Big Pete Pearson & The Rhythm Room All-Stars – I’m Here Baby

ABS Magazine (France)
Arizona Republic
Big City Blues
Blues Art Journal
Blues Art Journal (Austria)
Blues Festival E-Guide
Blues In Britain
Blues Source
Crossroads Magazine (France)
CultureJazz.net
DistritoJazz.com (Spain)
Docteur Blues (France)
In A Blue Mood
Jazz-Blues.com
Living Blues
Phoenix NewTimes
Radio Baker Street (France)
The Scene
Soul Bag (France)
Southland Blues
Spin Factor


CultureJazz.net (France) (January 19, 2009)

Né à la Jamaïque en 1936, arrivé très jeune à Austin (Texas) et résidant à Phoenix (Arizona) depuis la fin des années 50, Big Pete Pearson est un robuste blues shouter, sans doute influencé par Bobby Bland, mais qui s’exprime d’une manière plus directe, moins sophistiquée. Doté d’une voix forte et persuasive, il distille un chant tendu qui fait mouche, au travers d’une douzaine de pièces qui bénéficient du passage de nombreux invités (Ike Turner, W.C. Clark, Joey DeFrancesco, Chico Chism, etc.) qui se mêlent à l’orchestre de base. Une production, certes “classique“ mais très soignée, due à l’harmoniciste Bob Corritone qui sait parfaitement saisir l’esprit du blues authentique. Ce disque paraîtra peut-être le moins original des trois, mais c’est toujours mieux que Popa Chubby !

– Jean Buzelin


Blues Art Journal (Austria) (September / October 2008)

During ‘Family Meeting’ (Ruf), the excellent movie focusing on Finland’s Wentus Blues Band, Kim Wilson is talking to Louisiana Red and mentions an album Red made in Phoenix, Arizona with “Bob” – “it’s a killer, man”, opines Kim. Well, Bob is Bob Corritore, harmonica ace, record producer, tireless champion of the Blues and boss of the Rhythm Room in Phoenix. He is also responsible for these four albums (Rhythm Room All-Stars Featuring Big Pete Pearson/I’m Here Baby, Various Artists/House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’: Celebrating 15 Years At The Rhythm Room, Dave Riley & Bob Corritore/Travelin’ The Dirt Road, and Tomcat Courtney/Downsville Blues), all very different from each other but all real blues.

Singer Big Pete Pearson has a fine, big blues voice; he is of a generation old enough not to be influenced by ‘soul-blues’ and those kind of singers are hard to find nowadays. His major influence seems to be BB King and his very sympathetic backing band is the Rhythm Room All-Stars (Bob on harmonica, Chris James and Johnny Rapp guitars Patrick Rynn on bass, and Brian Fahey on drums), augmented by such high calibre guest as guitarists W.C. Clark (who also duets on vocals on two numbers), Ike Turner and Kid Ramos, harpman Johnny Dyer, pianist Leon Blue and drummers Chico Chism and Richard Innes (that is not to denigrate those I have overlooked, just that these names are more likely to be known to many readers). This is a straightforward, classy album of gritty, impassioned blues singing.

– Norman Darwen


Blues Art Journal (October 2007)

Big Pete Pearson is a singer with a deep voice and passionate feeling. This time he brings us an excellent powerful album where he has surrounded himself with contemporary blues heavyweights, all them great experts in the music they play.

Ike Turner, Kid Ramos, Johnny Dyer, Chico Chism, Richard Innes, W.C. Clark could be mentioned among other well known great artists who stamp their own style and ‘savoir faire’ along twelve amazing classic blues songs, to a de luxe band, “The Rhythm Room All Stars” with Bob Corritone, Chris James, Johnny Rapp, Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey on it. Could we ask for more? GREAT.

– By Vicente Zúmel


Blues Festival E-Guide (August 24, 2007)

Blues shouter Big Pete Pearson steps forward with his first national release after over a half century of honing his craft. Already a popular festival attraction in Europe and in his home base of Phoenix, he now moves to an arena of long over-due recognition in his own country. A spectacular singer and stage performer. Pearson delivers the goods with this star studded collection of powerful songs.


DistritoJazz.com (Spain) (June 21, 2008)

Cantante de voz intensa, profunda y llena de feeling, Big Pete Pearson nos presenta un álbum de excelente factura y enorme calibre.

Para este disco nuestro protagonista se ha sabido rodear de grandes pesos pesados del blues contemporáneo. Estos músicos son todos profundos conocedores del terreno que pisan como Ike Turner, Kid Ramos, Johnny Dyer, Chico Chism, Richard Innes, W.C. Clark y algunos nombres más de igual prestigio y renombre, desfilan a través de doce impresionantes blues de escuela clásica, imprimiéndoles carácter y ‘savoir faire’ a una ya de por si banda de lujo llamada “The Rhythm Room All Stars” con Bob Corritore, Chris James, Johnny Rapp, Patrick Rynn y Brian Fahey.

¿Se puede pedir más?

– Vicente Zumel


Jazz-Blues.com (June / May 2007)

How this guy stayed under the radar for as he long as he has is a real head-scratcher. And also a bit of a shame. Perhaps it’s because his stomping ground, Phoenix, is not a universally recognized blues haven but, whatever the reason, if this disc gets the attention it deserves, Big Pete will be obscure no more. A powerhouse singer with blues instincts increasingly rare these days, the 70-something Pearson shouts and scorches with energy rarely found in artists half his age. His well-seasoned pipes meet here with a solid set that includes some most authentic sounding originals and a knockout run-through of the Little Milton feature “Tin Pan Alley” on which Pearson comes off as Milton’s burlier older brother. Pearson’s excellent band can stand toe-to-toe with most any outfit around and is enhanced further by tasty guest work from harmonica man Johnny Dyer, guitar stud Kid Ramos and jazz organ ace Joey DeFrancesco. Ike Turner even makes the scene. I’m Here Baby is just the sort of butt-kick traditional blues could use these days and is worth the effort to run down. Check out http://www.bluewitchrecords.com.

– By Duane Verh


Big City Blues (May / April 2007)

Five out of five hats

Fantastic, is all I can say about this one. Big Pete has wooed audiences for over 50 years, from his original home near Austin, Texas to his latter home base in Phoenix. Already a sensation in Europe where he’s kicked up a stir in France, a much-anticipated welcome to the American festival circuit seems to be the next stop, we hope.

Bob Corritore, who runs the infamous Rhythm Room in Phoenix where Pete and many other blues greats have played, produced the CD. Bob also plays harmonica on many of the tracks, as a guest list of incredible talent provide the music for Pete’s new CD. The CD kicks right off with the hard beat blues of “Too Many Drivers”. Here the dual guitars of Chris James and Johnny Rapp complement each other greatly. The hip, funky shuffle of “The Way I See It” showcases Matt Bishop on piano. Along with the title track there are several slow numbers including the moody “Tin Pan Alley” with Clay Swafford on piano, and the sumptuous lyrics of “The Highway is Like a Woman”, with a nightclub presence to the music, summoned by Joey DeFrancesco’s killer B3 organ work.

Ike Turner is also featured on guitar & joins DeFrancesco again on “Big Legged Woman” with Leon Blue on piano and Richard Innes on drums. The ripping slide guitar of Kid Ramos appears on the slow delta touch of “Possum Up a Tree”, and a rendition of the classic “Natural Ball”, offering up the late Chico Chism on drums, and Corritore blowing incredible harp. W.C. Clark stops in to chat up some conversation with Big Pete on “Pete and W.C.’s Blues Medley”, and “Texas Blues Memories”, which reveals a spoken dialog and slight jazz inflection as the wail of Larry Reed’s saxophone puts the mood way past midnight.

The blues run deep here, as Big Pete’s vocals remain bold and authentic throughout the CD, delivering those vocals with authority and experience. Too many great performers labored on this project to mention, but their work make this recording a vibrant and refreshing change of pace from the new and improved blues, to just getting back to the basics.

Let’s again hope that this semi re-discovered blues performer will make his way to the circuit in the following years so we can all witness the blues performed the way it should be.

– By Dirk Wissbaum


Soul Bag (France) (Volume 186, March 2007)

Four stars

Dans notre numéro 184, Jean-Luc Vabres signait la chronique de ce CD autoproduit, auquel il ne manquait plus qu’un diffuseur pour le mettre à portée du grand public, et notamment de notre côté de l’Atlantique. Réjouissons-nous, car c’est désormais chose faite grâce au label Blue Witch, avec en outre deux titres supplémentaires, Tin pan alley et Natural ball. J’adhère totalement au propos de Jean-Luc et, comme lui, je vous recommande chaudement le CD de ce chanteur au timbre écorché à la limite de la rupture, une “espèce” en voie de disparition… Pour plus de détails, je vous invite d’ailleurs à relire le texte de mon collègue.

Tout juste ajouterais-je que le propriétaire de Blue Witch, Bob Corritore, (également harmoniciste convaincant, présent ici sur sept plages), n’a décidément pas son pareil pour cimenter des formations qui réunissent des musiciens pourtant venus d’horizons différents. Je me souviens ainsi du superbe opus de Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, Snakes Crawls At Night”, (SB 176)… Ici, le leader s’entoure lui aussi de belles pointures: W.C. Clark (cousin de Big Pete), Ike Turner, Kid Ramos, Chris James et Johnny Rapp aux guitares, Johnny Dyer à l’harmonica, Leon Blue au piano, enfin le regretté Chico Chism à la batterie, qui nous a quitté le 28 janvier dernier. Malgré cela, l’unité est onmiprésente, et l’ensemble regorge de feeling. En 2001, Big Pete, né en 1936 en Jamaïque, mais installé à Phoenix (Arizona), avait enregistré le tout premier CD du catalogue Blue Witch (“One More Drink”), mais sa diffusion était restée locale. Quant au présent disque, il n’envisageait même pas de le sortir… Aubaine à saisir.

– Daniel Léon


Baltimore Blues Rag (March 2007)

Exactly 33 seconds into I’m Here Baby, the epiphany strikes: Big Pete Pearson may not have been crowned ‘Big Pete’ based strictly on his physical girth. Because it is precisely at that moment during “Too Many Drivers”, when the Phoenix-based blues shouter first introduces himself by way of a mighty blast. With a sledgehammer’s subtlety, that voice tears into the bedrock Chicago groove which harpist/producer Bob Corritore and his Rhythm Room All-Stars have been laying down all the while. Not even the subsequent smoky, blue pulse of “Tin Pan Alley” – oozing calm, cool, collectedness from every guitar string, harp reed, and piano key in the room – can restrain his massive bark from intermittently rising up and towering above. But devouring blues is what this Texas native has been doing for fifty-odd years, dating back to beer joints around his hometown of St. John’s and the nearby Austin. And on this follow-up to his better-late-than-never debut in 2001, devouring blues still remains the plan. Corritore, his barbed-to-butter harmonica, and the rest of the blues boys see to that. A deliberate absence of horns help steer away from the swing or jump mode favored by likewise hollering Big Joe Turner to whom Pearson’s been compared. Instead, a direct-from-Halsted feel is maintained, which means that shuffles aren’t taken lightly and slow burners properly smolder. While the All-Stars always do Pete right, the project gets spiced up by a ‘revolving door policy’ that guests like drummer Chico Chism, harpist Johnny Dyer, and Kid Ramos’ snarling slide guitar take full advantage. That’s how W.C. Clark twice sings and strings beside his elder cousin, as when reminiscing the good ol’ days atop “Texas Blues Memories” vamp. It’s how Ike Turner’s guitar discharges whammy-bar boings into “Big Leg Woman” (one of six Pearson originals). And how Hammond B3 organ wiz get to carpet the suggestiveness of “The Highway Is Like A Woman” in wall to wall velvet. Likewise disguising its naughtiness behind a veil of not-so-sly innuendo is “My Baby Is A Jockey,” a throat-squalling shuffle that offers a shot at hearing what a locomotive might sound like singing the blues.

– Dennis Rozanski


Phoenix New Times (February 22, 2007)

Born in 1936 in Jamaica, raised in Texas, and based in Phoenix, Big Pete Pearson is proof that the blues (as a flourishing, vibrant form) is not dying of old age and House of Blues-bred respectability. Likely among the last of the breed of Chicago-style bluesmen, Pearson has a burly, somewhat raspy, heartfelt bellow of a voice in the vein of late icons Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. His songs are usual 12-bar rants about big-legged women, romantic discord, partying, fealty, and man’s eternal quest for His Baby (as in, “gotta fahnd mah BABY”) – but another thing Big Pete corroborates: ’tain’t what you say, but the way you say it. Pearson breathes fire (and a bit of drollness) into routine subject matter, while his accompanists stoke the flames with urgent, terse string-bending by Johnny Rapp and Chris James (plus guests Kid Ramos and Ike Turner), cracking drums, and the Promethean harmonica of Bob Corritore. The production (also by Corritore) is spare and straightforward, foregoing the slickness that neuters so much contemporary electric blues. (Jazz organist Joey De Francesco makes a couple o’ appearances, adding touches of uptown suavity, by the way.) Anytime you play I’m Here Baby, it’ll feel like after midnight on a Saturday.

– Mark Keresman


Arizona Republic (February 11, 2007)

Phoenix blues favorite “Big” Pete Pearson has sung for more than five decades in shows around the globe, but until now he has never recorded a widely released CD.

I’m Here Baby, produced by local blues impresario Bob Corritore, hits stores Tuesday, and Pearson couldn’t be happier.

“It finally came home, a long time coming,” Pearson, 70, said with a chuckle.

The album pairs Pearson with some of his closest musical pals, including guitarists Ike Turner and Kid Ramos, singer W.C. Clark and three Valley blues standouts, organist Joey DeFrancesco, harmonica player Corritore and late drummer Chico Chism.

“I have known these guys for years,” Pearson said. “It was just like having a homecoming, and it was great inspiration.”

– By Larry Rodgers


In A Blue Mood Blogspot (February 11, 2007)

While the back of the CD cover for I’m Here Baby (Blue Witch) calls Phoenix based Big Pete Pearson a shouter, he comes across more like James Cotton crossed with a bit of Lonnie Brooks to give a sense what he sounds like. Produced by Bob Corritore and joined by the likes of Ike Turner, Johnny Dyer, Joey Francesco, Leon Blue, Kid Ramos and W.C.Clark. The opening “Too Many Drivers” is a rocking shuffle in the vein Cotton excelled at, with Matt Bishop providing the rollicking piano as Chris James and Johnny Rapp on guitar help push the groove, while producer Corritore wails on harp. It’s a good indication of what’s to come on this set of straight, no chaser blues. Leon Blue handles the ivories and Corritore is on chromatic harp on a nice version of “Tin Pan Alley” with a nice gritty vocal. A good song writer, his original “The Way I See It” has him reaching down on his vocal, while “Worried About My Baby” is an easy rocking number with Johnny Dyer contributing a nice harp break on a recording that would have been at home on a vintage Chicago blues collection. I’m Here Baby is a slow drag bump-and-grind number that Pearson just pours his heart into. Ike Turner and Joey DeFrancesco are present for “Big Legged Woman”, a number that brings Lonnie Brooks to mind, while a more West Coast flavor is on the evocative rendition of Percy Mayfield’s “The Highway Is Like a Woman”. Cousin W.C. Clark joins on a spirited blues medley, trading verses and songs as well as the closing “Texas Blues Memories”. “Possum Up A Tree”, with Kid Ramos on guitar, evokes vintage Muddy Waters, while there is a down-home flavor added to “Natural Ball”. While Texas born, Big Pete’s music sounds like he was in Chicago, not Phoenix, the past fifty years. This is an exhilarating blues disc that certainly should make him a singer in demand on the hopefully reviving blues circuit. This is a good one. Check out http://www.bluewitchrecords.com or http://www.bigpetepearson.net for more information.

-By Ron W.


Spin Factor (Nashville City Paper) (February 8, 2007)

Born in Jamaica in 1936, Big Pete Pearson relocated to Texas with his parents while still a youth. As L.P. Pearson, he began his musical career in Austin’s East Side jukes playing bass with such luminaries as Blues Boy Hubbard and T.D. Bell and helping his younger cousin W.C. Clark get started in the music business. After playing a few gigs in Phoenix in the late ’50s, Pearson moved there a few years later, eventually becoming the patriarch of that city’s blues scene.

Perhaps due to his location off the beaten blues path, this is but the second album that Pearson has recorded in his long career, following 2001’s One More Drink, also on Blue Witch. This one eschews the horn-driven approach of its predecessor, instead providing the singer with the basic backing unit of the Rhythm Room All-Stars, with producer Bob Corritore on harmonica, Chris James and Johnny Rapp on guitars, Patrick Rynn on the bass, and Brian Fahey on the drums, plus a host of guests. One of the guitarists launches the opening Too Many Drivers with a Robert Lockwood riff before the song settles into a broomdusting groove with Pearson’s raw vocal summoning the sound of Elmore James. Pearson also proves his command of the genre’s vernacular with more of a West Coast bend on Tin Pan Alley, Natural Ball, and The Highway Is Like A Woman, which like Pearson’s own Big Leg Woman, boasts appearances by Ike Turner on guitar and Joey DeFrancesco on organ. Johnny Dyer sits in to spell Corritore on harp for an uptempo Worried About My Baby, while the title track and Possum Up A Tree evoke the slow grinds of 1950’s Chicago andMy Baby Is A Jockey again brings Elmore James to mind.

Cousin Clark joins in to supply the guitar work and trade vocals with Pearson on the shuffling Pete & W.C.’s Blues Medley and the closing Texas Blues Memories, where the two men swap reminiscences of yesteryear as Larry Reed’s sax and J.D. Duncan’s organ provide the music commentary – a fitting end to a highly rewarding set from one of the music’s unsung masters.

– By Jim DeKoster


Southland Blues (February 2007)

Blues shouters have been around for a long time. They’ve brought the message of the church to popular music and made a significant impact on the development of rock & roll. With emotions flying, they’re in a position to make an argument succeed or to place a tall tale in the history books. Big Pete Pearson shouts the blues with a comfortable swing, but he also takes a slower interpretation to heart. Backed by the soulful harmonica of Bob Corritore, Pearson sings ’em convincingly. His big voice and headstrong enthusiasm make original songs seem like kissin’ cousins. He’s right at home with the blues.

Guest artists give Pearson a colorful palette from which to sing. He uses nearly two dozen sidemen in different combinations. Johnny Dyer lends his blues harp to “Worried About My Baby’ with a comfortable boogie swing that sends chills up and down your spine. Veteran guitarist Ike Turner joins organist Joey DeFrancesco, pianist Leon Blue and drummer Richard Innes to back Pearson’s interpretations of “The Highway Is Like A Woman” and “Big Leg Woman.” Guitarist Kid Ramos lends a hand on “Natural Ball” and “Possum Up A Tree,” giving both an authentic blues background for the singer’s genuine approach to the blues. Pearson sings two duet tracks with his cousin W.C. Clark, delivering blues memories from their Texas neighborhood. Throughout the album, Corritore’s soulful harp and Pearson’s big voice bring genuine blues warmth to the scene, all the from Phoenix, where Pearson is known as Arizona’s King of the Blues.

– Jim Santella


Blues Source (February 2007)

Big Pete Pearson may not be a household blues name, but he has been around for 50 years, that’s right 50, playing the blues. His new CD “I’m Here Baby” is living proof that he has the stuff. Having previously sat in with everyone that is someone, like T-bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, B.B. King, Jimmy Reed, Bobby Blue Bland, John Lee Hooker, and even Muddy he has the backbone to stand on his own and sound great. Check out the talented folks he has invited to play on this newest cut. W.C. Clark, who happens to be his cousin, Ike Turner, and Kid Ramos on guitar, Johnny Dyer on harp, and Joey De Francesco on Hammond B-3 organ. I mean, come on now. Pete has been playing since he snuck off to a beer joint at 9 years old, in Austin, Texas. His Grandparents thought he was playing guitar, and singing in a local church. Well, somehow, he managed to live through that, and has been playing ever since. Being based in Phoenix, Arizona he won “Blues Performer of The Year” in Phoenix in 2001. What a huge voice. They call him a “Blues Shouter.” He doesn’t have to shout, he’s got some power here, and it is a really good CD. I mean just excellent blues. Guitar, organ, harp, vocals, it is the old stuff we yearn for. A fine recording as well. My favorite cuts are “I’m Here Baby,” the cut the CD is named after, “Big Leg Woman”, of course, and the last cut “Texas Blues Memories,” where he reminisces about the old days. I really like this one. In fact it is my favorite, and has some fine saxophone on it too. Oh yea, there’s a fat slide piece called “Possum Up a Tree,” that will feed your slide need. It’s great! I hope he comes to Knoxville sometime. Or at least the area so we can go see him. If not, you’ll just have to pick up the CD for yourself. It is on Blue Witch Records. Check out . It should be released now, so check out the music stores as well. You will play it more than once. Thanks Big Pete. You helped me out.

Your friend………Blue Barry


Living Blues (February 2007)

Born in Jamaica in 1936, Big Pete Pearson relocated to Texas with his parents while still a youth. As L.P. Pearson, he began his musical career in Austin’s East Side jukes playing bass with such luminaries as Blues Boy Hubbard and T.D. Bell and helping his younger cousin W.C. Clark get started in the music business. After playing a few gigs in Phoenix in the late ’50s, Pearson moved there a few years later, eventually becoming the patriarch of that city’s blues scene.

Perhaps due to his location off the beaten blues path, this is but the second album that Pearson has recorded in his long career, following 2001’s One More Drink, also on Blue Witch. This one eschews the horn-driven approach of its predecessor, instead providing the singer with the basic backing unit of the Rhythm Room All-Stars, with producer Bob Corritore on harmonica, Chris James and Johnny Rapp on guitars, Patrick Rynn on the bass, and Brian Fahey on the drums, plus a host of guests. One of the guitarists launches the opening Too Many Drivers with a Robert Lockwood riff before the song settles into a broomdusting groove with Pearson’s raw vocal summoning the sound of Elmore James. Pearson also proves his command of the genre’s vernacular with more of a West Coast bend on Tin Pan Alley, Natural Ball, and The Highway Is Like A Woman, which like Pearson’s own Big Leg Woman, boasts appearances by Ike Turner on guitar and Joey DeFrancesco on organ. Johnny Dyer sits in to spell Corritore on harp for an uptempo Worried About My Baby, while the title track and Possum Up A Tree evoke the slow grinds of 1950’s Chicago and My Baby Is A Jockey again brings Elmore James to mind.

Cousin Clark joins in to supply the guitar work and trade vocals with Pearson on the shuffling Pete & W.C.’s Blues Medley and the closing Texas Blues Memories, where the two men swap reminiscences of yesteryear as Larry Reed’s sax and J.D. Duncan’s organ provide the music commentary – a fitting end to a highly rewarding set from one of the music’s unsung masters.

– Jim DeKoster


The Scene (Houston Area Monthly) (February 2007)

I’M HERE BABY: Big Pete Pearson, Blue Witch Records, February 13, 2007. Total time: 53′ 09″. This national release has 12 tracks of traditional blues, all winners. Six are Pearson’s well-crafted, old school originals. An array of special guests include Pearson’s cousin, Alligator recording artist W.C. Clark (vocals/guitar) of Austin, and blues luminaries Ike Turner (guitar,) Kid Ramos (guitar,) Joey DeFrancesco (Hammond B3 organ) and Johnny Dyer (harmonica.) Pearson is a blues belter extraordinaire. He uses his huge, gravel and honey voice like a finely tuned instrument, wringing out the raw emotion in every song. This recording is a juke joint performance at its best. You can almost smell the perfumed sweat, smoke and beer. Pearson grabbed my attention on the opening cut with his gutsy delivery of “Too Many Drivers,” a double entendre classic. Next, he nailed a bleed-it-out rendition of “Tin Pan Alley,” done in the style of the great 50s/60s blues recordings. The title track, a Pearson original, is a first-rate, timeless slow blues tune. “Big Legged Woman” is a medium-tempo Pearson original with a dandy, get-down rhythm. On that tune, Ike Turner contributes a guitar solo worthy of his super-star days. Both the song and Pearson’s delivery of his original, “My Baby Is A Jockey,” would have made Big Joe Turner grin. If you aren’t already a blues lover, this album will convert you. Highest recommendation.

– Jim Shortt


Blues In Britain (February 2007)

Phoenix, Arizona based blues shouter, Big Pete Pearson, has been thrilling blues audiences in his hometown, and Europe, for over 50 years – his powerhouse vocals (which Living Blues described as “hefty as Big Joe Turner’s”) and dynamic personality and stage presence belying the fact that this is only his second release – a fact that could almost be described as criminal negligence.

Despite, or maybe in spite of his lack of recording opportunities, Pearson literally grabs this opportunity by the throat to turn out a wonderful set of tough urban blues that covers a multitude of blues bases from Texas to Chicago laced with R&B and soul.

Pearson’s status, amongst his fellow artists, can be gauged by the all-star cast that accompanies him on this set. The basic band is The Rhythm Room All-Stars featuring Bob Corritore (harp), Chris James and Johnny Rapp (guitars) with Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey in the engine room. These are supported by a plethora of artists including Ike Turner, W.C. Clark, Kid Ramos, Johnny Dyer, Chico Chism, Richard Innes, Joey DeFrancesco, Tom Mahon – the list just goes on.

With a line-up like that you would expect nothing less than the best – and that’s exactly what you get.

The opening track, “Too Many Drivers”, transports you back to 50’s Chicago – the raw power of Pearson’s whiskey soaked vocals allied to Corritore’s wailing harp and Matt Bishop’s stomping piano, conjuring up the vision of a night at Pepper’s. “Tin Pan Alley”, with it’s shimmering Little Walter styled harp, beautifully understated guitar and deep rolling piano (Clay Swafford) finds Pearson “oh-so-blue” vocals mining a deep blues vein – whilst his own “The Way I See It” is a funky shuffle permeated with shades of Lowell Fulson.

Ike Turner adds wild and quirky guitar to “Big Leg Woman”, the addition of Leon Blue’s rolling piano and Corritore’s moody harp to the brooding intensity of Pearson’s vocals giving the number a strong Wolf feel. Johnny Dyer’s tough harp and Pearson’s booming vocals give “Worried About My Baby” a deep Muddy feel – whilst the muscular anguish of Pearson’s vocals underpinned by Kid Ramos’s paint-stripping slide, Chism’s trashcan drumming and Corritore’s Sammy Myers influenced harp lend “Possum Up A Tree” a wild Elmore James feel.

The impassioned, Buddy Guy inspired “My Baby Is A Jockey” and the brooding title track with it’s Big Walter styled harp and Spannesque piano are further highlights of a set that can only come highly recommended.

Rating 10

– By Mick Rainsford


Crossroads Magazine (France) (January 2007)

Tel un ogre, cet immense bonhomme fait mugir son chant puissant et doux à la fois, depuis un sacré paquet d’années, peut-être même depuis toujours ! Big Pete Pearson, basé à Phoenix (Arizona), originaire d’Austin (TX), possède aussi une stature de géant, une certaine force rassurante, et des certitudes, de celles de ceux qui savent ce qu’est le blues, parce qu’ils le vivent depuis si longtemps. Ce monsieur, qui s’est nourri de gospel dans sa jeunesse, a travaillé, entre autres, avec T-Bone Walker, BB King, Muddy Waters et John Lee Hooker, et vient de fêter ses 70 ans avec un nouvel album, ‘I’m Here Baby’, d’une facture vraiment très impressionnante. Cet opus est un joyau au cœur duquel la musique bat au rythme des différentes sessions enregistrées depuis une bonne année, un peu partout certainement. C’est décoré du plus pur Chicago Blues, enrobé de la voix d’un véritable Blues Shouter, décliné sur une douzaine de pièces du répertoire de Pearson, aussi compositeur, et accompagné avec une maestria d’excellents musiciens regroupés au sein des Rhythm Room All Stars. Cette formation assure habituellement les heures chaudes d’un club de Phoenix nommé justement ‘Rhythm Room’ (avec le précieux guitariste Chris James), et dont le gérant est l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore, un maître du genre qui dirige aussi le groupe dans les tournées de Big Pete. Last but not least, le chanteur, déjà superbement servi, s’entoure aussi de vénérés, fabuleux et parfois légendaires amis, et non des moindres. Ike Turner (guitare folle sur un rugissant ‘Big Leg Woman’) ; WC Clark, en grand échange de souvenirs avec son cousin Pete Pearson (‘Texas Blues Memories’), au chant et à la guitare ; le chicano californien musclé et tatoué Kid Ramos, divin et sobre guitariste (la pépite ‘Natural Ball’) ; Johnny Dyer à l’harmonica, le grand et distingué Leon Blue au piano ; un autre pianiste, habitué des sessions, Tom Mahon ; Richard Innes, savoureux batteur, et une poignée d’autres, tous aussi bons les uns comme les autres, une véritable écurie de pur sangs. Big Pete Pearson survole l’ensemble avec une jouissance manifeste, dominant de sa superbe voix, les pièces intenses d’un album parfaitement réussi. Inouï ! Ce disque est inouï, la claque, une pépite d’émotion musicale, une très grande réussite technique, une belle oeuvre ancrée dans la tradition restée vivante du blues. Magique ! On avait déjà dégusté les Rhythm Room All Stars et Big Pete Pearson lors de leur venue l’an passé au Bay Car Blues festival près de Dunkerque, et l’on annonce une tournée européenne qui passera par la France l’été prochain. Et c’et tant pieux car ce type est à (re)découvrir d’urgence.

– Francis Rateau


Radio Baker Street (France) (January 2007)

Il Etait Temps ! ! !

Un beau matin d’octobre 1936, le soleil Jamaïcain allait nous offrir Une Voix taillée pour chanter le Blues.

Quelques années plus tard, cette Voix atterrit à Phœnix Arizona après une courte halte à Austin Texas.

La Voix sera élevée par un grand-père ministre du culte et une grand mère qui lui apprendra à utiliser à bon escient ce don du ciel.

La Voix porte un nom “ PETE PEARSON”.

70 ans plus tard, Pearson s’offre son premier voyage en Europe, et c’est en France que nous avons la chance de le découvrir en exclusivité, accompagné par le Rhythm Room All Stars de Bob Corritore au BAY CAR BLUES FEST de Grande Synthe (59). [En passant merci JR et BayCar pour cette énorme découverte !] Voilà pour la petite histoire.

Passons au menu de cette magistrale galette digne des Rois et habillée de 10 titres : I’M HERE BABY.

Au premier coup d’œil on sait à quoi s’attendre : La jaquette nous propose une flopée d’invités, à se demander comment ont ils bien pu tous répondre présent ! ! !

A tout seigneur tout honneur, le Cousin de Pearson, WC CLARK, auteur de plusieurs fameux albums Soul & Rhythm & Blues vient même interpréter deux duos qui devraient ravir les amateurs de double voix.

La suite des invités relève du festival de Cannes un jour de remise de palme, tant le tapis rouge brille de ses dorures ! Ike Turner, Kid Ramos, Johhny Dyer, Leon Blue, Matt Bishop, Richard Innes … sans oublier le Rhythm Room All Stars de Bob Corritore, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Johnny Rapp et Joey DeFranceso.

Comme on dit chez moi : La Vâââche ! ! ! ! Difficile de passer à coté du résultat avec un tel déballage de talents ! Album composé de pur Chicago Blues puissant énergique et sans répit.

Un must à commander auprès de Bob Corritore ou sur le site web de La Voix ! Quand vous l’aurez, vous ne pourrez plus vous en passer …

L’album devrait sortir très prochainement en France, le label n’est pour l’instant pas connu.

To Be Continued ? Ho Yeah !

– Delta Man


Docteur Blues (France)

Big Pete Pearson and the Rhythm Room All Stars – I’m Here Baby

Big Pete Pearson est un chanteur au gabarit imposant et au CV impressionnant. C’est un authentique bluesman qui dégage une sorte de force tranquille, c’est avant tout une voix exceptionnelle formée à l’école du gospel, une voix de velour, à la fois caressante et puissante, parfaitement maîtrisée. Un véritable diamant encore trop méconnu en Europe qui a débuté sa carrière à Austin, Texas où il a accompagné (à la basse) les plus grands de T-Bone Walker à Clarence Gatemouth Brown avant de s’installer à Phoenix, Arizona dans les années 60 où il est actuellement considéré comme le «Arizona King of the Blues».

Il fit sa première apparition en Europe en juillet 2005 à l’âge de 69 ans, comme quoi, il n’est jamais trop tard pour bien faire. Il joua alors au festival mémorial Marco Fiume blues passion où il fut particulièrement remarqué, accompagné par le Rhythm Room All Stars. Ce groupe est en fait le house band du fameux club de Phoenix Arizona le rhythm room dont le propriétaire n’est autre que Bob Corritore.

Ce rhythm room all stars comprend outre Big Pete Pearson au chant, Bob Corritore à l’harmonica, Chris James et Johnny Rapp aux guitares, Matt Bishop au piano, Patrick Rynn ou Chris Thomas à la basse et Brian Fahey (ex William Clarke et Paladins) à la batterie.

Le public Français a découvert ce groupe au printemps 2006 à l’occasion du Bay Car dont il fut l’une des têtes d’affiche et la principale révélation. La voix, le charisme et l’enthousiasme de Big Pete Pearson ont fait l’unanimité parmi le public nordiste qui l’a bruyamment ovationné.

Ce CD a été enregistré en plusieurs sessions (la jaquette ne donne pas le détail mais on peut supposer qu’il y en a au moins quatre) dont une à l’eté 2005, au retour de Rossano (Italie). On y retrouve quelques «classiques» du répertoire de Big Pete comme le titre à la fois salace et plein d’humour «My Baby is a Jockey».

Pour ce CD au style résolument Chicago blues, Big Pete Pearson a convié quelques amis, Ike Turner (à la guitare sur deux titres), Kid Ramos, Leon Blue, Richard Innes, Johnny Dyer, Chico Chism. Et puis, cerise sur le gâteau : ce CD comprend deux duos avec WC Clarke qui n’est autre que le cousin de Big Pete. Tous ces invités apportent leur pierre à l’édifice sans se montrer envahissant. L’ensemble reste vraiment homogène et ce CD est une belle réussite. La production signée Bob Corritore est parfaite.

Je me demande encore comment à l’époque d’internet et de la sur-information, un tel bluesman a pu resté aussi longtemps méconnu en Europe ? C’est un véritable mystère.

Amateurs de Chicago blues traditionnel et de voix exceptionnelles, ce CD est pour vous.

– Jocelyn Richez


ABS Magazine (France)

Malgré l’un ou l’autre de ses passages récents dans nos contrées, Big Pete Pearson est encore peu connu en Europe. Ce chanteur vétéran jouit pourtant du titre de “Arizona’s King of the Blues”. Imposant tant par la puissance de son chant que par sa stature, Big Pete Pearson n’est autre que le cousin aîné de W.C. Clark dont il peut en plus se targuer d’être l’une des influences majeures. Bien que né en Jamaïque, c’est au Texas qu’il grandit avant de s’installer à Phoenix fin des années 50. Il a, depuis, joué avec un grand nombre de musiciens et est devenu, par la force des choses, la coqueluche de la scène de Phoenix et en particulier du club le Rhythm Room, club de l’harmoniciste-producteur Bob Corritore. Le CD dont il est ici question a été enregistré avec des formations diverses et variées, reprenant une flopée d’invités de marque: Ike Turner, Johnny Dyer, Chico Chism, Leon Blue, W.C. Clark, sans oublier Kid Ramos, Richard Innes et la formation maison des Rhythm Room All-Stars avec Chris James et Johnny Rapp aux guitares, Bob Corritore à l’harmonica, Patrick Rynn à la basse, Matt Bishop au piano et Brian Fahey aux drums… Avec un tel personnel il n’est pas suprenant que le résultat soit convaincant. Les quelques standards (Too Many Drivers, Possum Up A Tree, Big Leg Woman,…) sont dans une veine Chicago blues standard, la plage titulaire plus down home, alors que c’est le Texas qui est présent sur Pete and W.C.’s Blues Medley où il dialogue avec son cousin W.C. Clark, le godfather of Austin blues. “I’m Here Baby” est le deuxième album réalisé en collaboration avec Bob Corritore; c’est une réussite, ils peuvent continuer…

– Jean-Pierre Urbain

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