills, his friendships with his guests, and his tasty, unselfishly economical solos. Happily, Clarke Rigsby's engineering has captured it all in sound that is very good to great --- lots of separation between instruments, a believably sized soundstage, and plenty of warmth and presence.
Friend or not, Bob Corritore has recorded a fine collection of modern blues styles.
--- by Robert Baird
|(Translated from original
Japanese text by Akira Kochi of P-Vine Records)
Bob Corritore founded his own label "Blues Over Blues" in 1979, and has been active in both production and harp playing ever since. After moving to Arizona in 1981, he has been a popular figure in Arizona Blues scene through his self-run club and radio program. This recording is collection of the jam sessions between 1986-1998 of Corritore and a galaxy of blues greats he invited to Arizona, such as Lil' Ed, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Bo Diddley, R.L. Burnside, etc. You can listen to Jimmy Rogers' relaxed performance on 1992 session, swingy Lockwood, and many more. Corritore sticks to an orthodox approach, intends to show the very best of each artists, to such stance I wish to send an applause. Each session fully express the respect of Corritore and his friends to the co-starring bluesmen.
--- by Toshio Miyazawa
|(Translated from original
Japanese text by Akira Kochi of P-Vine Records)
Stock of session recordings of Arizona-based white blues harpist Bob Corritore with variety of blues artists, from the famous Lockwood, Burnside to mania's delights. Corritore's sincere support always shows his intention to have the senior blues artists to play freely in pleasant condition. Each artist respond with their superb performance. It's good to know there's a blues aficionado in every part of the world.
--- by Hiroshi Sano
If you like the Blues, Bob Corritore's All-Star Blues Sessions is a jewel and a must have. Corritore, a stellar harmonica player, is also co-owner of The Rhythm Room, Phoenix's premier blues club. Artists featured on the All-Star Blues Sessions have performed at the Rhythm Room. That's how All-Star Blues Sessions came to feature blues legends Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, R.L. Burnside, Pinetop Perkins, plus stellar players including Bob Margolin, Clarence Edwards, Nappy Brown, Jimmy Dotson, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Henry Gray, Lil' Ed, Dino Spells, King Karl, Kid Ramos, Rusty Zinn and drummers Chico Chism and Richard Innes. After these greats performed at the Rhythm Room, Corritore would take them into Phoenix studios and record them over a 12 year period from 1986-1998.
Corritore performs harmonica on all 16 tracks. He's an incredible harmonica player, up to the job of performing with these great names in music. Corritore started playing harmonica as a teen, sitting in with some great names performing in Chicago nightclubs on the south side.
With that kind of a lineup, it's difficult to single out any one cut as being terrific. They all are. Added to the great harmonica playing, great vocals, and great guitar, is the superb production job done on the All-Star Blues Sessions. Corritore had his own record label when he was 21 and produce Sittin' Here Wonderin' on Louisiana Red's Earwig Records, later nominated for a Handy award. This production expertise, acquired early, no doubt helped add to the quality of the all-Star Blues Sessions CD. Whether playing with Henry Gray on piano and vocals (cut 13), or playing with Jimmy Rogers on guitar and vocals, Corritore's harmonica fits in like they couldn't have done it without him.
As an expression of blues from the greats over more than a decade, All-Star Blues Sessions is not just great music but also blues history in the making.
--- by Toni Radler
You could say that Bob Corritore is something of a blues enthusiast. A formidable player in his own right, the Arizona-based musician has worn many hats in his desire to bring the blues to a wider audience. He has been a record label owner, producer and the host of his own weekly radio show.
On his debut CD, All-Star Blues Sessions (Hightone), Corritore assembles collaborations recorded throughout the '90s with both local and nationally recognized blues talents.
Complemented by Corritore's seesawing harmonica propulsion, R.L. Burnside serves up an unusually stern delivery and guitar ascension of "Goin' Down South." Lil' Ed Williams brings wily vocals and streaks of Delta-inspired riffs to the hearty harp extensions and sturdy rhythms of "Hip Shakin'."
Pianist Pinetop Perkins joins Corritore and drummer/vocalist Chico Chism on a memorable rendition of the Eddie Boyd-penned lament "Five Long Years." Chism's barreling, throaty delivery and somber drum pulse are met by Corritore's winding harp calls and Perkins' blend of melancholy musings and stark punctuation.
Bo Diddley's rhythmic chords and fiery sendoff for "Little Girl" are supported by Corritore's crunchy harp accompaniment ad the surging momentum of Chism's drumming.
Another highlight is the synergy between Jimmy Rogers' minimalist fretwork sting and Corritore's lonesome harp wails on "Out On The Road."
--- by Jeff Hall
Imagine taping a killer blues mix for a party, and what songs you'd put on it to keep booties wagging and fingers popping. That's essentially what harmonicist Bob Corritore has done here on this first-class blues revue featuring a panoply of primo blues talent.
The Chicago-born Corritore has been a fixture in Phoenix since the early '80s, establishing himself as a musician, DJ and, since 1991, a talent coordinator for The Rhythm Room blues club. So, obviously the dude's connected. But don't mistake All-Star Blues Sessions for a vanity project; Corritore is a fine harmonica player, his tone rich with the feeling of his Chicago roots.
Tracks were recorded between 1986 and 1998, whenever Corritore could corral his pals into the studio. And it's Corritore's pals who make this disc essential.
Lil' Ed Williams is the first to greet you to the party, his industrial-strength steel slide and baritone bellow in great form on his uncle J.B. Hutto's "Hip Shakin'." Backing Lil' Ed and Corritore is an exceptional cast of musicians, including guitarist Johnny Rapp, bassist Paul Thomas and drummer Chico Chism, all of whom are featured throughout this disc.
Next up is a trilogy of blues legends: rhythm guitar genius Jimmy Rogers with his own woeful "Out On The Road"; jazzy guitarist Robert Lockwood Jr. with a cool instrumental read of Wes Montgomery's "Naptown Blues"; and pianist Henry Gray (with support from Bob Margolin and Rapp on guitars) on the classic romp "Everybody's Fishin'." Chism takes mike, as well as sticks, in hand for a passionate vocal on Eddie Boyd's slow-burner "Five Long Years," aided by Pinetop Perkins on piano.
Still other textures are provided by R.L. Burnside on his dark Mississippi groove "Goin' Down South," and King Karl ups the party quotient with his jukebox-jamming Excello label sound on the defies-your-booty-to-keep-still "Cool, Calm, Collected" ("I'm a real cool cat and I wear a black derby hat").
Bo Diddley returns to his blues roots on his own "Little Girl," his vocals and guitar alternately full of good humor and menace. Pianist Gray is back with a stellar turn on "Showers of Rain" (again with brilliant work from Margolin) and Chism, too, reprises his vocals on an uptempo lope through the usually downbeat "I Had My Fun" (a.k.a. "Goin' Down Slow"), again showing his facility for seamlessly weaving words with beats.
The whole shebang comes to a close with the character-rich vocals of Nappy Brown, doing his take on Charles Brown's "Driftin' Blues" with some cool leads courtesy of Kid Ramos.
"There's a lot more in the vaults from where this set emerged," the liner notes trumpet. Better get more ice.
--- by Bob Weinberg
First things first- this is an absolutely killer blues compilation! With great performances by Lil' Ed, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Henry Gray and R.L. Burnside among others this is an excellent and diverse collection of first rate blues. that lives up to it's all-star billing.
--- by Jeff Harris
Chicago blues harmonica player Bob Corritore has sat in with some legendary figures and developed a style that seems far beyond his years. This album features him with seminal rock pioneer Bo Diddley, as well as blues greats Jimmy Rogers, Pinetop Perkins, Bob Margolin, Lil' Ed, and others --- and the result is a rich blend of authentic, roadhouse blues. It draws upon influences from Chicago to Phoenix, as well as rural Louisiana and Mississippi.
--- by Tom Henry
|Phoenix may be hot, but it
surely is not known as a hotbed of the blues -- which, by the way, is not Bob Corritore's
fault. A Chicago native, Corritore left the Windy City in the '80s and went to the Land of
the Sun where he has been spreadin' the word ever since. Recording, running a radio show,
booking acts into local clubs, he's done it all for the blues. This set highlights his
best recording efforts. A compilation of 16 tracks recorded over 12 years, AIl-Star
Blues Sessions has as its constant Corritore's harp work, but the focus is on the
guests. Whether it's Bo Diddley on "Little Girl", Pinetop Perkins on "Five
Long Years", Jimmy Rogers on "Out on the Road", Robert Lockwood, Jr. on
"Naptown Blues", or R.L. Burnside on "Goin' Down South", the setting
and playing work to highlight each session leader.
Let's get one concern out the way right now: even though Corritore's name may be new to you, the man can play. He uses the harp in wordless vocal accompaniment and as a background singer. Never intrusive, his style of playing -- more accents than leads -- adds immensely to the feel of each set without taking over. The rest of the band shifts with the timeframe, but the players show themselves to be more than just local session players. In fact, often much more. Chico Chism plays drums on about two-thirds of the tracks, and sings lead on a couple, where he shows himself to be a steady timekeeper and have a feel for a lyric. Johnny Rapp plays lead on more than half the tracks and does so with feeling and skill. All of this is very good since the guests turn in some sterling performances.
Clarence Edwards brings a dignified gait to the Arthur Crudup tune "Coal Black Mare", while Bo Diddley balances lust and longing perfectly in "Little Girl". And what can I say about Pinetop Perkins that hasn't been said a hundred times before and far better than I can? He's simply the best blues pianist ever, and he doesn't disappoint here in the least. Jimmy Rogers demands that you feel his pain in "Out On The Road", while Nappy Brown's extension of the Charles Brown tune "Driftin' Blues" would do the old master proud. Even though it's a varied set, All-Star Blues Sessions holds together quite well. The overall mood is more upbeat than midnight, but there's no doubt we are talking about the real blues here. In summary, a recommended disc from an unexpected quarter.
--- by Todd Warnke
|Get Out Magazine (Mesa, AZ Tribune)|
|The shadow Bob Corritore casts
over the Phoenix blues community is long and dark, and by the sheer force of his will,
he's made our hot town a much cooler place. Between Those Lowdown Blues, his
weekly radio show (since 1983), and bringing top blues acts to the Rhythm Room as
entertainment director, it should not be forgotten that Corritore is not just a blues
advocate but a fine blues musician in his own right. His harmonica playing is the feature
that ties together the 16 tracks on his debut CD. The "All-Star" in the title is
no empty boast, as the disc features the likes of Bo Diddley, R.L. Burnside,
Lockwood, Jr., and many, many others including a slew of Phoenix's finest players. Styles run
the entire emotional gamut from Jimmy Rogers' woeful lament on Out on the Road to
King Karl's ebullient braggadocio on Cool Calm Collected. Corritore's agility is
highlighted as his harp moves effortlessly to the forefront on some songs and into a
supporting role on others. Recorded right in the Valley between 1986 and 1998, the album
documents the mere tip of the iceberg of Corritore's vault as he's organized countless
studio sessions with visiting musicians. As he continues to do so, we can all look forward
to more albums like this.
--- by Thomas Bond
|Imagine of Zoo Bar owner Larry Boehmer owned a
recording studio. The result might be something like this disc from HighTone imprint HMG
featuring "the Larry Boehmer" of Phoenix, Arizona, Bob Corritore. The opening
track's title, "Hip Shakin'", sums up the whole disc's late-night, boogie-blues
Corritore is a partner in Phoenix, Arizona's The Rhythm Room (think Zoo Bar, Grand Emporium, etc.), and a musician with Chicago roots who hosts his own blues radio show there. Over the last few years he's been taking artists booked at the Rhythm Room into a recording studio to jam, and the resulting 16 tracks collected here capture some raw roadhouse "throw-downs".
Lil' Ed Williams cuts loose on his uncle J.B. Hutto's tune, that electrifying version of "Hip Shakin'". Ed's slide guitar and vocals are an amazing, live-wire blast of blues that eerily recalls Hutto's style -- this performance alone is surely worth the cost of the disc for Chicago-style blues fans.
Corritore is a harp player with a versatile tone and a smart sense of the groove. He's surrounded himself with a wealth of great musicians for these tracks. Old-timers like the late, great Chicago bluesman Jimmy Rogers are featured prominently (performing his own song, "Out on the Road", recorded in '92). Corritore also taps some fine younger players from the West Coast blues scene like Rusty Zinn, Kid Ramos and Tom Mahon. Greats such as Robert Johnson's "adopted son" Robert Lockwood, Jr., Pinetop Perkins, R.L. Burnside, and Bo Diddley are among the classic players spotlighted.
Names you may not know but will quickly savor include Henry Gray, Chico Chism, King Karl and Clarence Edwards. Their rich music simmers with that low-down, gritty 'n' greasy, it's the "real deal" feel. Chism, Perkins and Corritore smoke their way through the classic "Five Long Years." The jump-boogie "Cool, Calm, Collected" by King Karl captures the strains of blues birthing a fresh rock 'n' roll baby.
Whether you're a blues collector, or you're looking for a disc to start exploring the blues, this disc has got it goin' on -- from party-time boogies to melancholy after-hours serenades, Corritore's got the blues for you.
--- B.J. Huchtemann
Blues On Stage (MN Blues)
|Bob Corritore is a transplanted Chicagoan, now
living in Arizona, where all the tracks of this collection were cut. Corritore began
hitting the blues-club scene in Chicago, sitting in on harp. He formed Blues Over Blues
Records, and issued albums by a couple of mainstream blues harpists, Little Willie
Anderson (a chauffeur-clone wannabe for Little Walter) and Big Leon Brooks. Since 1981
Corritore has been gigging in Arizona, hosting a weekly blues radio show, and booking
national acts into local clubs.
This album has tunes cut between 1987-98 with a variety of players, the common denominator is Corritore's harp on each track, as well as a core back-up band from the local scene. Guest artists include pianist Henry Gray (Howling Wolf), he chops out a rocking "Everybody's Fishing" and two others, R L Burnside who burns on his mainstay number "Going Down South", and Little Ed with his uncle's number "Hip Shaking". Other notable names include Robert Jr. Lockwood, on the jazz-based instrumental "Naptown Blues", Bo Diddley on a non-tremolo guitar 1997 cut, "Little Girl", and Jimmy Rogers with "Out On The Road". The closing number features R&B shouter Nappy Brown doing a slow/deep eight minute musing on "Drifting Blues".
Other tracks are filled out with vocals from the drummer, and a few guitar players. The main thrust here is the classic Chicago Blues sound, definitely on the funky side of the alley. There are several classic titles like John Lee Williamson's "Hear That Rumbling", Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years", and Jimmy Oden's "I've Had My Fun"--all get solid treatments. Throughout the set Corritore adds right-in-the-pocket harp, varying from acoustic to chromatic. He has a touch of Walter Horton's deep-chest tone, and plays with drive and taste, serving the song rather than showing off. You want some good hard-core Chicago sound? This one is recommended.
--- by Tony Glover
|Blues & Company Magazine (France)|
from original text by Bindu)
This CD is a real “Babel Tower” of blues; yet different from the original tower that broke the ranks. The CD itself is perfectly on track; and it is necessary to say that before Bob was a quality harmonicist, he was an aficionado of the blues. Starting in Chicago at age 12, forging his education from club to club while learning from the “masters” such as Magic Slim or Honeyboy Edwards, he decided to promote this music; and founded his own label before migrating to Phoenix, Arizona, where he now continues his crusade by playing with local groups. Especially thanks to his radio broadcast on KJZZ-FM, he was able to cut across genres (with respect and discretion), with all the best of the blues-and to accumulate a mass of recordings (ones that you’ll find a party on this CD). Great blues moments, from Robert Lockwood to Lil' Ed Williams and from Kid Ramos to Jimmy Rogers, are all there; Pinetop Perkins, Rusty Zinn, Bo Diddley, etc. Corritore’s choice is perfect; a scholarly mixture allows this superstar to put together a piece for his audience that enables them to revisit all the styles of the blues. A beautiful album.
--- by Erik Tonton
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