Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore – House Party At Big Jon’s

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WTHU New Blues And Soul (April 9, 2016)

The brand new Delta Groove Music release entitled, House Party at Big Jon’s, might appear to be the big coming out party for young Jon Atkinson. It is actually Atkinson’s third CD under his own name. This outstanding release comes on the heels of 2015’s Back Down South and 2014’s Boogie With You Baby, both on the Bluebeat Music label.

Now Delta Groove Music is releasing House Party at Big Jon’s in conjunction with the release of John Long’s Stand Your Ground. Both albums are being marketed under the banner, “Uncompromising Blues, No Apologies.” It seems like for the most part the other major blues labels are putting out material which often sounds like the music has been pre-fabricated in a sterile laboratory by a bunch of marketing strategists trying to impress a focus group of hearing impaired Neanderthals with Peter Pan Syndrome.

I applaud Jeff Fleenor of Delta Groove Music for following his heart and soul and going against the popular trend which seems afraid of presenting blues music to the public. Most in his position prefer to pander to the watered-down, blues-light, adult contemporary crowd.

House Party at Big Jon’s is a big portion of gut bucket, electric blues which will remind listeners why they fell in love with this music in the first place.

In 1988 Atkinson was born into a digital, cyber world which held no interest for a person who is a throwback to another age. His obsession with the blues took hold while still a youngster and led him on a quest to play with the modern masters. However, it was the old timers lining up to play with him.

Kim Wilson, who immediately took Jon under his wing and into his Blues All-Stars, put it this way, “Jon is one of the only guys doing it the right way. He knows the music. He knows the gist of it and understands the soul of the music.”

Soon Jon would join that elite fraternity known as Bob Corritore’s Rhythm Room All-Stars.

Thirty five years ago Corritore, a Chicago blues man, relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, and brought with him the blues from the windy city. He not only opened the Rhythm Room, an oasis of cool in the hot Sonoran desert, but a recording studio as well. It is where he has made a series of award winning albums which feature Bob’s muscular blues harp in support of this generation’s blues masters as well as the greats who are as old to him as as he is to Big Jon Atkinson.

Last year Corritore went to Jon’s studio in San Diego. Bob said of Big Jon, “Jon’s approach to the blues extends right into his recording studio. He records on vintage equipment just like it was recorded back in the old days. What you end up with is an honest performance with that natural saturation and warmth that makes for a beautiful sounding record.” He went on to say, “This is an example of the beauty and natural camaraderie that the blues inspires. I’ve been doing this a long time and here I am learning from a man who is half my age.”

As far as Bob’s harp playing is concerned, Jon said, “Bob’s playing on this record is the best of his career.”

Joining Jon and Bob is yet a third generation of musicians who make special guest appearances on House Party at Big Jon’s. They are vocalists Dave Riley, Alabama Mike, Willie Buck and Tomcat Courtney. They, along with Big Jon, put their own vocal spin and inject their unique personalities into a wonderful sixteen song mix of originals and some interesting covers. As Corritore points out, “There is, in some cases, a fifty to sixty year age differential between many of the musicians on this record. This speaks directly to the beautiful spirit of the blues that transcends the generations.”

Everywhere you go there are people who LOVE the blues and are quick to mention how passionate they are for this brand of music. It is generally understood that they just don’t make records like they used to and it is hard to find authentic sounding blues these days. Delta Groove Music has the answer. It is House Party at Big Jon’s.

It is what blues fans have been waiting for. It is an old school, modern masterpiece that will sit side by side with all of those “desert island discs” that are so universally cherished. House Party at Big Jon’s is an indispensible addition to any blues library.

This CD receives my highest recommendation and is an early contender for BLUES JUNCTION Productions’ Album of the Year.

House Party at Big Jon’s scheduled release date is May 20, 2016. It will be available at Charlie Lange’s Bluebeat Music booth at the Doheny Blues Festival in Dana Point, California, taking place on May 21st and 22nd. You can purchase a copy of House Party at Big Jon’s directly from Big Jon as he will be right there in the Bluebeat Music booth on both days of the festival. In the meantime you can pre-order this CD from Bluebeat Music by clicking here.

– David Mac

World Of Harmonica (UK) (April 29, 2016)

This peach of an album has not left the player since arrival. A truly stunning masterpiece and a real throwback to the old school roots of yester-year blues. Big Jon Atkinson is a young, extremely gifted blues star. Certainly a name to look out for in the future. No doubt his ability, passion, emotion, is a rarity especially for someone so young – often heard by Veteran’s tending to peak later in life. Big Jon Atkinson is joined by world renowned harmonica player Bob Corritore, a true master of The harmonica, diatonic and chromatic. Anything released with The Corritore name get’s an instant stamp of approval. So you can all be assured of a quality musical extravaganza. WOH thoroughly recommends any release featuring Bob Corritore. Those familiar with past reviews will know how highly regarded he is as one of the best harmonica bluesmen alive today. That being said please check out his album Taboo, especially the title track which scored as one of the best harmonica tracks ever to be heard here by WOH showing just how versatile a player he is – not strictly just a blues harmonica player but sounding very much like Lee Oskar on this song. Big Jon Atkinson is just 27 years of age. I am still wondering how a young man born in 1988 can sing and play the blues so damn good. One of a handful of artists who has a gift: the deep soul that is more accustomed to an artist in later years. This is no lame offering. It’s far from the average imitations often heard on modern day replications. A good quality blues album. Highly listenable ear candy. There are some proper blues artists featured here. Pure class! Not all vocal duties on the album are covered by Big Jon and that’s not negative in any way. Dave Riley, Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, and Tomcat Courtney all add to the dimension, variety, and overall impressive offering. But I also feel that the 8 tracks out of the 16 sung by Big Jon Atkinson put him in the league of great blues vocalist. He is the real deal! Thoroughly enjoyed this album from start to finish. Not one bad track, everyone a gem that will surely last the test of time. Go buy yourself a copy… If you appreciate the very finest blues music. In search of a real impressive masterpiece? Look no further! This is A1+ Thank’s so much to all thew artists involved and to Delta Groove Productions for this work of art, and for having us on your mailing list. A truly enjoyable experience. 10/10

-Shaun Luke

Midwest Record (April 29, 2016)

BIG JON ATKINSON & BOB CORRITORE/House Party at Big Jon’s: The youngster with a fixation on things before his time and the former Chicago harper that’s been adding heat to the Arizona desert for over 30 years pair up for a set that sounds like it was recorded in the Chess brothers back room at the Aristocrat lounge. Funky, gritty and raucous, this duo tears it up with all the rough edges in tact and the soul dripping off the sides like grease. Killer stuff from a young cat that’s a proverbial old soul, this is the new version of blues like they used to make ‘em. Well done.

Roll Call (France) (May 1, 2016)

L’association de Big Jon Atkinson et de Bob Corritore pour le disque “House Party” est pour les amateurs de Blues des années 60 que du bonheur. Seize morceaux magiques où les deux musiciens se complètent avec talent. Cela commence avec “Goin’ Back to Tennessee” morceau qui va donner le tempo et l’ambiance du disque. Comme à son habitude Big Jon nous balance son Blues un peu vieillot sorti tout droit d’une autre époque, celle où l’on s’extasiait sur Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Big Walter Horton et autres bluesmen qui jouaient avec simplicité sans aucunes fioritures et effets de facilité pour épater la clientèle. Chez Atkinson on retrouve toujours ce coté bien posé avec la guitare discrète presque dans le lointain alors que les baguettes frappent juste ce qu’il faut pour souligner le travail du leader. La présence de Bob Corritore tout en discrétion souligne le travail de Big Jon au chant et à la guitare. Même si Bob est familier des duos (Henry Gray, Dave Riley, John Primer, Kid Ramos, Tail Dragger, etc) celui avec Big Jon Atkinson est particulièrement réussi. Du travail de qualité pourrait-on dire et parmi ses quatorze morceaux tous bien homogènes on peut noter une version de “I’m a King Bee” bien dans le style de Slim Harpo ce qui en dit long sur l’esprit du disque.

– Pierre Poidevin

Reflections In Blue (May 2, 2016)

There is not a sound more beautiful than the pairing of guitar and harmonica, and Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore make use of that combination as well as anyone I have heard in recent years. While he might be young, at age 28. Jon Atkinson is as well versed in the blues as anyone I have encountered to date. His love for and knowledge of the blues in its many forms and its colorful history runs as deep as the mighty Mississippi. A formidable talent on guitar, harmonica and vocals, Jon has spent his time in the proverbial woodshed and studied, not only the recordings, but, at the feet of some incredible players, soaking up everything he could, like a sponge. As for Bob Corritore, he may well be the busiest harmonica player in the business, performing, not only on his own projects, but with anyone who might call, in need of a harp player. House Party At Big Jon’s is a delightful blend of traditional blues done by a group or performers who range in age from their late teens to mid-eighties, proof once more that the blues is timeless and the music of the people. Atkinson & Corritore are joined by Danny Michel, Dave Riley and Tomcat Courtney on guitars, Troy Sandow on bass, Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey and Marty Dodson on drums and Dave Riley, Willie Buck, Alabama Mike and Tomcat Courtney on vocals. It has all the makings of a true southern house party. Not only are the performances right on the money, the recording is warm and inviting, with all those fine attributes found in vintage recordings. This is great stuff.

– Bill Wilson

Southland Blues (May 5, 2016)

Twenty-something singer/guitarist Big Jon Atkinson and veteran blues harmonica player Bob Corritore got together recently to create this album of 16 pure blues interpretations. Atkinson’s brilliant tenor voice, his sizzling electric guitar, and Corritore’s muscular harp combine to do the blues right. Their combination of original songs and covers drives nice and slow with no doubt about who knows the blues.

Guest singers Tomcat Courtney, Dave Riley, Willie Buck and Alabama Mike lend their veteran posture to several selections, keeping the torch burning across generations with common-ground elements firmly in hand. Each of the seasoned veterans provide down-to-earth vocals that give the program meaning and fulfillment.

Corritore’s instrumental number “El Centro” does its share of pumping up the rhythm. Atkinson’s “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt (No More)” serves as a summary of his session and its position right in the middle of pure blues. His eight vocals come with driving rhythms on one hand and slowed-down blues passion on the other; he takes to the blues as a newborn duckling takes to water. In this scenario, “generation gap” has no meaning as Atkinson and his musical partners share the microphone with complete agreement.

– Jim Santella

WTHU New Blues And Soul (May 15, 2016)

Fans of the older style of electric blues, stop reading and go buy this disc! Big Jon Atkinson plays guitar and sings in the style most prevalent in the 1950’s – metallic, not too “fancy”, cut to the bone, totally captivating. When he’s not singing, he’s replaced by Dave Riley, Willie Buck, Alabama Mike or Tomcat Courtney (all veteran bluesmen). Then consider Bob Corritore, a blues harp master who studied and learned from greats like Big Walter Horton, Little Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Junior Wells, Big John Wrencher, and Carey Bell. Supporting musicians include Danny Michel (guitar), Troy Sandow (bass), and drummers Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey, and Marty Dodson sharing the drum kit from song to song. This performance is straight blues at the heart of the original electric sound and it will shake you to the core

– Dave Rogers

Paper Moon Beilla (Italy) (May 17, 2016)

Anche se e’ nato nel 1988, in piena epoca digitale, Big Jon Atkinson sembra un bluesman dei vecchi tempi: ‘House Party At Big Jon’ e’ il suo terzo album e nasce sotto i migliori auspici grazie al contributo fondamentale di Bob Corritore, chicagoano trasferitosi a Phoenix che del blues americano e’ una colonna da decenni nonche’ uno dei migliori armonicisti in circolazione. Nello studio di Jon i due hanno registrato il materiale con apparecchiature vintage che restituiscono il calore delle performance dal vivo, avvalendosi dell’aiuto di navigati strumentisti e di giovani e validi cantanti che rispondono ai nomi di Dave Riley, Alabama Mike, Willie Buck e Tomcat Courtney. Un vero incontro intergenerazionale, dal momento che tra alcuni dei musicisti coinvolti nelle session intercorrono differenze di eta’ di cinquanta e anche sessant’anni. Ulteriore dimostrazione che il blues e’ una musica senza tempo, cosi’ come questo disco che mischia senza soluzione di continuita’ pezzi nuovi e cover di classici.

Historia Del Blues (Columbia) (May 18, 2016)

“House Party At Big Jon’s”, como su nombre lo dice, es realmente una fiesta concebida por el joven guitarrista Big Jon Atkinson en compañía del intérprete de armónica Bob Corritore, con un sonido de blues tradicional como poco se puede escuchar en la actualidad. La obsesión de Atkinson con el blues le llegó a temprana edad y lo llevó a buscar a los maestros modernos para tocar con ellos, sin embargo fueron artistas de la vieja guardia, como Kim Wilson, quienes le abrieron las puertas y le otorgaron un espacio. Bob Corritore, por su parte, se ha dedicado a documentar a las viejas leyendas del género gracias a su club The Rhythm Room en Phoenix, Arizona, en donde ha compartido escenario con ellas y además, ha grabado varios discos. El año pasado Corritore llegó a los estudios Big Tone, propiedad de Big Jon Atkinson, y apreció el equipamento clásico que tiene el guitarrista para grabar más la aproximación que ha hecho del blues, por lo que fue fácil la empatía para producir un sonido antiguo, una interpretación bastante honesta con toda la saturación y calidez que tenían los discos de blues de los cuarenta y cincuenta. Al lado de Atkinson y Corritore encontramos a gran generación de músicos como Willie Buxk, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley y Tomcat Courtney, quienes con sus voces le dan mucha personalidad a las 16 canciones que integran esta producción. “House Party At Big Jon’s”, un disco moderno a la vieja usanza que se incorpora a esos álbumes que son como un oasis en medio del desierto del blues contemporáneo.

– Diego Luis

Making A Scene (May 20, 2016)

Bob Corritore was born in Chicago in 1956. He relocated to the Phoenix area and began working with Louisiana Red. Corritore also played in a band with Janiva Magness. He started a weekly radio program “Those Lowdown Blues” on WJZZ and it still airs today. In the early 1990’s Corritore opened his own blues club called “The Rhythm Room” and began playing in the house band “The Rhythm Room All-Stars”. Therefore he backed musicians when they came to town including Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, and Eddy Clearwater. In 1995 Corritore produced Louisiana Red’s “Sittin Here Wonderin” on the Earwig imprint. He recorded his own debut album 1999’s “All-Star Blues Sessions” on High Tone Records. In 2011 Corritore won a Blues Music Award for the collaborative “Bob Corritore and Friends: Harmonica Blues” on the Delta Groove label. He also has four other BMA nominations and ten albums overall. He has been partnered with Dave Riley, Kid Ramos, Tail Dragger, John Primer and Henry Gray. Corritore has also produced twenty albums and guested on 63 others.

Only 28 years old Big Jon Atkinson is regarded as one of the youngest and brightest guitarists and singers in the old school tradition. In 2014 Atkinson released his debut album “Boogie With You Baby” on Bluebeat Music and it received rave reviews.

The band consists of Corritore, harmonica, Atkinson, guitar and vocals; Danny Michel, guitar; Troy Sandow, bass; and Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey or Marty Dodson, drums.

Atkinson has written “Goin Back to Tennessee”, “It Wasn’t Easy” and “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt”. On these he sings. He also sings on “Empty Bedroom” from Sonny Boy Williamson II; on “She’s My Crazy Little Baby” written by Jerry West a.k.a. J.D. Miller, a record producer, who worked with Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester; and on Harpo’s “I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil”. Atkinson’s voice is reminiscent of James Harman. Atkinson plays guitar on all tracks but two.
Corritore has also written three songs. ”Here Comes My Baby”, and “Mad About It” are both sung by Atkinson. “El Centro” is an instrumental. Corritore plays harp throughout the album.

Additional vocalists include Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, Willie Buck and Alabama Mike. The additional vocalists sing on their own songs except for Willie Buck who sings on Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee”; and Alabama Mike who sings on both Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand”, and on “Somebody Done Changed The Lock on My Door” written by Casey Bill Weldon and recorded by B.B. King in 1960.

All of Corritore’s recordings are exceptional and this is no exception. Better pick up your invitation to the house party at Big John’s.

– Richard Ludmerer

Keys And Chords (Netherlands) (May 19, 2016)

De 28-jarige Big Jon Atkinson werd al vrij snel overdonderd door de bluesmuziek. Hij werd verliefd op de muziek omwille van de emotie en de onmiskenbare passie. Jon werd geïnspireerd door de grote meesters en concerteerde in maart 2013 met Nathan James en James Harman in Long Beach, Californië. Zijn kennis van de traditionele blues is ongezien en in 2014 debuteerde hij met het album ‘Boogie With You Baby’ op het label Bluebeat Music en de vorig jaar verschenen opvolger ‘Back Down South’. Bob Corritore werd geboren in Chicago op 27 september 1956 en schuimde er als tiener de bluesclubs af. Bob verhuisde naar Phoenix, Arizona waar hij al geruime tijd de befaamde club The Rhythm Room uitbaat. Hij is er radiopresentator, record producer en talentschout. Ik ken Bob nu al enkele jaren persoonlijk en ik heb in al die jaren dat ik in dat kleine blues wereldje meedraai, nooit zo iemand overtuigender zien performen als Bob. Als hij ook maar vijf minuten tijd heeft, speelt hij op zijn harp. Wachtend op de tourbus, voor het hotel, bij een pitstop in een tankstation… iedere gelegenheid neemt Bob ter harte om een mondharmonica uit zijn zak te toveren en te wat te spelen. Nu heeft het duo Atkinson / Corritore een gloednieuwe cd op het label Delta Groove Music. En er was blijkbaar heel wat mooi volk in de studio met Danny Mitchel (gitaar), Troy Sandow (bas), Malachi Johnson, Marty Dodson en Brian Fahey (drums) en uiteraard enkele gast vocalisten. Big Jon neemt acht songs vocaal voor zijn rekening en heeft een uitgelezen stem voor de beoogde old-school Chicago blues. Dave Riley mag vocaal ‘At The Meeting’ en ‘Mississippi Plow’ voor zijn rekening nemen. Good old Willie Buck mag hetzelfde doen op de tracks ‘You Want Me To Trust You’ en ‘I’m A King Bee’. Alabama Mike komt het gezelschap verheugen met zijn ruwe stem op ‘Mojo Hand’ en ‘Somebody Done Changed The Clock On My Door’ en de legendarische Tomcat Courtney verheerlijkt het nummer ‘Mojo In My Bread’. Er is geen mooiere sound dan de blues harp te liëren met gitaarriffs. Big Jon Atkinson en Bob Corritore creëren met deze vintage opnamen een heerlijke mix van traditionele blues en Chicago geïnfluenceerde tunes. Met dit project bewijst het duo dat blues een tijdloos muziekgenre is. Als deze release geen house party met zich meebrengt in je huiskamer moet je dringend op zoek gaan naar hulp…

– Philip Verhaege (5 of 5 rating)

Elmore Magazine (May 20, 2016)

One of the purest, most traditional blues albums of 2016 comes courtesy of 26 year-old guitarist and vocalist Big Jon Atkinson, in collaboration with Chicago-steeped harmonica veteran Bob Corritore. They set up in Big Jon’s home studio in San Diego, used vintage equipment, invited a bunch of like-minded guests to play, and took an old school approach to both originals and covers. Given the generational span of players ranging from late teens (Malachi Johnson) to mid-eighties (Tomcat Courtney), and virtually all decades in between, it’s quite remarkable how they all tapped into the same groove. Corritore points out: “There is in some cases a 50 to 60 year age differential between many of the musicians on this record. This speaks directly to the beautiful spirit of the blues that transcends generations.”

You’d never guess Atkinson is only 26 as his vocals and guitar playing exude the authority of a veteran. It was Kim Wilson who gave Big Jon his first break, including him in his Blues All-Stars. Wilson says, “Jon is one of the only guys doing it the right way. He knows the music. He knows the gist of it and understands the soul of the music.” Corritore, a stellar harmonica player as well, echoed, “Jon’s approach to the blues extends right into his recording studio. He records on vintage equipment just like it was recorded back in the old days. What you end up with is an honest performance with that natural saturation and warmth that makes for a beautiful sounding record.”

Atkinson only sings of half of these generous 16 tracks though, letting Dave Riley, Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, and Tomcat Courtney each have turns, the first four of them two each. Regardless of who is singing the entire album has that pure blues feeling that we don’t hear often enough these days. You get a sense of Big Jon’s vocals especially on the first four tracks but if you insist on sampling first, be sure to check Tomcat Courtney on “Mojo In My Bread”, Dave Riley on “Mississippi Plow”, Willie Buck on “King Bee” and Alabama Mike on “Somebody Done Changed The Lock On my Door”. Settle in, purists and casual blues fans alike. This is how it should be done. (Rated 85 out of 100)

– Jim Hynes

Sound Garden (Croatia) (May 20, 2016)

Danas, 20. svibnja, Delta Groove Music službeno pušta u opticaj i slobodnu prodaju album “House Party at Big Jon’s”, na kojem su se udružili sada već ‘stari mačak’ Bob Corritore i rastuća, nadolazeća blues zvijezda, mladi Big Jon Atkinson. Ovu ekskluzivnu promociju i prezentaciju omogućio nam je radijski promotor Steve Dixon.
Kako ide ona reklama, ali to nije sve, jer još kada napišem da su im u goste stigli Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley i Tomcat Courtney, istinskim blues znalcima to je i više nego dovoljno. Kao što je to i uobičajeno u bluesu oprema nije neka ogromna i raskošna, dapače, teži se onoj što starijeg datuma proizvodnje, ide se na onaj poznati ‘old school sound’ kako bi iz malo doblii puno i naravno, sve to ne bez čarolije. A ta čarolija u njihovim je rukama, u njihovim instrumentima, ona je tu i zapravo se samo lijepo slaže i nadopunjuje i raste kao jam-session, nastup, gig… ma nazovite to kako god želite, ali to je to!

“House Party at Big Jon’s” strašan je primjer kako to treba zvučati kada se radi o onom ‘starom bluesu’. Ovakvi albumi prodaju se pod sloganom beskompromisni blues bez isprike. Već to nam govori samo po sebi apsolutno sve. Naime, nema tu nekog posebnog ‘peglanja’ i ‘poliranja’, pred nama su opasni trenuci, kada će se istinski blues znalci pitati gdje se nalaze. Gdje su dospjeli? Ma, da doista je lijepo čuti kako to dojmljivo zvuči. Ponajprije skidam kapu obojici glazbenika, koji su ujedno i producenti albuma, što samo govori da ništa nisu htjeli prepustiti slučaju ili slučajnosti.

Na “House Party at Big Jon’s” Big Jon Atkinson blista bez obzira što je rođen 1998. i što sigurno spada u onu cyber-digitalnu generaciju. A kako je još više njegov interes za blues nevjerojatno izražen, prava je sreća što je došao pod mentorstvo velikoga Kima Wilsona, koji je sve to uspio kod Big Jona povezati i svemu dati ispravno usmjerenje i smisao.

Što se tiče Boba Corritore, o njemu doista sve znamo i njega već doista dobro poznamo, jer je više puta predstavljan na ovom portalu. Ovih 16 skaldbi u više od sat vremena, bez ikakve zadrške, pružaju nam potpunu blues furku. Nema nikakve sumnje, ovaj album nije za one koji tek kreću u blues. “House Party at Big Jon’s” podsjeća na vrijeme kada su glazbenici pjevali u kantu. Dok će električni blues ove priče podsjetiti slušateljstvo zašto su se na prvu zaljubili baš u tu vrstu glazbe.

Što se tiče suradnje ove dvojice glazbenika, Bobu svakako odgovara Big Jon bez obzira na njegovu mladost, jer njegova predanost bluesu je toiliko iskrena i neposredna da to jednostavno imponira Bobu koji je stariji, zreliji i iskusniji. Njihov spoj dao je album s kojeg odzvanja i ječi blues u svoj svojoj raskoši i ljepoti i neposrednoj jednostavnosti prezentacijske forme. Taj obostrani spontani prijelaz i stapanje svih emocija, iskustva, znanja i sposobnosti nevjerojatno je puno doprinio da album zvuči tako dobro i jedinstveno. Još kada su im se priključili zaista izvrsni pjevači Dave Riley, Alabama Mike, Willie Buck i Tomcat Courtney, sve je otišlo na visoke razine. A onda, tu je i Jonov vokal i bravurozna svirka gitare uz opojni i opori i senzualni i dinamični usnjak Boba Corritore dobivamo album sa 16 izuzetnih glazbenih brojeva. Moram priznati da me jednako oduševljavaju originalne autorske pjesme, kao i obrade. A to jednostavno govori i ide u prilog tom nadahnutom, prekrasnom duhu bluesa koji nadilazi generacije, što je i najveća vrijednost ovog projekta.

Tražite neko remek-djelo? Ne tražite dalje! Na pravom ste mjestu! “House Party at Big Jon’s” Big Jona Atkinsona & Boba Corritore je to što tražite. Niti jedna loša pjesma, sami biseri i dragulji, i vjerujte mi vrijeme će pokazati da sam bio u pravu. Jer to je to, ovaj album je istinsko remek-djelo! Ne vjerujete mi? OK, molim lijepo, poslušajte album i sami ocijenite o čemu se ovdje radi. Vjerujem da ćete se na kraju složiti sa mnom.

– Mladen Loncar

Ilpopolodel Blues Online Blues (Italy) (May 21, 2016)

“House Party At Big Jon’s” segna per Bob Corritore (talentuoso armonicista di Chicago) una sorta di ritorno alle origini. E’ infatti il sound della Windy City a cavallo tra anni ’40 e ’50 il filo conduttore delle 16 tracce (in parte cover, in parte originali) che costituiscono il repertorio del disco. Per l’occasione Corritore si avvale della collaborazione di Big Jon Atkinson, giovane ma dotato polistrumentista californiano (qui alle prese prevalentemente con microfono e chitarra) con una serie abbastanza impressionante di collaborazioni all’attivo (tra gli altri: Kim Wilson, James Harman, Kedar Roy, ecc.). Elemento cruciale per inquadrare “House Party At Big Jon’s” è la passione di Atkinson per il restauro ed il commercio di strumenti ed amplificatori d’epoca (sul suo profilo facebook spuntano quasi quotidianamente rarità di ogni tipo). E’ proprio grazie a questa sapienza che House Party At Big Jon’s trova la sua cifra stilistica: raramente è capitato di ascoltare una riproduzione così profonda e fedele di quel suono unico che rese celebri personaggi come Little Walter, Junior Wells e sidemen vari. Alla festa partecipano una serie di ospiti d’eccezione come Alabama Mike, Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, Danny Michel (con una menzione speciale per l’essenziale ma squisito drumming di Malachi Johnson e Marty Dodson). Tutto il disco scorre ottimamente, con delle punte di diamante quali l’iniziale “Goin’ Back To Tennessee”, lo strascicato slow “At The Meeting” e lo strumentale “El Centro” con i suoi sapori latini. Insomma, se non considerate un peccato mortale il fatto di ripercorrere sentieri già battuti e cercate semplicemente un disco di blues elettrico pieno di passione ed ottimamente suonato, autoinvitatevi senza esitare al party di Big Jon Atkinson e Bob Corritore.

– Pietro Rubino

Blues X Blues (Spain) (May 22, 2016)

A lo largo de la semana suelo escuchar entre 5 y 10 discos de blues que salen como novedad, siendo el americano y el inglés los principales mercados de producción. Aunque no hay que desestimar otras obras que aparecen en países que lo cultivan a un nivel más que considerable. Pero pocos pasan la criba, o sea, mi criterio personal, del que te conviene dudar si tienes dos dedos de frente. De ahí que las novedades en este blog, que pretenden ser semanales, se conviertan casi en mensuales, muy a mi pesar. No es un problema de músicos talentosos, que los hay; no es un problema de medios en la producción, las nuevas tecnologías permiten hacer grabaciones la mar de convincentes hasta con un móvil. El problema es otro, está relacionado con el signo de los tiempos. Esto de abrazar ciegamente las modas y entronizar el capital no va con el discurso más emocional y profundo que defiende el estilo. Las producciones contemporáneas reúnen cientos de ejemplos en los que se practica un estilo pastoso e infumable donde se mezcla de manera forzada ese blues-soul que pretende meter la cabeza en listas o engancharse a los sustanciosos turifestivales que hay a lo largo y ancho del planeta. Otra tipología es el guitar hero de turno con esa etiqueta de blues-rock que tanto me asusta: sin alma, sin vida. El disco en cuestión, este House Party At Big Jon’s, no tiene nada que ver con esto; esto es otra cosa, blues hecho con tripas y corazón, con la comodidad que puede dar el hecho de que estos tipos están consagrados por méritos propios, por dedicación y coherencia. No te digo mucho del armonicista Bob Corritore, sus nominaciones a premios y su prolífica participación en los mejores discos de blues de los diez últimos años avalan su clase. Big Jon Atkinson es un jovencísimo guitarrista, cantante y armonicista que parece parido en un garito del South Side de Chicago. Estos tipos se unen para grabar un disco con métodos analógicos, que suena a Chess, Okeh y Delmark reocords juntos. Además, rescatan a viejos bluesmen que participan y convierten al disco en un justo all-stars (Dave Riley, Alabama Mike, Willie Buck…). El repertorio es excelente, suena clásico, a humo y madera húmeda; no hay tema que sobre, desde ese inicio donde petan válvulas con “Going Back to Tennessee”, “Here Comes Baby”, “It Wasn`t Baby” que resucitan ecos de Muddy Waters, esa manera de mantener la tensión con uno o dos acordes en un tema. “At The Meeting” es un blues alcohólico al estilo Jimmy Reed donde la voz arrastrada de Dave Riley alcanza aires místicos, cercanas a Howlin’ Wolf. “Mojo Hand” y “Mojo in my Bread” son dos temas de ritmo hipnótico, oscuros y estremecedores, con mínima instrumentación y sin un solo que dure más de 20 segundos. “Mad About It” y “She’s my crazy little baby” es rythm & blues, electroc-shock para el esqueleto, con protagonismo de una armónica precisa y sin artificios de Corritore que encumbra en dos temas esenciales del disco “You Want Me To Trust You” y el instrumental “El Centro”. Cae la versión de “King Bee” de un bluesman tan grande como la misma historia del blues, Slim Harpo; la línea del disco se mantiene hasta ese tema final “My Feeling Won’t Be Hurt”, colosal, sucio y saturado, con ese ambiente propio de Howlin Wolf y Hubert Sumlin, quizás los dos bluesman de mayor presencia en esta obra maestra del blues contemporáneo que es “House Party At Big Jon’s”.

Donandsherylsbluesblog (May 22, 2016)

Big Jon Atkinson is another of those young powerhouse West Coast blues guitarists who know what this music is all about, as he spent some time mentoring with Kim Wilson. It’s no surprise that the name of Jon’s home-based studio in San Diego is Big Tone, because he sho’ nuff coaxes a huge tone outta that guitar. His latest set for Delta Groove teams him with harp icon Bob Corritore as well as several of the best blues singers from Chicago to Cali, making “House Party At Big Jon’s” play out like one of those old-school Blues Caravans where everybody adds to the fun. To add to the vibe of this cool mix of covers and originals, Jon laid down all the tracks on vintage equipment. Also, we have Danny Michel on second guitar, Troy Sandow on bass, and a trio of drummers–Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey, and Marty Dodson.

The set kicks off with Jon telling a lover “we didn’t do the things we should, and I’m Goin’ Back To Tennessee.” Bob blows the reeds outta his big ol’ chromatic on his original, “Here Comes My Baby, with the butterscotch skin!” Alabama Mike rocks the house lookin’ for that “Mojo Hand,” and comes back a bit later for a scorchin’ slow-blueser, “Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door.” Big Jon and Willie Buck rock out on a couple of Slim Harpo’s Excello hits—Big Jon on lead vocal on the “sorry that you’re gone” song, “I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil,” while Willie Buck busts out that stinger on “I’m A King Bee, I can buzz all night long!” Tomcat Courtney’s original is the story of a woman so mean, :she put Mojo In My Cornbread and turnip greens!” Jon’s sparse guitar leads put a decidedly-Delta stamp on this one.

We had two favorites, too. We’ve always liked Lightnin’ Slim’s “She’s My Crazy Little Baby,” and Big Jon and Bob let everybody know “the whole state knows she’s fine!” And, Dave Riley absolutely takes us all to Blues Church with a powerful, heartfelt read of “seeing my momma in Heaven one day,” “At The Meeting.”

Ever lay in bed at night as a youngster with your transistor radio tuned in to WLAC? As you listen to “House Party At Big Jon’s,” you’ll swear the Hossman is about to tell you what a huge talent Big Jon Atkinson really is, and, without saying a word, Bob Corritore’s harp is his perfect foil!! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

Musikansich (Germany) (May 27, 2016)

Big Jon Atkinson ist ein junger aufstrebender Bluesmusiker, geboren 1988. Dieses ist seine dritte Platte unter eigenem Namen.

Für diese Aufnahmen aus seinem Studio, dem Big Tone Studio in San Diego, hat er altes Equipment verwendet, und das spiegelt sich dann auch im Sound dieser Einspielungen angenehm wider.

Zusammen mit dem hervorragenden Blues-Harper Bob Corritore hat er eine Platte vorgelegt, die Musik bietet, wie man sie heute nur noch selten hört, wenn es um modernen „bleichgesichtigen“ Blues geht. Es ist nicht der Mainstream-Blues-Rock, sondern als Basis die Tradition, die uns diese kleine Zeitreise spendiert. Dennoch klingt hier nichts antiquiert, sondern frisch, die Verknüpfung von Einst und Heute ist trefflich gelungen. Dazu beigetragen haben auch einige farbige ältere Musiker, zum Beispiel der 1937 geborene Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, mit 52 Jahren auch nicht mehr der Jüngste, Dave Riley, Jahrgang 1949, und letztlich der Senior, im Jahre 1929 geboren – Tomcat Courtney. Dieses mag einer der Gründe sein, warum diese Musik so unglaublich authentisch klingt.

Alle Beteiligten nehmen die gegenseitige Spielfreude auf und somit ist ein Sound entstanden, der die Talente jedes Einzelnen herauskehrt und zu einem Hörvergnügen führt, das Frohlocken lässt!

Wir hören also zeitlosen Blues, der sich verschiedener Stilarten bedient, meistens gibt es Chicago Blues, aber auch Richtung Louisiana geht es lasziv und schleppend mit “It Wasn’t Easy“, “At the Meeting“, “ I’m Gonna Miss You Like the Devil“ und “I’m A King Bee“, und hin und wieder ist ein kleiner Schuss aus Texas dabei. Emotional sehr ausdruckstark zieht die Musik ihre Runden. Hier wird gezeigt, wie man auf moderne Art und Weise Tradition mit dem Heute verbinden kann und Freunde traditioneller Bluesformen als auch solche, die mehr auf Blues Rock stehen, zufrieden stellen kann. Allerdings ist diese Musik doch ein wenig mehr puristisch, als es Liebhaber der Musik von Joe Bonamassa & Co. Möglicherweise verkraften könnten. Denn diese Musik schwimmt gegen den Strom, gegen den Trend. Und diese Platte ist eine wichtige Ergänzung für jede Blues-Sammlung.

Schon jetzt bin ich mir sicher, dass diese einer meiner persönlichen Blues-Platten des Jahres ist!
(Rated 19 out of 20 points!)

– Wolfgang Giese

Rootsville (Belgium) (May 2016)

Bij Delta Groove Music is het deze maand 2 maal feest met de dubbele uitgave van 2 nieuwe CD’s. Eerst is er de nieuwe van Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore en dan is er nog de nieuwe van John Long.

Bob Corritore moet wel de meest bedrijvige bluesman zijn ten huize van Delta Groove Music mede doordat deze harper heel wat albums weet uit te brengen is samenwerking met een andere bluesman. Die andere is ditmaal Big Jon Atkinson en voor hem is het zowat een bevestiging van zijn kunnen met dit derde album op rij voor hem onder eigen naam. Het is trouwens Kim Wilson die deze Big Jon voorstelt als de toekomst van de blues.

Big Jon Atkinson is geboren werd 1988 en is dus volledig vertrouwd met het digitale tijdperk. Hij werd al vroeg gepassioneerd door de blues en schreef daardoor heel wat gastoptredens op zijn naam. Deze ‘House Party At Big Jon’s’ lijkt door de reverb wel opgenomen in de huiskamer van Big Jon.

Toen in 1981 Bob Corritore verkastte van Chicago naar Phoenix nam hij ook zijn blues mee naar Arizona waar hij de legendarische ‘Rhythm Room’ wist te opnenen. Deze oasis in de woestijn van Arizona is sindsdien de thuisbasis waar vele collega bluesmuzikanten een concert ten beste wisten te geven. Bij ons gaan we op bedevaart naar Scherpenheuvel maar Bob Corritore begon de zijne richting San Diego naar Jon zijn Big Tone Studio. Naast Jon en Bob komt er nog een andere generatie in beeld op dit album onder de personen van Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley en Tomcat Courtney, en dat zijn dan al special guests die kunnen tellen.

Old School blues in een modern jasje en met dit statement slagen ze natuurlijk nagels met koppen bij het beluisteren van deze ‘House Party at Big Jon’s’. Een verzameling die de nieuwe en oude generatie best wel zal gaan koesteren. Met werk van beide artiesten zoals ‘Goin’ Back To Tennesse’ van Big Jon en ‘Here Comes My Baby’ van Bob Corritore weten ze de perfecte balans te vinden tussen beiden.

James Moore aka Slim Harpo is en blijft een gewaardeerd bluesmuzikant en daardoor wil dit duo dit icoon gepast in de smotlights zetten met nummers als ‘I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil’ en de klassieker ‘I’m a King Bee’. ook zijn er enkele nummers te horen van de speciale gasten Tom Courtney en Willie Buck met respectievelijk ‘MojoIn My Bread’ en ‘You Want Me To Trust Me’.

Een meer dan geslaagde samenwerking van Big Jon Atkinson en Bob Corritore en dus tijd om ze als duo naar Europa te halen…

– met dank aan Steve Dixon

ABS (France) (May 2016)

Deux générations de musiciens, mais une passion commune : le blues. Le guitariste et chanteur Big Jon Atkinson est né en 1988 et a rapidement été intégré par Kim Wilson dans son Blues All-Stars, alors qu’en 1981, l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore, venant de Chicago avec une culture blues déjà bien affûtée, s’installait à Phoenix, Arizona, pour devenir le musicien, producteur et homme de radio que l’on connaît. Alors forcément leurs chemins se sont coisés, sur diverses scènes mais aussi dans le club de blues dont Bob est le patron à Phoenix, et le courant est vite passé. Ce n’est néanmoins qu’en 2015 que Bob entre en séance dans le studio privé de Big Jon, à San Diego, en Californie, pour enregistrer des faces dont 16 sont publiées ici, avec des invités de choix comme Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, l’ami Dave Riley qui joue régulièrement en duo avec Bob Corritore, et Tomcat Courtney. La famille, en quelque sorte. Le reste du groupe est composé de Danny Michel à la guitare, Troy Sandow à la basse, Malachi Johnson et Brian Fahey aux drums. Tout ceci donne un discque de blues pur jus, joué <> (le Big Jon’s studio, c’est chez lui), avec use impression de plaisir communicatif et une qualité musicale au rendez-vous.

– Marcel Bénédit

Bear Family (Germany) (May 2016)

Big Jon Atkinsons erste CD auf Delta Grovve. Mit illustren Gästen: Bob Corritore, Willie Buck Dave Riley, u.a. House Party At Big Jon‘s ist in der Tat eine große Party für den aufstrebenden jungen Blues Musiker Big Jon Atkinson.
Was für eine Party!

Canu (Italy) (May 2016)

Blues session, tutta ritmo e sudore, da Big Jon Atkinson. Oltre a Bob Corritore, sono coinvolti Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney. Corritore è il sideman più richiesto, in questo momento, in ambito blues, ma lo stesso Atkinson non è certo da meno. Blues classico, registrato nello studio di Big Jon (un neofita, ha solo 26 anni), usando una strumentazione vintage.

Chicago Blues Guide (June 7, 2016)

I have been crushed by the Blues.

Blues veteran Bob Corritorre is always – as we say in Chicago – “autennic.”
But the unfathomable depth of House Party at Big Jon’s threatens to reduce mere authenticity to something akin to the film Cadillac Records. It’s like there’s blood in the vinyl.

From the first drum hit of “Goin’ Back to Tennessee,” the weight came down, pushing me deeper and deeper, note by note, into a molasses-thick ocean of mystery and history, all the way down to an
enter-through-the-alley joint in the East St. Louis of the Mariana Trench of the Blues.

How Big Jon Atkinson, whose guitar swings, swaggers and sweats with Corritorre’s harp harem for 14 of 16 unrelenting tracks, could have recorded all this – in his house, by the way – at the ripe old age of 26 is staggering. Has there ever been another Blues guy who could play with that feeling, that understanding, that sense of this music? At that age?

But never one baptized in the nectar of the Bob Corritorre bluesberry.
And that voice!

I heard Otis Spann; I heard Jack Dupree; I swear I even heard the last-call rasp of Wynonie Harris, along with the distant echoes of a dozen other dead guys only dead guys have heard, all sharing the bill in Big Jon’s “How the Hell Does He Sing Like That?” Revue.

Raw spirits. Rare spirits. All well done, served dredged from the roots, dragged through his soul and shake-shake-shakin’ in a flickering streetlight filtered through the dark prism of the Blues.
I never knew my soul had a mouth until Big Jon made it water with lines like “She’s my creole baby with the butterscotch skin.”

And then I read the liner notes and it all made sense.
To sing like this, Big Jon Atkinson traded the souls of everyone who worked on this record to the Devil. Except for Bob Corritorre, whose soul was already prominently displayed on Satan’s mantle from an earlier deal involving Bob’s hair.

But wait, there’s….Moore, thanks to a little Slim Harpo (a.k.a. James Isaac Moore) from Chicago’s own Willie Buck (“I’m A King Bee”). We even get an exorcism, as Bob and Big Jon rassle down another Chicago ringer, Dave Riley, and pull out a sharecropper’s ghost (“Mississippi Plow”).

Tomcat Courtney (“Mojo in My Bread”) and Alabama Mike (“Mojo Hand”) also shine with a double dose of mojo. All the playing is right on to deliver Bob and Big Jon’s “these is all the instruments we could afford” sound.

Bob Corritorre is always a treat, always a luminous journey. From the gritty blues clubs of Chicago where he learned to blow blues harp, to his own club — The Rhythm Room in Phoenix — to the radio airwaves and recording studio where he documents historical blues players, Corritore is a blues man to the bone. Autennic.

I’ve loved a lot of his stuff.
But this record loved me!
It held me, and breathed heavy into my neck, and danced me to the dark end of every street from Chicago to Mississippi and back.

And, like love, it crushed me.

– Terry Abrahamson

Bman’s Blues Report (June 8, 2016)

I just received the newest release, House Party at Big Jon’s, from Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore and it’s a huge side of Chicago blues. Opening with Goin’ Back To Tennessee, Big Jon Atkinson is on lead vocal and guitar with Bob Corritore accenting his vocal. Nicely stylized, almost John Mayall/British Blues feel, these guys have a great opener joined by Danny Michael on guitar, Troy Sandow on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. On shuffle track, Here Comes My Baby, Big Jon and Corritore step up the instrumental a bit with a real nice line of instrumental soloing and Malachi Johnson on drums adds a fine snap to the track. Taking the tempo down a bit, It Wasn’t Easy, gives Corritore a bit more breathing space and his warm chops fill nicely. Jon has a great singing style which resonates “old style blues” throughout the release and his guitar work on this track is understated but effective. Stepping up with She’s My Crazy Little Baby, Jon really delivers on vocal. This is a real cool track and Corritore takes a real nice harp solo working nicely with Jon’s lead. On At The Meeting, long time friend of Corritore, Dave Riley, takes the lead on vocal and guitar. With it’s laid back feel and cradled by Corritore’s harp work, this track has a bluesy, spiritual feel. Mojo Hand is a nicely paced shuffle with cool rim shot drive by Johnson. I really like Alabama Mike’s vocal lead on this track and Big Jon’s vocals paired with Corritore’s harp work on this track make it one of my favorites on the release. Tomcat Courtney has lead vocal and guitar on Mojo In My Bread, and his vocals are rich and refreshing. With it’s easy pace and Corritore harp interplay with Courtney, this track is really nice. Mad About It springs to life with a blast and Big Jon is back on lead vocal. The quality of these recordings is really cool with a minimum of processing giving them a real authentic feel. Slide work by Jon and bass work by Sandow really gives the track an edge. Empty Bedroom has a bit of a R&B feel and with Elmore James like swing, this track is another of my favorites. I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil has a real super feel with Corritore taking a straightforward harp lead and tight rhythm by Brian Fahey. Willie Buck takes the lead on You Want Me To Trust You, and I love his phrasing. Jon takes a real nice walk on the fretboard on this track and Corritore’s harp work adds great punctuation. Riley is back on lead vocal on Mississippi Plow, a track with a healthy Muddy Waters feel. Corritore steps up with a harp solo followed by on by Jon. Very nice. Latin influence on El Centro sets it apart from the rest of the release with it being a clean instrumental. Jon guitar work is cool and Fahey’s drums have a 60’s beach party feel. Very nice. On shuffle track, I’m A King Bee, Willie Buck is back on lead vocal and he’s perfect for the job. With just the right amount of swing, this is another of my favorites on the release. A tight bottom and Corritore’s harp work compliment Jon’s guitar lead perfectly. Alabama Mike is back on lead vocal for and emotional, Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door. His vocals are exceptional and paired with Jon’s guitar work, make this another of my favorites on the release. Wrapping the release is My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt with a stiff swat from Johnson and some of Jon’s best vocals on the release. Corritore takes a real nice solo on this track and Jon’s guitar work is tight and cool. This release isn’t flashy but it is cool and real blues. Enjoy!

Friday Blues Fix Blog (June 10, 2016)

Even though he’s not yet thirty years old, Big Jon Atkinson truly has an old soul. The San Diego resident has worked with Nathan James and Kim Wilson and fronts his own band, the Nationals. He fell under the spell of the blues as a youngster and has developed into a versatile guitarist and a vocalist of the highest quality. Last year, Atkinson teamed with harp master Bob Corritore for a thrilling set of vintage blues at Big Tone Studio in San Diego, House Party at Big Jon’s (Delta Groove Music).

It wouldn’t be a true house party without a few guest, so Atkinson and Corritore are joined by Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, Alabama Mike and Willie Buck, plus guitarist Danny Michel, bassist Troy Sandow, and drummers Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey, and Marty Dodson. Loaded with sixteen tracks, about half the disc consists of original tunes from Atkinson, Corritore, Riley, Courtney, and Buck. The remainder are old-school covers. The production values give the session a vintage feel that is reminiscent of the Sun and Chess recordings from days of yore.

Atkinson’s vocals, ringing guitar work, and his songs fit perfectly with the subject era; songs like “Goin’ Back To Tennessee,” “It Wasn’t Easy,” and “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt” sound like they could be found on a 50’s era Chicago jukebox. Corritore contributes three of his own (“Here Comes My Baby,” “Mad About It,” and the sharp instrumental, “El Centro”) and they fit the bill equally well. As for his harmonica work, if he’s not in a class by himself, as Bum Phillips used to say, “it sure don’t take long to call roll.”

The guest artists take the mic for seven of the tunes. Riley lends his gritty Mississippi growl and guitar to his original “Mississippi Plow,” and testifies mightily on the Sensational Nightingales’ “At The Meeting.” Buck tackles the Slim Harpo standard “I’m A King Bee” and his own “You Want Me To Trust You.” Alabama Mike tears through Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand” and “Somebody Done Changed The Lock on My Door,” and Courtney does a splendid reading of his own “Mojo in My Corn Bread.”

House Party at Big Jon’s is a rousing, rollicking good-time set of traditional blues, and for the uninitiated, it serves as a great introduction to Big Jon Atkinson’s talents. He and Bob Corritore work well together, so maybe we’ll see more another collaboration from them in the future.

– Graham Clarke

Southern Blues (Brazil) (June 29, 2016)

Escutem House Party at Big Jon’s do Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore

“House Party at Big Jon’s” é o primeiro álbum de estúdio fruto da parceria do guitarrista Big Jon Atkinson com o gaitista Bob Corritore. O Corritore tem uma extensa discografia solo e uma maior ainda em álbuns colaborativos, esse é um cara que vale conhecer a discografia mais a fundo.

O Blues que a dupla toca em “House Party at Big Jon’s”é bem tradicional e nos remete ao início do estilo, um grande álbum. Destaque para as faixas “Goin’ Back to Tennessee”, “Here Comes My Baby”, “She’s My Crazy Little Baby” e My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt”.

Living Blues Magazine (June 2016)

Drawn to the blues at a young age, Big Jon Atkinson’s musical prowess caught the attention of veterans such as Junior Brantley and Kim Wilson. On his latest project, the multi-instrumentalist and vocalist is joined by another master artist—harmonica player Bob Corritore. Recorded in Atkinson’s San Diego studio. House Party At Big Jon’s sounds as if it were recently unearthed in a label vault—and wonderfully so.

With their shared passion for mid-century electric blues, Atkinson and Corritore are sympathetic foils for one another. The hazy, vintage atmosphere they create brings to mind the era’s classic Sun and Chess sides. Atkinson sings and plays with an effortless power that belies his youth, and his original songs “Goin’ Back To Tennessee,” “It Wasn’t Easy” and “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt” bear that same natural, mature touch. Likewise, Corritore contributes “Here Comes My Baby,” “Mad About It” and the instrumental “El Centro,” and lbows mellifluous harp throughout the sessions.

Atkinson and Corritore also take turns as sidemen, backing blues musicians Dave Riley, Alabama Kime, Tomcat Courtney and Willie Buck on seven of the album’s 16 tracks. Alabama Mike wails his frustration on “Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door,” while Buck purrs suggestively through Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee.” Riley blesses Sensational Nightengale Charles B. Johnson’s “At The Meeting” with gruff conviction, and it, along with Courtney’s ageless “Mojo In My Bread,” is an album highlight.

A fine set of smoldering, classically styled electric blues, Big Jon Atkinson and Bob Corritore’s House Party At Big Jon’s is a good time not to be missed. – Melanie Young

Blues In Britain (UK) (June 2016)

DeltaGroove strike again with yet another “killer” blues CD – this time pairing the youthful but authoritative blues talents of singer/guitarist Big Jon Atkinson with those of seasoned blues harp maestro Bob Corritore. At their “House Party” they are joined by a plethora of blues titans including Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley and Tomcat Courtney with a hot band consisting of Danny Michel, Troy Sandow, Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey and Marty Dodson – as Cream would say “Strange Brew, look what’s inside of you ….” Traditional blues of the highest order.

The set opens with ‘Goin’ Back To Tennessee’ where Atkinson melds elements of Buddy Guy, Byther Smith and Otis Rush whilst Corritore lays down superb Little Walter styled harp. ‘Here Comes My Baby’ and ‘It Wasn’t Easy’ have a vintage Muddy Waters feel as if he had been recorded at the Sun Studios in Memphis – whilst ‘She’s My Crazy Little Baby’ takes swamp blues to the West Coast.

Dave Riley’s gutbucket vocals are underpinned to perfection by intoxicating guitar and harp on ‘At The Meeting’ – Willie buck delivers a slab of pure vintage Chicago blues on ‘You Want Me to trust You’ – Tomcat Courtney reminds us just how good he is on the rough and tumble jook joint blues of ‘Mojo In My Bread’ – whilst the deep blues timbre of Alabama Mike’s vocals on Hopkins’ ‘Mojo Hand’ suits the amplified Terry and McGhee backing laid down by Atkinson and Corritore.

Add in the Conjunto feel Corritore and Atkinson bring to the instrumental ‘El Centro’ – the impassioned ‘Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door’ – and the Hound Dog Taylor feel of ‘Mad About It’ – and you have a set I can only describe as essential.

– Mick Rainsford

Soul Bag Magazine (France) (June 2016)


Big Jon Atkinson et Bob Corritore s’unissent pour le meilleur, laissant le pire de côté. Enregisté sur du matériel vintage, quasiment en direct, ils livrent une très belle séance de blues traditionnel, dynamisé par un joli son et une production sans fioritures mais avec peut-être un peu trop d’écho. Le répertoire est majoritairement sudiste, du côté de la Louisiane, avec des originaux des deux protagonistes (bourrés de références Chicago ou swamp blues) et de leurs invités. Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, Willie Buck et Alabama Mike sont effectivement de la partie et lorsqu’ils prennent le micro, la musique devient encore plus blues, poisseuse, menaçante. Alabama Mike est notamment en mode “arrache tripes” dans le blues lent “Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door” avec en plus une belle guitare slide d’Atkinson. Celui-ci s’en sort aussi très bien au chant, sa voix est puissante, éraillée, lui permettant d’évoquer Lightnin’ Slim dans “It Wasn’t Easy” ou Wynonie Harris dans “She’s My Crazy Little Baby,” vaste registre ! Sa guitare est juste, clinquante, bien placée, bluesy. Bob Corritore, lui, passe sans peine de Little Walter à Lazy Lester mais reste finalement lui-même car son aptitude à intégrer tous les styles lui donne une couleur très personnelle, qu’on apprécie sur l’instrumental chaloupé “El Centro.” On savoure aussi la reprise de “King Bee,” boostée en instrumentation et en rythme, oú l’harmonica est chicagoan en rythmique et louisianais en solo. Bob Corritore nous a habitués à l’excellence depuis longtemps, il semble avoir trouvé un jeune alter ego avec Big Jon Atkinson dont le désir de maintenir en vie un certain blues classique et le travail de musicien, producteur, rassembleur sont en droite ligne de ceux de son aîné.

– Christophe Mourot

Ill Blues (Italy) (June 2016)

Un album co-accreditato al giovane Atkinson, nemmeno trentenne ma già solido musicista con una propensione spiccata per i suoni vintage e al sempre affidabile Corritore, ma in realtà va posto l’accento sul titolo di “House Party”. Vero che il tono lo danno le chitarre di Atkinson e Danny Michel, l’armonica di Bob e una sezione ritmica funzionale, con Troy Sandow al basso e l’alternarsi di tre differenti batteristi. Le sonorità si rifanno al Chicago Blues degli anni Cinquanta, ruvido quanto basta perché l’operazione risulti riuscita e non artificiale, Atkinson non se la cava male nemmeno al canto, “Here Comes My Baby”, ma un bell’apporto lo forniscono gli invitati alla festa, a cominciare dall’ottuagenario Tomcat Courtney, anche lui come il giovane Jon, residente a San Diego, California. Courtney canta e suona nella sua “Mojo In My Bread” e il tutto acquista un altro spessore. Bella l’idea di convocare anche Willie Buck, altro cantante vecchia scuola apprezzato in un CD su Delmark qualche anno fa, “You Want Me To Trust You”, con la sua progressione classica, ha il sapore di un vecchio singolo Vee-Jay. Ritroviamo anche un frequente collaboratore di Corritore, Dave Riley, efficacissimo su “Mississippi Plow”, che scorre spedita col clangore delle chitarre. Corritore è uno degli armonicisti più espressivi e versatili (si ascolti il suo recente “Taboo”) o qui ad esempio lo strumentale “El Centro”, in questo contesto si ritrova a meraviglia. Il quarto vocalist che si unisce alla band è Alabama Mike, poco più che cinquantenne anche lui di casa sulla West Coast e in possesso di una voce più acuta e squillante, che apporta quindi una dinamica differente rispetto alle tonalità più scure e meditative di Buck e Courtney. Proprio un buon disco, transgenerazionale e divertente, farà felici gli amanti dei suoni classici; Atkinson dimostra di meritarsi gli elogi di Kim Wilson o Al Blake, per conoscenza della materia e proprietà di linguaggio, frequentare gente come Courtney o Buck certamente gioverà alla sua formazione.

– Matteo Bossi

Blues Bytes (June 2016)

Even though he’s not yet 30 years old, Big Jon Atkinson truly has an old soul. The San Diego resident has worked with Nathan James and Kim Wilson as well as fronting his own band, the Nationals. He fell under the spell of the blues as a youngster and has developed into a versatile guitarist and a vocalist of the highest quality. Last year, Atkinson teamed with harp master Bob Corritore for a thrilling set of vintage blues at Big Tone Studio in San Diego, House Party at Big Jon’s (Delta Groove Music).

It wouldn’t be a true house party without a few guests, so Atkinson and Corritore are joined by Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, Alabama Mike, and Willie Buck, plus guitarist Danny Michel, bassist Troy Sandow, and drummers Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey, and Marty Dodson. Loaded with 16 tracks, about half the disc consists of original tunes from Atkinson, Corritore, Riley, Courtney, and Buck. The remainder are old-school covers. The production values give the session a vintage feel that is reminiscent of the Sun and Chess recordings from days of yore.

Atkinson’s vocals, ringing guitar work, and his songs fit perfectly with the subject era; songs like “Goin’ Back To Tennessee,” “It Wasn’t Easy,” and “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt” sound like they could be found on a ’50s era Chicago jukebox. Corritore contributes three of his own (“Here Comes My Baby,” “Mad About It,” and the sharp instrumental, “El Centro”) and they fit the bill equally well. As for his harmonica work, if he’s not in a class by himself, as Bum Phillips used to say, “it sure don’t take long to call roll.”

The guest artists take the mic for seven of the tunes. Riley lends his gritty Mississippi growl and guitar to his original “Mississippi Plow,” and testifies mightily on the Sensational Nightingales’ “At The Meeting.” Buck tackles the Slim Harpo standard “I’m A King Bee” and his own “You Want Me To Trust You.” Alabama Mike tears through Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand” and “Somebody Done Changed The Lock on My Door,” and Courtney does a splendid reading of his own “Mojo in My Corn Bread.”

House Party at Big Jon’s is a rousing, rollicking good-time set of traditional blues, and for the uninitiated, it serves as a great introduction to Big Jon Atkinson’s talents. He and Bob Corritore work well together, so maybe we’ll see more another collaboration from them in the future.

– Graham Clarke

Disco Club (Italy) (July 8, 2016)

Un “Finto” Giovane E I Suoi Maturi Amici Bluesmen. Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore – House Party At Big Jon’s

Questo è un disco di cosiddetto “blues old school”, non per l’età del protagonista principale, Big Jon Atkinson (di recente sentito con Kim Wilson nel tributo a Big Walter), che quando è stato registrato questo disco di anni ne aveva solo 26, ed ora ne ho 28, quanto per la modalità usata nella registrazione e per il tipo di suono che si è cercato di realizzare. L’album è stato concepito nello studio casalingo di Atkinson, il Big Tone in quel di San Diego, California, da qui il titolo House Party At Big Jon’s. Quindi pochi mezzi, apparecchiature vintage atte a ricreare il sound dei dischi di blues classico, volutamente scarno e con una tecnica sonora per certi versi primordiale. E’ anche un disco multi generazionale , perché l’età dei musicisti impiegati oscilla dai meno di 30 di Atkinson ai quasi 80 di Willie Buck, fino agli 87 di Tomcat Courtney, passando per i 60 del contitolare di questo album, Bob Corritore, che di solito ultimamente partecipava a molte produzioni all stars, ma questa volta si è calato a fondo nel mood voluto da Big Jon Atkinson, che per questa registrazione ha voluto ricreare il suono dei vecchi dischi di Chicago blues degli anni ’40 e ’50, un sound volutamente crudo e vintage, in un certo senso dando vita in musica alla sua passione per il restauro, il commercio e la vendita di vecchi strumenti e amplificatori, che è quello che Atkinson fa di mestiere per vivere.

Che poi questo giovanottone abbia anche una ottima tecnica alla chitarra e una voce gagliarda e vissuta sicuramente non guasta: in effetti il nostro canta 8 dei 16 brani presenti, un misto di materiale originale e vecchi brani blues, spesso oscuri, lasciandone sette ai vocalist ospiti, oltre ai citati Buck e Courtney, anche Dave Riley e Alabama Mike. Il suono forse è fin troppo filologico, a differenza delle abituali produzioni della Delta Groove, che di solito sono caratterizzate da un sound nitido e molto presente, ma per dare ancora maggiore autenticità a questo omaggio alle radici delle dodici battute in chiave elettrica si è preferito optare per questa scelta. Quindi solo voce, due chitarre, una solista ed una ritmica, armonica ed una sezione ritmica “analogica” con vari musicisti che si alternano a seconda dei brani, sia che siano originali di Atkinson o Corritore, sia in brani di Lightnin’ Slim, She’s My Crazy Little Baby, oppure ancora brani oscuri come At The Meeting di Charles Johnson, cantata da Dave Riley o Mojo Hand di Lightnin’ Hopkins, cantata da Alabama Mike, tutti suonano assolutamente autentici.

Tom(cat) Courtney porta al party (scusate il bisticcio) una Mojo In My Bread che non sarebbe stata fuori posto in qualche registrazione di Muddy Waters o John Lee Hooker degli anni ’40. Corritore, in tutti i brani fa con impegno il Big o Little Walter della situazione e in Mad About It, da lui firmata, dà una dimostrazione della sua eccellente tecnica allo strumento, poi ribadita nello strumentale latineggiante El Centro, anche se poi la parte vocale è di Atkinson, perché il lo strumentista di Chicago, ma trapiantato a Phoenix, non canta neanche se gli sparano. Empty Bedroom, un vecchio brano di Sonny Boy Williamson e I’m A King Bee, forse l’unico brano famoso di questa raccolta, cantata con impeto da Willie Buck, sono altri ottimi esempi della ricreazione di un vecchio sound che si riteneva perduto. Mentre Somebody Done Changed The Lock, cantata di nuovo da Alabama Mike, si arrampica anche sugli impervi sentieri del primo B.B. King, uno slow blues di quelli torridi dove Big Jon Atkinson si impegna con ottimi risultati pure alla slide. E anche i primi due o tre brani, quelli firmati da Atkinson o Corritore, tra cui la poderosa Goin’ Back To Tennessee sono altrettanto “vissuti”. Insomma, senza citare tutti i brani, ce n’è per tutti i gusti, soprattutto per gli amanti del “vecchio” Blues, quello con la B maiuscola, magari fin troppo integralista nel suo dipanarsi, ma sicuramente questo House Party At Big Jon’s è un eccellente disco, vecchia scuola sì, ma non ancora defunta.

– Bruno Conti

BluesNews.RU (Russia) (July 10, 2016)

Мне отлично знаком Боб, превосходный харпер, упертый традиционалист, а вот его партнёра (что на обложке), 26-летнего мистера с гитарой по фамилии Эткинсон, автор заметки почти совсем не знает (увы, также как и остальных «фигурантов» проекта). Однако это не имеет ни малейшего значения – вес имеет только по какой-то прихоти «машины времени» проникшая в сегодня колоритная блюзовая материя из негритянского кабака года этак 53-го или около того. Бледнолицые джентльмены вооружились дорогущими, винтажными инструментами и динамиками из той эпохи, да и воспроизвели ЧЕРНЫЙ блюз, каким ему положено было звучать в ТУ эпоху. Они намерено записали 16 треков так, чтобы они производили впечатление скачка во времени: гулкий, грязноватый, раскатистый, «развязный» звук, словно всё тут лениво и как-бы без претензии, напряга. Отдыхаем, дескать, сейчас, вот и побренчать сели. Что вы говорите? Маленько гитара расстроилась в «At The Meeting»? Что ж может, вы и правы, сэр. Зато петь ребята умеют – в этом смысл. О, иногда они сердиты, да, сэр! Вслушайтесь в «Mad About It», разве это не школа MW – уж он умел поставить подружку на место в запале ревности. А вот, кстати, и песня самого Мадда «I’m A King Bee». Той угрозы, что у Уотерса вы тут не найдёте, но дух его определенно витает над всей этой штукой, заключённой в альбом. На нём много не слишком известных вещей. Почему? Да потому, сэр, что Боб и остальные ребята их сами и сочинили.

Стильная пластинка, доказывающая, что чёрный блюз Чикаго не перевёлся. Однако искать его следует не на стадионах и раздольных фестах, а вот на таких дисках-квартирниках, когда поёт на сочных низах Alabama Mike Benjamin, специальный гость проекта, дай Бог ему здоровья.

Блестящая стилизация под саунд и свободу городского раннего блюза.

Blues News (Netherlands) (July 29, 2016)

Als ik de cd ‘House Party At Big Jon’s’ van Big Jon Atkinson & Bob Corritore voor het eerst op mijn computer afspeel, heb ik meteen het gevoel dat ik verkeerd bezig ben. Eigenlijk moet je dit album namelijk op vinyl luisteren want het brengt je binnen een paar seconden terug naar de blues van de jaren vijftig. Het is dan ook opgenomen bij Big Jon Atkinson thuis in zijn eigen studio met opname apparatuur uit de jaren vijftig. En dat is dus zeker te horen. Ook al is Jon Atkinson nog maar zesentwintig, hij heeft zich nooit echt thuis gevoeld in de digitale wereld en speelt dan ook echte oude blues. Dit is inmiddels zijn derde album en langzaam aan ontdekken steeds meer mensen zijn grote muzikale talent. Hij speelt meerdere instrumenten maar op dit album zingt hij op acht van de zestien nummers en speelt hij gitaar op veertien nummers.

Bob Corritore is inmiddels alweer zestig en speelt hij intussen op meer dan vijftig albums mondharmonica. Corritore mogen we dan ook een echte veteraan noemen. En misschien is dat ook wel de grote kracht achter dit album, de veteraan en het jonge talent die elkaar uitdagen om nog beter te spelen. En natuurlijk is geen feestje compleet zonder een aantal gasten. Op dit album spelen maar liefst in totaal elf mensen mee. Naast Big Jon en Bob spelen Danny Michel (gitaar) op dertien nummers mee, Troy Sandow (bas) op elk nummer, Malachi Johnson (drums) op tien nummers mee, Brian Fahey (drums) op vier nummers mee, en tot slot: Marty Dodson (drums) op twee nummers. Daarnaast zijn er nog drie gastzangers maar daarover straks meer.

Het album begint meteen goed met een nummer van Big Jon Atkinson genaamd: Goin’ Back To Tennessee. Er volgen nog twee nummers van Atkinson, namelijk: It Wasn’t Easy en My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt. En alle drie klinken ze alsof ze in Chicago van de jaren vijftig zijn opgenomen. Ook Bob Corritore heeft drie nummers geschreven voor dit album: Here Comes My Baby, Mad About It en het instrumentale El Centro. De eerste gast zanger horen we tijdens At The Meeting. Dave Riley zingt en speelt gitaar op dit nummer en later horen we hem nog een keertje voorbij komen, als hij zijn eigen geschreven Mississippi Plow speelt. Mojo Hand en Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door worden gezongen door Alabama Mike. Ook Willie Buck komt tijdens het feestje even voorbij. Hij zingt zijn eigen: You Want Me To Trust You en later de cover: I’m A King Bee. En tenslotte horen we Tomcat Courtney een geweldige versie spelen van zijn eigen nummer: Mojo In My Bread.

Kortom: een heerlijk album die je terug in de tijd brengt. Echt een lekker feestje die iedereen een keer gehoord moet hebben. Een echte aanrader.

– Filip Heidinga

Blues News (Germany) (July 2016)

5 out of 6 stars

Viele der führenden Retro-Blueser in den USA and Europa sind inzwischen in die Jahre gekommen und der ohnehin nicht allzu zahlreiche Bluesnachwuchs widmet sich eher moderneren und/oder rockigeren Richtungen. Eine bemerkenswerte Ausnahme ist Big Jon Atkinson: Der 29-jährige Kalifornier hat die alten Bluesstile studiert (ich habe selten so authentischen Louisiana-Blues à la Lightnin’ Slim gehört) und schreibt zudem interessante eigene Songs im traditionellen Gewand. Jon spielt auch sehr gut Bluesharp, konzentriert sich auf seiner zweiten CD aber logischerweise auf Gitarre und Gesang, denn an seiner Seit ist mit Bob Corritore einer der führenden US-Bluesharper im Chicago-Stil – und der hat selten besser geklungen als hier. Atkinson ist als Sänger genauso versiert wie als Klampfe, aber er bist das Mikro bei knapp der Hälfte der Songs an namhafte schwarze Blueser ab: Auf einem bzw. zwei Titeln sind Tomcat Courtney bzw. Dave Riley an Gesang und Gitarre zu hören und bei je zwei Titeln steuern Alabama Mike bzw. Willie Buck die Vocals bei. Das sorgt zusammen mit einem Instrumental-Feature von Corritore für Abwechslung und dürfte alle Down-Home- und Chicago-Blues-Fans begeistern. Allerdings habe ich eine Einschränkung: Genen “monophobic” und “all vintage equipment” ist nichts einzuwenden, aber es gibt einen Unterschied zwischen warmem Retro-Sound und einen auf primitiv getrimmten Klangbild. (kk)

Blues Society of Omaha (July 2016)

This collaboration, between Atkinson and Corritore, is an introduction of sorts to guitarist Big Jon by the veteran harmonica player Corritore. Atkinson is a 28 year old guitarist from San Diego that got into classic blues from an early age. He then had a desire to play with the blues masters that he admired.

Corritore is a harp veteran that opened the Rhythm Room in Phoenix in 1981 bringing with him the blues he loved from his native Chicago. Many blues veterans have played there since then.

Corritore and Big John are a great match because of their passion for post-war classic blues. They use vintage instruments and recording equipment to create a sound that harkens back to the sound of Chess.

Atkinson plays and sings in a style, and with a strength, that is beyond his age. Corritore’s harp playing is solid and understated throughout. Backup work is supplied admirably by veterans Alabama Mike, Dave Riley, Tomcat Courtney, and Willie Buck.

This cd will be appreciated by blues fans that enjoy classic Chicago blues. It is unadorned and rough to give it that unmistakable classic sound.

– A.J. Foyt

Suncoast Blues Society Twelve Bar Rag (July/August 2016)

If you have not checked out Big Jon Atkinson, this disc will allow you to correct that oversight. Already hailed by Kim Wilson as the future of the blues, Atkinson is old-school through and through, from the vintage equipment used for this recording to the warm, old-school sound the recalls the early Chess Records to his weathered, twenty-eight-year-old voice and spot-on guitar phrasing.

It made perfect sense to pair him with veteran Bob Corritore, who has always been steeped in traditional sounds with his hearty harp blowing, as a producer, the owner of the Rhythm Room club in Phoenix, AZ, and on his long-tuning blues radio program. The rest of the band is comprised of Danny Michel on guitar, Troy Sandow on bass, and Malachi Johnson, Marty Dodson, and Brian Fahey on drums.

Atkinson’s gritty vocal plays off Corritore’s full-bodied chromatic harp tones on “Here Comes My Baby,” then diverts to a darker place on “It Wasn’t Easy” where his stringing guitar licks take over. “Mad About It” is a jumpin’ track with some Muddy Waters style slide guitar. On a cover of “I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil,” Atkinson laid-back performance feels and sounds like something recorded sixty years ago.

– George Willett

Blues Rag (August 2016)

No—contrary to what your ears keep confidently assuring you, guitarist Big Jon Atkinson, in cahoots with harpist Bob Corritore, never did cut “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt” or “Here Comes My Baby” for Chess, Trumpet or any other long-shuttered label. (Nor, for that matter, any of the 14 other hardened House Party sides.) The backdated, piano- less ensemble just sounds for all the world like they did. Because there’s nostalgic, there’s retro— and then there’s outright reincarnation of the kind Atkinson, a 26-year-old old-timer, and Corritore, the seasoned ace who has harped with anyone who’s ever been blue, individually special- ize. Uniting them was genius. Warmed by tube amplifiers, then bathed in room echo, the authenticity in their old ways is a marvel of post-war craftsmanship, from the licks, phrasing, and mindset to Atkinson’s old-world voice, gear, and production. Recording in mono—nowadays? Really? That’s just stone-cold devotion, only capable of being topped had this session been issued as a series of 78s.

So don’t waste time rifling through dusty stacks of old records trying to prove that the hard-luck ooze of “It Wasn’t Easy” dates back to some grind- it session for Excello, at the time when Lightnin’ Slim was still slithering. It doesn’t; it’s actu- ally a brand-new build. Same goes for “Mad About It,” whose bottleneck eruption could well be from ’54, when J.B. Hutto was throttling Chance Records. But to keep you guessing, born-again covers (Lightnin’ Hopkins to Sonny Boy Williamson) hide amongst the originals.

Four secret weapons— 86-year-old Tomcat Courtney, Dave Riley, soon-to-be-80 Willie Buck, and Alabama Mike—get vocally deployed to feed the flashback all the more. Each comes fully vet- ted with their own bar-stained rasp, blues history and chroni- cally undervalued discography. (Mike, a harpist by instrument, recently added Upset the Status Quo to his own pile.) So when Courtney’s “Mojo in My Bread” comes creeping out to offset the jostling joyride aboard Riley’s “Mississippi Plow,” Big Jon’s House Party slips all the more convincingly back in time.


Blues Blast #1 (August 25, 2016)

House parties with live entertainment usually end up with a loud bands that give a valiant effort at recreating favorite hits from classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the Allman Brothers. Often there is more enthusiasm than talent, and sometimes it is a relief when the band takes a break. Party at Big Jon’s, the new album from Big Jon Atkinson and Bob Corritore is nothing like this, and it is an hour-long set of vintage blues sounds that are served up with enormous talent.

As he was born in the late 1980s Big Jon Atkinson is a relative newcomer on the blues landscape, but he has somehow escaped his generation’s fascination with the shiny allure of videogames and social media, instead focusing his energy on the genre that he loves. Big Jon’s 2014 debut album, Boogie With You Baby, is an amazing piece of work and it was an avenue for his music to reach beyond the fans that were lucky enough to see his live shows. For a fellow that has not even hit 30 yet, Atkinson has earned the respect of fellow bluesmen and his voice has an aged timbre that is beyond his years (in good ways). You would be hard put to find a modern blues singer that has his talent or his unmistakable feel for the music. He is pretty good on the guitar, too!

His partner on this project, Bob Corritore, should need no introduction, as he is one of the premier harp men in the business today. Bob learned from and played with Chicago blues masters, and he brought this knowledge and skill with him to the Sonoran Desert in the early 1980s. Corritore opened the famed Rhythm Room in Phoenix in 1991, and if you are ever in this part of Arizona this is the premier joint to hear quality live music. This man also spreads the good news of the blues gospel though his website and his radio show, and he collaborates, produces, and promotes other blues artists. Bob Corritore is a righteous dude, to be sure.

Party at Big Jon’s was produced by Atkinson and Corritore, and it was recorded last year at Jon’s Big Tone Studio in his hometown of San Diego, California. The tracks were laid down using vintage equipment and techniques, giving the whole project a satisfyingly raw electric blues sound. They got top-shelf help in the studio from guitarist Danny Michel and bassist Troy Sandow, as well as a trio of fine drummers: Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey, and Marty Dodson. Some very special guests also joined in, as you will soon see. The content is divided between classic blues tunes and originals that were written by this duo and their friends.

The hour-long set is bookended by two songs that Atkinson wrote and sang, and they both have the feel of yesteryear with Jon’s slightly muffled vocals and thumpy double bass from Sandow. “Goin’ Back to Tennessee” kicks things off with a conventional blues lyrical style accompanied by instrumentation that provides space for the guitar leads and Corritore’s tasteful harp work. Bob does not need to wow the listener with crazy harmonica antics, as his phrasing and musicality are spot on for this and every other track on the album. The closer, “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt” places more emphasis on the vocals, and Big Jon has the ability to howl them out without losing his edge and sounding too rough. It is hard to believe that he has developed this much talent and restraint at such a young age.
Big Jon only provides the vocals for half of the songs on this disc, and there is prime talent that takes care of the rest. A fellow San Diego denizen, Tomcat Courtney, performs his original “Mojo in My Bread” and there is no sign that this octogenarian is slowing down; his delivery of the clever lyrics is beautiful. Sticking with the mojo theme, Alabama Mike tears up Lightning Hopkins’ “Mojo Hand,” and almost outdoes B.B. King on “Somebody Done Changed the Lock on My Door.”

Chicago bluesman Willie Buck also sings one the originals that he wrote (“You Want Me to Trust You”), and takes a run at Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee.” His voice is as smooth as silk on these tunes, and it is a cool counterpoint to Corritore’s grittier harmonica parts. Another Windy City fellow, Dave Riley, does his original “Mississippi Plow”(he was born in the Magnolia State, you know) and Charles Johnson’s “At the Meeting,” a slow gospel blues song that is one of the standout tracks on the disc.

Big Jon Atkinson and Bob Corritore did a wonderful job with Party at Big Jon’s. There is a consistent feel to the songs from track to track, despite the mix of older covers and new material, and the different frontmen that participated. The vintage sound is contagious, and this is one of the best traditional blues albums of the year; it will certainly be a contender for next year’s awards season. Check it out for yourself, and enjoy some excellent blues in one of its most enduring forms!

– Rex Bartholomew

Rhythms Magazine (Australia) (September 2016)

Upcoming US West Coast blues guitarist/singer Big Jon ATkinson collaborates with seasoned harmonica ace Bob Corritore on this bountiful set of gut-bucket old-school Chicago blues backed by a guitar/bass/drums combo and performed with attitude on vintage equipment. Atkinson’s authoritative playing and forceful vocals are the perfect foil for Corritore’s nuanced, passionate reed work as they explore a range of songs by such greats as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, Casey Bill Weldon, Charles Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson II, besides some originals. Adding extra dimension to the powerful musical chemistry is the presence of blues veterans Dave Riley, Willie Buck and Alabama Mike who respectively contribute their vocals on two songs each, Tomcat Courtney stepping up to the plate to sing his own “Mojo In My Bread” as well. An assortment of timeless blues played with conviction.

– Al Hensley

Back To The Roots (Belgium) (September 2016)

Van de immer actieve Bob Corritore verschijnen met de regelmaat van de klok producties. Iedere keer opnieuw weet Corritore weer een ervaren bluesmuzikant aan zich te binden. Als baas van de bekende bluesclub “Rhythm Room” in Phoenix, Arizona komt hij doorlopend in contact met een keur aan artiesten, die mogelijke kandidaten zijn voor zijn toekomstige plannen. Voor deze productie is Corritore een samenwerking aangegaan met Big Jon Atkinson. De opnames voor deze cd zijn in Jon’s eigen Big Tone Studio in San Diego, Caliofrnia vastgelegd. Atkinson is een enorme liefhebber van vintage apparatuur, en zijn studio staat dan ook bol van al dat soort spullen, waarmee hij de sound van weleer wil doen herleven. Op zich zou je dit niet verwachten van een jongeman van 26, die juist in het digitale tijdperk is grootgebracht. Op het Bluesbeat Music Label verschenen al twee zeer fraaie producties van multi-instrumentalist Atkinson, die uiteindelijk de deuren hebben geopend naar een groter label. Met “House Part At Big Jon’s” toont Atkinson aan dat hij op eene groot label thuis hoort. Bij het horen van de eerste tonen waan je je gelijk een driekwart eeuw terug in de tijd. Old school blues van het zuiverste water. Al die vintage apparatuur heeft daar zeker aan bij gedragen, maar eerst moet je de stijl beheersen en dat doen deze mannen met het grootste gemak. De vocale gastbijdragen van Dave Riley, Alabama Mike, Willie Buck en Tomcat Courtney maken dit album tot een zeer genietbaar geheel.

– Martin Van de Velde

La Hora Del Blues (Spain) (September 28, 2016)

Blues del bueno, blues auténtico, blues del mejor. Así de categórico y enérgico me muestro ante este disco de blues clásico con el sonido vintage de los años cincuenta. a lo que se añade una producción del siglo XXI. Cuando nadie lo conocía Jon Atkinson era un aficionado del mundo digital. A ello se unía una extraordinaria pasión por el blues más genuino. Atkinson empezó pronto a tocar con algunos de los jóvenes maestros del blues actual. Sin embargo fue Kim Wilson quien descubrió su potencial e inmediatamente le llamó para tocar en su banda, The Blues All-Stars, lo que según Wilson fue un absoluto acierto haberle dado esa oportunidad. En el 2015 Bob Corritore fue a grabar al estudio de Big Jon en San Diego, California. De inmediato surgió entre ellos una gran química y fruto de ella es este disco que incluye dieciséis imponentes blues en los que la poderosa guitarra y voz de Big Jon y la excelente armónica de Bob Corritore brillan a gran altura, secundados admirablemente por unos grandes músicos y amigos entre los que cabe destacar a Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley o Tomcat Courtney. Como dice Kim Wilson, Big Jon representa el nuevo y mejor futuro del blues, y la verdad es que tiene toda la razón. BUENISIMO. The most genuine and good blues you can imagine. This is my categorical statement facing this album of classic energetic blues with a fifties vintage sound and a 21st century final production. When nobody cared about the digital cyber world, Jon Atkinson was already an expert. But he also felt an incredible passion for the real blues. Soon Atkinson started to play with some of the young generation of blues musicians. However, it was Kim Wilson who discovered his potential and immediately called him to play in his band, The Blues All-Stars, which according to Wilson’s words, was the right decision to give him that opportunity. In 2015 Bob Corritore travelled to record at Big Jon’s studio in San Diego, California. Immediately good vibes arose between them and the result is this album that includes sixteen impressive blues where the powerful Big Jon’s guitar and voice and the excellent Bob Corritore’s harmonica playing shine at a very high level, perfectly supported by some musicians and friends like Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley or Tomcat Courtney. As Kim Wilson says, Big Jon represents the new and best future of blues and the true thing is he is completely right. ESSENTIAL.

– Vicente “Harmonica” Zumel

Blues News Kentucky (October 2016)

Bob Corritore is a household name to us blues lovers. He has played harmonica with some of the most respected blues musicians, and recorded on and produced many CDs. He has won several blues awards and in addition, he owns a blues club in Phoenix, and hosts a blues radio show. Jon Atkinson is not so well known – until now.

Atkinson was attracted to the blues from an early age and shunned the popular digital music of his youth. He sought out the blues greats of the day to learn more of the older styles. Jon was noticed by Kim Wilson who took him into his Blues All Stars. Wilson credits Atkinson with understanding the “soul” of music.

In 2016, Corritore traveled to San Diego, Atkinson’s home, and recorded this CD in Jon’s home studio (the “House Party”). Jon is considerably younger than Corritore (Jon is still in his 20s), but thrives on the older blues music that so inspires Corritore. Their collaboration on this CD harks back to the electric blues of the 1950s. They gathered a group of musicians whose ages varied by as much as 60 years, but whose talents and style blended perfectly with their vision for the CD.

There are 16 songs on this CD, half of which are originals, and all are performed with verve. Originals include songs by Corritore, Atkinson, Courtney, and Riley. The guitar, harmonica, and other instruments blend with just the right amount of reverb to replicate the sound of the great recordings of the 50s. Atkinson’s guitar work is exceptional throughout and reminds one of Hollywood Fats’ style. And of course, Corritore’s harp is top notch as usual.

Atkinson proves his talent at vocals on eight of the songs, and has just the voice to fit the songs. The other songs sung by guests Willie Buck, Alabama Mike, Dave Riley, and Tomcat Courtney. Although I really liked Atkinson’s voice, the others added a little different tone/inflection/depth to the vocals that were equally as enjoyable.

There is not a song on this CD that I did not like. I have come to expect good music from all of Delta Groove Music (and Bob Corritore) releases and I got it on this one. IT is one of the best new CDs of the year. You can check out more information on this CD and others by Bob Corritore ab

Blues Blast Magazine #2 (May 25, 2017)

Take one up and coming guitarist who enjoys traditional sounds and vintage equipment, add an expert harmonica player from the old school, season with some guest vocalists and you get this disc, perfect for lovers of traditional blues. The rhythm section is Troy Sandow on bass and Malachi Johnson, Brian Fahey or Marty Dodson on drums, Bob on harp and Big Jon on guitar with engineer Danny Michel helping out on rhythm duties. Jon and Bob wrote three tunes each, guest vocalists Willie Buck, Tomcat Courtney and Dave Riley each brought a song to the sessions and there are seven covers.

There are many highlights here, from Bob’s deep-toned harp contributions to his own “Here Comes My Baby” and the latin-tinged instrumental harp feature “El Centro” which also features Jon’s striking guitar work. A wide range of ages is also represented here, from 80 year old Tomcat Courtney who sounds great on his Mojo In My Bread to teenage drummer Malachi who appears on ten tracks. Of course Big Jon is only in his twenties but sounds far older on cuts like “Goin’ Back To Tennessee” and “My Feelings Won’t Be Hurt”, two of his contributions which bookend the CD. Bob is originally from Chicago and another Windy City stalwart Willie Buck sings his own “You Want Me To Trust You,” a classic blues tale of infidelity; Bob’s frequent collaborator Dave Riley’s deep, booming voice features on “Mississippi Plow” and Alabama Mike’s higher pitched vocals are at the heart of the extended “Somebody Done Changed The Lock On My Door” on which Jon switches to slide to great effect. Elsewhere two of Slim Harpo’s tunes appear: the rolling “I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil” finds Jon leaving guitar duties to Danny Michel, using plenty of reverb to get that swampy feel; “I’m A King Bee” is Willie Buck’s second vocal, Bob’s harp ‘buzzing’ most appropriately.
Chicago meets Louisiana, all recorded in San Diego!

– John Mitchell