Bob Corritore has made quite a name for himself over the past few decades. Starting with his own blues record label, at the ripe old age of 21 no less; he's gone on to amass a blues collection that is astounding, a muscular harp player as well, he's backed many of the finest blues performers around, and he also sports his own club, The Rhythm Room, in Phoenix. A major stomping ground for traveling blues artists, his nightclub has played host to countless shows, both big and small, and this new Hightone CD, "Rhythm Room Blues" collects a baker's dozen from some well-heeled masters of the idiom.
Kim Wilson appropriately leads the set off with "Eyesight To The Blind," a Sonny Boy Williamson chestnut, and he's also been chosen to close the set with Eddie Boyd's "Five Long Years." Backed by Rusty Zinn and Billy Flynn's tandem guitars, and a world class rhythm section of Larry Taylor and Richard Innes, Wilson works his magic as a vocalist hitting nerves left and right, and his incomparable harmonica playing is as tasteful as it is powerful on the pair. R.L. Burnside, an unlikely rising star, but a deserved one, contributes four lowdown solo tracks with only his droning guitar as accompaniment. His "Nightmare Blues" and "Goin' Down South," both originals, are solid and rooted in the Mississippi Hill country where he resides, and while he's just as potent on "Rollin' And Tumblin' " and "Long Haired Doney," he's miscredited as penning both. The first goes back to Hambone Willie Newbern, while the second is based on Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis' tune of the same name.
Bob Corritore spices up a number of cuts adding solid harp to Henry Gray's "Sinner's Prayer" and Sam Lay's two, "How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That?" and "I'm Gonna Shoot Her." Lay is a master of the blues shuffle, showing his unerring drum work that graces both, and as a singer, he's downright convincing. Sonny Rhodes adds a track with blazing guitar on "Livin' Too Close To The Edge," and sparks fly when he plays support to Nappy Brown's "Lemon Squeezin' Daddy." Mojo Buford is aboard with "In My Younger Days," and it seems as if the former Muddy Waters' sideman isn't aging at all. Henry Gray also puts down a romping instrumental, "Henry's Houserocker," backed by Chico Chism's drilling backbeats.
While a number of the artists heard here are getting up in years, they sound as young and vibrant as purveyors half their age. Solid support from Johnny Rapp, Bob Margolin, Tom Mahon, and a few others goes a long way in laying seamless grooves for the frontmen to work from, and this set of "live" blues is one of the most rewarding compilations in a while. Recording quality is superb, personnel is listed for all tracks, and Robert Baird's liner notes make for good reading as you begin to spin this hour-plus disc. For more info, check out www.hightone.com or www.bobcorritore.com - both good websites.
Simply click on the CD cover at left to order this CD NOW!
This review is copyright © 2002 by Craig Ruskey, and Blues On Stage at: www.mnblues.com, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission.
For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.