Henry Gray & Bob Corritore – Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest

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Washington Blues Society Bluesletter
World Of Harmonica (UK)


B-Man’s Blues Report! (May 2015)
I just received the newest release, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest from Henry Gray and Bob Corritore. Featuring 10 previously unreleased out of 14 included tracks, this release features not only Gray and Corritore, but many other of the greats in recent blues history. Opening with Let’s Get High, a great piano shuffle with Gray on lead vocal backed by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on backing vocal and drums and Corritore on harp, this is a great opener. Gray’s vocals on Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest are a stark contrast to Clapton but this is real and Gray’s piano with Corritore on shielded harp, Bob Margolin and Johnny Rapp on guitar and Chico Chism on drums, this sounds a lot like Muddy’s band. New Orleans flavored boogie, I’m In Love Again features a cool harp riff by Corritore and hot guitar riffs by Rapp. Robert Jr Lockwood is featured on vocal and guitar on Robert Johnson’s Ramblin’ On My Mind, one of my favorite tracks on the release. Big Maceo’s Worried Life Blues, feature Nappy Brown on lead vocal but Gray’s piano work is solid and unmistakable. Gray is in top form on vocal onThey Raided The Joint, joined by Kid Ramos on guitar, Corritore on harp, Paul Thomas on bass and Chism on drums. Very cool! Dave Riley takes the lead vocal spot on Ride With Your Daddy Tonight joined by Chris James on guitar, Yahni Yiley on bass and Eddie Kobek on drums. Corritore and Gray both do really nice jobs on this track making it one of the strongest instrumental tracks on the release. Lowell Fulsom’sTrouble Blues, has a great feel with Rapp laying down some real nice slide over Gray’s killer piano and vocal work. Excellent! Shuffle track, I’m Gonna Miss You, keeps Gray up front on piano and vocal. With extended harp work from Corritore, Steve Cushing on drum and, Paul Thomas on bass this track, Rapp steps up again with some pretty cool riffs on guitar. John Brim’s That Ain’t Right features Brim himself on the mic backed by Troy Sandow on bass and Big John Atkinson on drums. Corritore keeps up the heat but this track really shows how nicely Gray can hit the groove on piano. Ernest Lawler’s Can’t Afford To Do It has Gray back on lead vocal backed by Little Frank, Danny Michael and Big John on guitar, Sandow on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. One of the hottest tracks on the release is Boogie Woogie Ball, really giving Gray the open door to rock it and he really does. Corritore has strong continuity on harp throughout the track, Kirk Fletcher it tight on the beat with hot riffs backed by Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Very cool! On laid back Honey Don’t Let Me Go, Gray has the full focus with lead vocal and piano. Backed by Rapp on guitar, Thomas on bass and Cushing on drums, Corritore steps in for a nice harp solo balancing out the track nicely. Wrapping the release is BB King’s She Don’t Move Me No More featuring Gray on beautiful piano and lead vocal. I especially like Corritore’s riffs on this track as well as Rapp’s tight guitar solos. Paul Thomas on bass and Chico Chism on drums round out the line up.

 


Midwest Record (June 12, 2015)

First the tote board: Howlin’ Wolf’s piano player and the harp ace have been recording together for 19 years; most of these tracks are previously unreleased tracks from the vault; Gray recently turned 90; the guests herein can’t be overlooked. The question must be posed: how can out takes be such motherfuckers and feel like a cohesive album? This is a solid set of post war, industrial blues that’s as close to the real time, real thing as we can ever come again. Simply put, if you love the blues, you have to own this set and play it often.


Reflections In Blue (June 2015)
Henry Gray, at age 90, is still going strong and still one of the finest piano players and vocalists in the world of Blues today.  The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions were culled from sessions recorded from 1996 to 2015 with some of the greatest performers of all time including Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Chico Chism, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Dave Riley, Bob Stroger, Kirk Fletcher, Big Jon Atkinson, Doug James, Chris James, Patrick Rynn and more. One point I found of particular interest is that all but four of the disc’s fourteen tracks are previously unissued. All cuts feature Gray and Corritore along with an array of other phenomenal performers. The resulting recording is 100% Blues, no hybrid experimentation, no showboating or high-tech gimmicks…just blues performers of the highest caliber doing what they most love. This is blues from the deepest realms of the heart, played from deep wells of personal experience and delivered with power, authority and passion. Gray, who has been playing for 70 years or more spent twelve years, beginning in 1956 with the legendary Howlin’ Wolf. Over the years he has performed with anyone and possibly everyone of note including, among others, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Morris Pejoe and Little Walter.  While you may not be familiar with his name, you are most definitely familiar with his work if you have been listening to blues for any length of time.  If old-time, traditional blues is the thing that makes your world seem a better place, there is no better place to find it fresh and previously unissued than the Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions on Delta Groove Records. This is a traditional blues lover’s dream come true. I recommend it highly and will most likely be purchasing several copies to give as gifts. There can be no higher recommendation than that. This is good stuff and would make a great addition to any blues lover’s collection.
— Bill Wilson

Blues X Blues (June 13, 2015)

Si buscas algo diferente, si lo tuyo es buscar alternativas en el blues y disfrutar de músicos que abran nuevos caminos dentro de este estilo, este no es tu disco. Eso sí, es un disco atemporal, que lo mismo podría haber sido realizado en los años 40-50, y eso es decir mucho y bueno cuando hablamos de blues estilo Chicago. El pianista Henry Gray (1925) de 90 añazos, llegó a grabar para Chess y formar parte de la banda de Howlin’ Wolf, firma un disco con el armonicista de moda Bob Corritore, colaborador habitual en sus grabaciones desde finales de los 90. Es un disco con fuerza, estilo y clase. El piano de Gray suena como si lo tocara un chaval de 20 años y el sonido de armónica de Bob es un calco de los tiempo de gloria de Little Walter o Walter Horton. Se trata del primer volumen de unas sesiones en las que participa ambos músico -Gray canta 9 temas- y colaboran con otros monstruos consagrados como John Brim, Willie Smith, Robert Lookwood Jr., Tail Dragger…Es una delicia, grabado del tirón, en directo prácticamente, sin artificios, como en un garito de Chicago. Un disco que te puedes llevar con seguridad en tu ipod estas vacaciones, y a esperar las siguientes entregas.


World Of Harmonica (UK) (June 14, 2015)

It’s Official an all time great blues album up there with the likes of Harp Attack, and Hoodoo Man Blues, to name a couple. So grab your harmonica’s, plug in ya amp and have a mightily good time with this one… And bet ya struggle to get past track 1 which was set to replay over and over again… Wicked Album!!! Thanks Bob Corritore

-Shaun Luke


Keys And Chords (Netherlands) (June 15, 2015)

Henry Gray zag op 19 januari 1925 het levenslicht aan de buitenrand van New Orleans en wanneer zijn ouders enkele jaren later verhuizen naar Alsen op een boogscheut van Baton Rouge begon zijn talent als pianist op de voorgrond te treden. Hij werd ontdekt door een zekere Mrs. White die hem ook pianolessen begon te geven en wanneer hij in de plaatselijke kerk begon te spelen was dit ook het sein voor zijn ouders om een piano in huis te halen.

Op zijn zestiende begon hij in plaatselijke bands te spelen en dit was de start van een opmerkelijke carrière van meer dan zestig jaar. Na het beëindigen van zijn militaire dienst verhuisde hij na WOII richting Chicago waar hij in 1956 werd aangesproken door Howlin’ Wolf om deel uit te maken van diens band. Wat volgde was een indrukwekkende lijst van blues broodheren waarbij hij speelde. In 1968 verliet hij Howlin’ Wolf en keerde terug richting Alsen, vond er werk in een school tot aan zijn pensioen maar bleef al die jaren wel trouw aan de blues door deelname aan verschillende festivals zoals het Chicago Blues Fest, The Montreal Jazz Fest, het Baton Rouge Blues Festival en vele anderen. In 1998 ontving hij nog een Grammy nominatie voor zijn Tribute aan Howlin’ Wolf.

Bob Corritore werd in een ander tijdperk geboren dan Henry Gray en werd als ‘Chicago native’ op 12-jarige leeftijd helemaal bevangen door de blues van Muddy Waters. Hij begon zich te verdiepen in de bluesharp en liet zich nadien inspireren door mensen als Carey Bell, Big Walter Horton en Junior Wells. Later in de negentiger jaren opende hij zijn eigen club in Phoenix, AZ en noemde ze ‘The Rhythm Room’. Het oprichten van zijn eigen huisorkest The Rhyhtm Room All Stars was enkel het logische gevolg en met diezelfde band wist Bob Corritore verschillende van zijn collega’s te begeleiden. Hij werd in 1997 opgenomen in de Arizona Blues Hall of Fame.

In 1996 leerde hij ook Henry Gray beter kennen en sindsdien vond er een regelmatige samenwerking plaats tussen deze 2 virtuozen. Dit eerste deel van deze Henry Gray-Bob Corritore Sessions is een verzameling als gevolg van een samenwerking van 19 jaar en is een selectie van 14 prachtige bluessongs waaraan een keur van prachtige bluesperformers hun samenwerking verleenden. Onder hen Robert Lockwood Jr., Nappy Brown, Dave Riley, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Doug James, Brian Fahey en nog zo vele anderen.

Een collectie die verrassendebluesnummers laat horen met als opener ‘Let’s Get High’ maar ook klassiekers als Robert Johnson ‘Ramblin’ On My Mind’ bevat. Blues zonder franjes als in ‘I’m In Love Again’ of Lowell Fulson’s‘Trouble Blues’ maar ook opzwepende boogie woogie met het ‘Boogiewoogie Ball’. Dus zonder meer een prachtverzameling om in huis te halen en zo je verzameling bluesalbums met een pareltje aan te dikken.

– Freddy Vandervelpen (4½)


Sound Guardian (Croatia) (June 16, 2015)

Steven Dixon, radijski promotor za Delta Groove Productions, odnosno, Delta Groove Music, svaki me put na neki način iznenadi i priredi ekskluzivno iznenađenje, kako za naš glazbeni portal i njegov Blues Corner, tako i za radijsku emisiju Blues za vas. Sad je to učinio albumom “Vol.1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest – The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions”, kojeg upravo danas objavljuje Delta Groove Music. Izuzetna je to kolekcija od 14 pjesama snimljenih u razdoblju od 1996. do 2015.

Henry Gray legendarni je majstor crno-bijelih tipki, koji je 19. siječnja ove godine napunio 90 godina života. Shodno tome, ovaj album je dokument jednog velikog rođendana. Na sceni je više od sedamdeset godina, svirao je doista s mnogima, a među njima su Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, ali i The Rolling Stones. Sudjelovao je na više od 50 albuma, na kojima je itekako izvorno i izvrsno prezentirao svoj unikatni zvuk Chicago blues klavira. Mnoge od tih ploča možete naći u katalagu Chess Records. No, da se mi vratimo ovom albumu, kao trajnom dokumentu o Grayju i njegovom bluesu. U tom obilježavanju svoju ulogu uzeli su i posebni gosti poput Roberta Lockwooda Jr., Johna Brima, Willieja “Big Eyes” Smitha, Nappyja Browna, Taila Draggera, Davea Rileyja, Boba Margolina, Kid Ramosa, Big Jona Atkinsona, Boba Strogera, Douga Jamesa, Chrisa Jamesa, Patricka Rynna i mnogih drugih. Sve to upućuje na doista odličan album opijen i popunjen tradicionalnim bluesom, kakvog samo možete poželjeti. Treba istaknuti da je ovaj album objavljen uz donacije, pa su ova glazbena druženja i suradnje između legende klavirskog bluesa i višestruko nagrađivanog harpista Boba Corritorea rijetka prigoda da slušateljstvo i kritika čuju doista raritetne tonske zapise. Ukoliko netko želi donorati bilo koji novčani iznos može to učiniti na: Southwest Musical Arts P.O. Box 3310 Scottsdale, AZ 85271.

Što se tiče Boba Corritorea, njega smatraju jednim od najboljih tradicionalnih blues svirača usnjaka na svjetskoj blues sceni. Vlasnik je studija Rhythm Room, vodi i uređuje radijsku emisiju “Those Lowdown Blues” na KJZZ, osnivač je Southwest Musical Arts Foundation, urednik i pisac Bob Corritore Blues Newsletter, službeni indosant Hohner harmonika, dobitnik Keeping The Blues Alive nagrade, nominiran za nagradu Grammy kao harpist i producent, počasni član Collectif Des Radio Blues, a i veliki obožavatelj i aktivni sudionik u svakom segmentu blues glazbe. Njegov album “Bob Corritore & Friends / Harmonica Blues” osvojio 2011. Blues Music Award, a već 2012. Bob dobiva nagradu Living Blues u kategoriji usne harmonike.

Već iz popisa gostiju vidi se da se ovaj album ne odnosi samo na sessione Grayja i Corritorea, već se jasno vidi kuda su stvari otišle. Ta širina očarava i jednostavno pokazuje tko je tko u bliskoj blues povjesnici. Nešto dublje raščlanjivati album nije doista potrebno, već treba prionuti slušanju i uživanju prateći ovih 14 doista posebnih skladbi.

PREPORUKA:
Ono što vas čeka na “Vol.1:Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” pregršt je odličnog, tradicionalnog i nevjerojatno nadahnutog bluesa, kojeg tako znalački izvode Henry Gray i Bob Corritore uz svoje pridružene prijatelje glazbenike i goste. Oni vas svojom prezentacijom odvode na mjesta na kojima ćete prvotno uživati a tek potom nakon nekoliko uzastopnih preslušavanja shvatiti da ste jednostavno postali dio albuma. Nevjerojatno, zar ne?

‘With so much watered-down blues out there today, we’re fortunate that real bluesman like Henry Gray are still out there performing and setting musical standards.’ – Blues Access

‘Bob’s playing is to the point, understated and never flashy – he functions as part of the ensemble and only steps into the spotlight when relevant snd necessary.’ – Blues & Rhythm

– Mladen Loncar


Don And Sheryl’s Blues Blog (June 17, 2015)

Pianist Henry Gray may be best-known for his work with Howlin’ Wolf from 1956-1968. After that, he backed the likes of Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, and Little Walter, among many others. He has been working with Arizona-based harp man Bob Corritore since 1996, and, over those nineteen years, comprising some twelve recording sessions, they have a virtual treasure trove of recordings from which to draw. One of those sessions occurred on January 25, 2015, Henry’s 90th birthday. Just released on the Delta Groove label is “Vol. 1–Blues Won’t Let me Take My Rest,” featuring fourteen cuts, all but four previously unissued.

Henry takes the vocal on ten cuts, and a literal “who’s who” in contemporary blues guest star and round out the set. Throughout, Henry and Bob let their immense talents drive this music, each seemingly knowing where the other is going without missing a beat.

The party starts with Willie Smith on drums and backing vocals as Henry and Bob urge everyone to “Let’s Get High,” while Nappy Brown adds his suave style on “Trouble Blues.” Henry rocks the boogie on “They Raided That Joint,” and both these cuts feature the mighty Kid Ramos on guitar.

Bob’s usual duet partner, Dave Riley, adds vocals on “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight,” while John Brim adds guitar and vocals on “That Ain’t Right.” Robert “Jr.” Lockwood takes the vocal turn on the Robert Johnson classic, “Ramblin’ On My Mind.”

Picking favorites was nearly impossible, but two cuts stood out for us. Henry has the vocal on a sweet read of “Can’t Afford To Do It,” with guitar from Big Jon Atkinson. And, the ol’ Tail Dragger himself name-checks all the backing players from Henry on down in the raucous party anthem, “Boogie Woogie Ball.”

Henry Gray and Bob Corritore are national treasures, and their music is respected by everyone in the blues community. Hopefully, we won’t have long to wait before volume two of “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest!”

Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.


Rootstime.be (Belgium) (June 20, 2015)

“At the core of these songs are the ‘Gray & Corritore team’,
who effectively demonstrate their robust musical prowess and understated taste”

Henry Gray (°1925, Kenner, Louisiana) is een Afro Amerikaans Chicago blues pianist en zanger. Gray groeide op in Alsen, LA, ten Noorden van Baton Rouge. Op zijn achtste volgde hij bij buurvrouw Mrs. White piano lessen. Enkele jaren later, speelde hij in de plaatselijke kerk piano en orgel. Gray speelde blues vooral bij Mrs. White, omdat hij thuis hiervoor weinig gehoor kreeg. Op zijn zestiende trad hij al op in een club in Alsen. Omdat zijn vader zag dat zijn optredens geld opbrachten, steunde hij zijn zoon. In 1943 ging Gray bij het leger. Gedurende WO II was hij aan het front. Daar trad hij regelmatig op voor de soldaten. Voor het einde van WO II keert hij terug naar Alsen, om wat later te verhuizen naar Chicago.

In Chicago (1946-1968) hing hij vooral rond in jazz en blues clubs. Daar trok hij de aandacht van Big Maceo Merriweather. Merriweather was in Chicago een belangrijk jazz en blues pianist. Ze werden bevriend en via Merriweather geraakte Gray in contact met belangrijke bands en club eigenaars. Hij kon zo samen werken met het “Little Hudson’s Red Devil Trio” (van Hudson Showers) en gitarist Morris Pejoe, voor hij als sessie muzikant ging werken met Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Billy Boy Arnold, Pejoe e.a. Zijn eerste opname sessie deed hij in 1952 met Jimmy Rogers. Gray werkte occasioneel samen met “Little” Walter, die Gray de bijnaam “Bird Breast” gaf.

In 1956 wordt Gray lid van de band van “Howlin’ Wolf”, waar hij twaalf jaren zijn eerste pianist is. In deze periode werkt hij ook als sessie muzikant en neemt hij op voor ‘Chess Records’. Hij deed opnamen samen met Abb Lock, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Homesick James, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Hubert Sumlin, Lazy Lester, Little Walter Jacobs, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Little Milton Campbell, Jimmy Rogers, Jimmy Reed, Koko Taylor e.a. In 1963 speelde Gray, de nacht dat James stierf aan een hartaanval, met Elmore James.
In 1968 stapt Gray uit de band om terug te gaan naar Alsen, na de dood van zijn vader, om zijn moeder te helpen in de viszaak van zijn familie. Gray werd een belangrijk muzikant in de Louisiana music scene, gekend voor zijn “swamp blues” stijl.

In de voorbije dertig jaren trad Gray op tijdens alle grote Amerikaanse festivals. Om er (willekeurig) enkele te noemen: ‘New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’, ‘Chicago Blues Festival’, ‘Montreal Jazz Festival’, ‘Baton Rouge Blues Festival’, ‘Memphis’ W.C. Handy Blues Festival’, ‘King Biscuit Blues Festival’…Gray tourde in Europa en is te horen op Europese releases. In 1988 bracht ‘Blind Pig Records’ hier zijn eerste LP “Lucky Man”. In 1990 brengt Gray bij het ‘Wolf Records’ label “Louisiana Swamp Blues” uit. In 1998 ontvangt hij een Grammy Award voor zijn album “A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf’. In hetzelfde jaar treedt hij op in Parijs tijdens het concert ter gelegenheid van de vijftigste verjaardag van Mick Jagger. In 1999 tourt Gray in Europa met Marva Wright. In 2001 neemt hij “Watch Yourself” en “Henry Gray Plays Chicago Blues” op. In 2003 volgt er een CD/DVD “Henry Gray & the Cats: Live in Paris”. Ook in 2003 is Gray te zien (samen met Ray Charles, Dr. John, Pinetop Perkins en Dave Brubeck) in Clint Eastwood’s “Blues Piano”, die deel uitmaakte van Martin Scorsese’s reeks over “The Blues”. Gray tourt nog altijd solo en met zijn band de “Henry Gray & the Cats”. De discografie van Henry Gray is goed voor meer dan achtenvijftig albums.
Bob Corritore (Chicago, °1956) is een blues mondharmonicaspeler van de ‘oude school’. Corritore is niet alleen een blues man, maar ook producer, club eigenaar, radio show gastheer, kunststichting oprichter en occasioneel ook een schrijver. Als Bob twaalf is, hoort hij voor het eerst Muddy Waters op de radio. Dit feit verandert zijn leven. Nog geen jaar later, speelt hij al mondharmonica. Als hij op het middelbare school gymnasium zit, krijgt hij de kans om naar een optreden van Muddy Waters te gaan. Als tiener was hij vaak te vinden bij grote mondharmonicaspelers als “Big” Walter Horton, “Little” Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Junior Wells, “Big” John Wrencher en Carey Bell, van wie hij vaak tips en aanmoedigingen kreeg. Bob ging naar optredens van Howlin’ Wolf, Billy “Boy” Arnold, John Brim, “Sunnyland” Slim, “Smokey” Smothers en Eddie Taylor, met wie hij vaak bevriend geraakte. Corritore werkte in de late jaren ’70 en begin jaren ’80 al samen met “Tail Dragger”, “Big Moose” Walker, Willie Buck, Louis & Dave Myers en Eddie Taylor.

In 1981 verhuist Bob naar Phoenix, Arizona. Daar speelt hij ruim een jaar lang samen met Louisiana Red, voordat Red naar Duitsland verhuist. Bob zit niet stil en werkt ook samen met “Big” Pete Pearson, Buddy Reed, Tommy Dukes, “Chief” Schabuttie Gilliame en Janiva Magness. In 1984 gaat Bob, naast zijn optredens en opnames, ook de ‘Those Lowdown Blues’, een blues radio show, op KJZZ verzorgen. [KJZZ (91.5 FM, “K Jazz”) is het vlaggenschip van de Nationale publieke omroep in Tempe, Phoenix, Arizona. Ze zenden uit vanaf de campus van het ‘Rio Salado College’, die als sinds 1985 de eigenaar is van het station. KJZZ zendt meestal jazz en blues muziek uit / nvdr]

In 1986 verhuist Chico Chism (1927-2007), ooit drummer van Howlin’ Wolf, naar Phoenix en wordt, op vraag van Bob, tot aan zijn dood zijn drummer. In 1991 opent Bob zijn bekende blues en roots concert club, “The Rhythm Room”. De club opent nieuwe perspectieven voor Bob. Hij nodigt er grote artiesten uit om samen met zijn band “The Rhythm Room All-Stars”, te komen optreden. Deze sessies zijn nu nog altijd beroemd. Als gasten ontving Bob in zijn club Bo Diddley, “Little” Milton, John Brim, Jimmy Rogers, Henry Gray, Pinetop Perkins, Henry Townsend, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, Ike Turner, Smokey Wilson. Lil’ Ed, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, R.L. Burnside, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sam Lay, Barbara Lynn en …

In 1999 brengt Bob zijn éérste album “All-Stars Blues Sessions” uit. Zijn (inter)nationale doorbraak komt er na optredens met Henry Gray, Louisiana Red en “Big” Pete Pearson. In 2007 verklaart de burgemeester van Phoenix officieel, dat 29 september de “Bob Corritore Day” wordt, om hem te eren voor al zijn muzikale bijdragen aan de Phoenix’ gemeenschap. In hetzelfde jaar ontvangt Bob ook de “Keeping The Blues Alive” Award van de ‘Blues Foundation’. Bob’s album “Travelin’ The Dirt Road”, dat hij in 2007 opnam met Dave Riley, werd genomineerd voor een ‘Blues Music Award’. In 2008 werkt Bob samen met Pinetop Perkins, die met het album een Grammy-nominatie haalt. In 2010 wint Bob met het album “Harmonica Blues” een ‘Blues Music Award’. In 2012 krijgt Bob in de categorie mondharmonica de ‘Living Blues Award en is hij de ‘Star Blues’ Artist Of The Year’. Bob treedt regelmatig op met de “Rhythm Room All-Stars” samen met Dave Riley, Louisiana Red, Henry Gray, Sam Lay, Tail Dragger, John Primer, Mud Morganfield, Diunna Greenleaf, Bob Margolin, “The Andy T/Nick Nixon Band”, “The Delta Groove Harp Blast” e.a.
In 1996 ontmoetten Gray en Corritore elkaar voor het eerst. Ze zijn samen te horen op Corritore’s “All-Star Blues Sessions” (1999), “Harmonica Blues” (2010) & “Longtime Friends In The Blues” feat. Tail Dragger (2012) en Gray’s “Plays Chicago Blues” (2001). Op Gray’s negentigste verjaardag is “The Henry Gray / Bob Corritone Sessions Vol. 1 Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” uitgebracht. Op dit eerste deel staan veertien nummers, die in de voorbije negentien jaren (1996-2015) opgenomen zijn, inclusief vier nog nooit eerder uitgebrachte nummers. De gastenlijst is lang, maar toch wil ik enkele namen noemen als Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Chico Chism (Howlin’ Wolf), Dave Riley, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Morgolan, Kid Ramos, Bob Stroger, Kirk Fletcher… Op tien van de tracks doet Gray de zang, maar ook Lockwood Jr., Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger en Riley doen op elk op één nummer de zang. De nummers zijn niet alleen originele nummers maar ook nummers van Robert Johnson, Fats Domino, Maceo Merriweather, Riley King e.a.

Enkele details over deze sessies. Er is uiteraard op iedere track piano en harmonica te horen, maar het is de rotatie in de line-up en de keuze van de nummers die het doen. Er is piano slow blues van de West Coast blues gitarist Lowell Fulson in ”Trouble Blues”, met Bob Margolin (gitaar). Er is slide blues van één van de invloedrijkste Amerikaanse blues artiesten aller tijden Robert Johnson ”Ramblin’ On My Mind”, met Robert Lockwood Jr. (zang en gitaar), met uit Phoenix Johnny Rapp (gitaar) en Mario Moreno (bas). Er is de fantastische piano boogie woogie van James Y. Jones ”Boogie Woogie Ball” met Tail Dragger (zang) en Kirk Fletcher (gitaar), ”Can’t Afford To Do It” van Ernest Lawler of ”They Raided The Joint” met Kid Ramos (gitaar), als het wat meer mag zijn. Maar er is ook R&R van Antoine “Fats” Domino in ”I’m In Love Again” met de sax van Doug James en boogie van Scott Moore in ”Ride With Your Daddy Tonight”,met Dave Riley (zang / gitaar). In de nummers van Henry Gray zelf, de titel song ”Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” (1999)en de shuffle ”I’m Gonna Miss You ” is het vooral de zang van Gray die opvalt en de piano vs. de harmonica van Corritore. In Big Maceo’s ”Worried Life Blues” horen we Nappy Brown die zingt en is Gray’s piano spel onmiskenbaar goed. ”That Ain’t Right” van (en gezongen door) John Brim is nog een mooi voorbeeld van hoe Gray vanachter de piano de groove bepaalt, terwijl Corritore de beat verzorgt. De afsluiters zijn het ontspannende ”Honey Don’t Let Me Go”, van Jimmy Reed, waarin Corritore de riffs van Gray met enkele harmonica solo’s mooi compenseert. BB King’s slow blues ”She Don’t Move Me No More” sluit af met Gray, die hier heel bewogen zingt en Johnny Rapp die onopvallend enkele strakke solo’s doet, terwijl Corritore met enkele grooves, subtiel het overzicht houdt.

Ben je een liefhebber van blues? En, special van Chicago blues? Dan is dit album van Henry Gray / Bob Corritore méér dan een “must”! Temeer, omdat Henry Gray als nog levende artiest, deel uitmaakt van het grootste gedeelte van de geschiedenis van de eerste Chicago piano blues, waarbij ook Pinetop Perkins moet vernoemd worden. Dit is opnieuw ‘Delta Groove Music’ op zijn best!

“ A rotating line-up of some of the blues’ finest musicians bring songs, that alternate between rollicking, partying jumps and shuffles, to the deepest of blues! A demonstration of their robust musical prowess & understated taste… “

– Eric Schuurmans


Historias Del Blues (Columbia) (June 26, 2015)

El intérprete de armónica Bob Corritore y el pianista Henry Gray han tenido una larga asociación que comenzó en 1996 y cuya última reunión tuvo lugar el pasado 19 de enero, cuando Gray cumplió 90 años. Esta fue la oportunidad para que la pareja sacara de los archivos una selección de los mejores temas grabados en las doce sesiones que han compartido a lo largo de estos 19 años. Este disco ofrece catorce canciones que cuentan con la participación de músicos como Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Tail Dragger, Nappy Brown y Bob Margolin entre otros, lo cual ya da pie para saber que lo que se va a escuchar de principio a fin es muy buen blues. El núcleo de estas interpretaciones lo conformarán siempre Gray y Corritore, quienes muestran una robustez sonora impresionante, producto del tiempo que han compartido en estudios de grabación y sobre los escenarios. Recordemos que Henry Gray es uno de los pianistas más solicitado, tanto por jóvenes y veteranos músicos, para acompañarlos y darles una lección de vida y de música gracias a la experiencia acumulada en más de setenta años de carrera, que comenzó al lado de Howlin’ Wolf. La experiencia no se improvisa y Bob Corritore y Henry Gray así lo demuestran.

 

Historias Del Blues (Columbia) (Best of 2015)

El intérprete de armónica Bob Corritore y el pianista Henry Gray han tenido una larga asociación que comenzó en 1996 y cuya última reunión tuvo lugar el pasado 19 de enero, cuando Gray cumplió 90 años. Esta fue la oportunidad para que la pareja sacara de los archivos una selección de los mejores temas grabados en las doce sesiones que han compartido a lo largo de estos 19 años. Este disco ofrece catorce canciones que cuentan con la participación de músicos como Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Tail Dragger, Nappy Brown y Bob Margolin entre otros, lo cual ya da pie para saber que lo que se va a escuchar de principio a fin es muy buen blues. El núcleo de estas interpretaciones lo conformarán siempre Gray y Corritore, quienes muestran una robustez sonora impresionante, producto del tiempo que han compartido en estudios de grabación y sobre los escenarios. Recordemos que Henry Gray es uno de los pianistas más solicitado, tanto por jóvenes y veteranos músicos, para acompañarlos y darles una lección de vida y de música gracias a la experiencia acumulada en más de setenta años de carrera, que comenzó al lado de Howlin’ Wolf. La experiencia no se improvisa y Bob Corritore y Henry Gray así lo demuestran.

– Diego Luis


Docteur Blues Magazine (France) (June 28, 2015)

Bob Corritore n’est pas seulement un merveilleux harmoniciste, sans conteste l’un des plus grand de la planète Blues actuelle, il organise des concerts dans son club The Rhythm Rom et se transforme en producteur ; de nombreux musiciens de passage à Phoenix participent à des séances d’enregistrement, la liste est longue. En cette année 2015, il nous offre la complète session enregistrée avec le pianiste chanteur Henry Gray.

Bien qu’il soit né en Louisiane, c’est à Chicago que Gray se fera connaitre en devenant le pianiste du grand Howlin’ Wolf. Bob Corritore nous offre donc la session complète faite par Henry Gray, le nombre de participants est impressionnant : en dehors de Bob Corritore, on retrouve Robert Jr. Lockwood, John Brim, Willie Smith, Nappy Brown, Taildragger, Dave Riley, Bob Margolin, Johnny Rapp, Kid Ramos, Little Frank, Kirk Fletcher, Chico Chism, Bob Stroger, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Doug James et Brian Fahey. Excusez du peu, mais cela fait une belle brochette d’invités.

Actuellement, Bob Corritore demeure le seul producteur à pouvoir offrir ce genre de session, la réputation de l’harmoniciste producteur a dépassé toutes les frontières depuis longtemps et l’homme est devenu une sorte d’icône du Blues

Henry Gray joue un blues bien caractéristique se son répertoire, avec un jeu de piano particulier. Sa voix un peu rocailleuse débouche sur un amalgame de Chicago Blues farouche et dur et de Louisiana Blues typique, créant ainsi une musicalité saisissante, explosive et jouissive.

L’album s’ouvre sur « Let’s Get High », un titre entre boogie et rockin’ blues, diffusant une sonorité roots grâce à l’harmonica de Bob Corritore. Avec ce titre on est en plein dans la marque de fabrique d’Henry Gray avec Little Frank à la guitare. « Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest », un low down blues terrien, dans lequel Bob Margolin et Johnny Rapp rivalisent à la guitare propose un fascinant mélange de Delta et de Chicago Blues. Le pianiste se lance ensuite dans le New Orleans Sound avec une reprise personnalisée et ragaillardie de « I’m In Love Again » (Fats Domino). Ce répertoire New Orléans lui va comme un gant, Henry Gray s’y connait puisque natif de la Louisiane. Il s’attaque à l’un des plus grands classiques du blues « Ramblin On My Mind » nous plongeant ici dans un Delta Blues rural.

Qui mieux que Robert Jr. Lockwood, présent au chant et à la guitare, pouvait exprimer ce style caractéristique des années 40/50 ? Pour un peu, on croirait réentendre le fameux duo Johnny Shines – Walter Horton. Il poursuit sur le même tempo et dans le même style avec le standard « Worried Life Blues », là encore un excellent downhome blues avec Kid Ramos à la guitare, tandis que Nappy Brown se charge du chant s’exprimant dans le plus pur style des Blues Shouter, conférant au morceau une tonalité spéciale. Henry Gray revient dans son style si particulier avec « They Raided The Joint », là encore le morceau balance un max, avec un Kid Ramos impressionnant à la guitare, tandis qu’ Henry Gray apporte de la hauteur grâce à sa voix puissante et que l’harmonica se montre intimiste. Cette fusion donne un cocktail explosif. Il se lance dans du Frank Frost, ce qui n’est pas une mince affaire, avec « Ride With Your Daddy Tonight » ; encore une fois Henry Gray s’écarte de la copie servile, il s’appuie sur le remarquable jeu d’harmonica de Bob Corritore, alors que son complice Dave Riley se charge du chant et de la guitare.

La voix rocailleuse de Riley apporte un petit plus au morceau. Un pur régal ! Autre grand moment, « I’ m Gonna Miss You » dans lequel viennent se combiner des sonorités rurales et urbaines avec la présence de Chris James à la guitare et un harmonica poisseux pour un tempo saccadé qui fait irrémédiablement mouche. On retrouve un vieux briscard du blues avec John Brim, au chant et à la guitare sur « That’Ain’t Right » avec Johnny Rapp au soutien en seconde guitare. Ce titre émouvant est le dernier à avoir été enregistré par John Brim en studio. Henry Gray est en forme sur « Can’t Afford To Do It », morceau qui balance et swingue un max pour une ambiance blues très roots. « Honey Don’t Let My Go » est sur le même rythme mais avec un tempo légèrement plus posé. La session se termine en beauté avec « She Don’t Move Me No More », un superbe blues lent plein de finesse et de doigté avec Johnny Rapp à la gratte bien épaulé par l’harmonica en second plan

Bob Corritore nous offre un magnifique album avec l’un des derniers pionniers du blues. Le pianiste nous distille un répertoire gorgé de dynamisme qui respire la joie de vivre ; son jeu de piano martèle à merveille le rythme alors que sa voix se fait vive et autoritaire. Les invités de qualité qui viennent lui prêter main forte laissent eux aussi leur empreinte contribuant ainsi à apporter leur pierre à ce remarquable édifice dans lequel la mécanique est bien huilée. Un album sans faille ! Félicitons Bob Corritore pour ce genre d’initiative.

– Henri Mayoux


Team Rock (Part 1 – July 1, 2015)

We hadn’t heard much about Henry Gray in recent years and weren’t sure he was still with us. This set us straight. He was 90 this January and is still playing – and recording: one of the tracks on this CD was cut on his birthday. How does he sound? Well, at least as good as any of us probably hope we’ll sound when we’re 90.

Gray, if you’re unfamiliar with him, was Howlin’ Wolf’s band pianist for much of the 50s and 60s. He also played on many Chicago recording sessions behind artists like Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Bo Diddley. In 1968, when his father died, he returned to the family home near Baton Rouge to help his mother in the family business, and he has been a major player on the Louisiana blues stage ever since.

He’s also buzzed around the US blues festival circuit, visited Europe several times and made a bunch of albums, including good ones for Blind Pig and Hightone. “Legendary piano master”, the notes here call him, which may be pitching it a little strong, but he is certainly a deeply experienced blues musician.

Harmonica player Bob Corritore has been a friend to several older blues musicians. He and Gray have worked together for almost 20 years, and the recordings gathered here are drawn from a dozen sessions during that period. Many feature cameos by more-or-less-contemporaries of Gray’s, among them Robert Lockwood Jr, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and John Brim. The list of sidemen bristles with A-team names such as bassist Bob Stroger and guitarists Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos and Kirk Fletcher.

On Boogie Woogie Ball, Can’t Afford To Do It and Worried Life Blues – to pick three tunes of differing tempi – Gray’s fingers execute the appropriate dance steps on the piano keys with the ease and capability of a younger man. His voice is rough and phlegmy, and one or two of his pals are showing signs of age too, but the point of this album is that it’s by old friends meeting, hanging out and swapping songs, as much for each other as for an audience.
The songs and styles belong to the 40s, 50s and 60s, with a centre of gravity, represented by tracks like Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest and She Don’t, in the idiom of the Muddy Waters band in its heyday. If you are responsive to that, and are prepared to forgo hot licks in exchange for a warm and collaborative ambience, you should have a very good time hanging out with Gray, Corritore and company.

FINAL VERDICT: 8/10

-Tony Russell

Team Rock (Part 2 – December 2015)

The 100 Best Albums of 2015! Happy Christmas! Here’s the fourth instalment of our rundown of the greatest album releases of 2015 from TeamRock, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Blues…
67. HENRY GRAY AND BOB CORRITORE – Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest Vol.1
Blues said: “The songs and styles belong to the 40s, 50s and 60s, with a centre of gravity, represented by tracks like Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest and She Don’t, in the idiom of the Muddy Waters band in its heyday. If you are responsive to that, and are prepared to forgo hot licks in exchange for a warm and collaborative ambience, you should have a very good time hanging out with Gray, Corritore and company.”


Rocktimes (Germany) (July 7, 2015)

9/10

Der Bluespianist und Sänger Henry Gray wurde am 19. Januar 1925 in Kenner, Louisiana, geboren. Mit ihm kam ich das erste Mal in Berührung, als ich seinerzeit einen Sampler namens “Swamp Blues” kaufte – eine Doppel-LP, veröffentlicht im Jahre 1970, in den USA ursprünglich auf Excello Records erschienen und in Europa auf Mike Vernons Label Blue Horizon Records. Mittlerweile ist dieses Teil ein Klassiker und kann noch heute als hervorragender Einstieg in diese besondere Art des Blues gelten. Mit vier Titeln ist Gray darauf vertreten. Einer davon, der “Worried Life Blues”, ist auch auf der mir vorliegenden CD enthalten.

Bereits im Alter von sechzehn Jahren war der Pianist und Sänger in Baton Rouge musikalisch aktiv. Nach dem Militärdienst während des Zweiten Weltkrieges siedelte er nach Chicago. Ein Kollege, der Pianist Big Maceo Merriweather, entdeckte und förderte ihn dort. So avancierte Gray zu einem gefragten Sessionmusiker in der Musikszene der Großstadt – alle namhaften Größen konnte er begleiten. Die größte Bekanntheit erlangte er wohl durch seine Tätigkeit ab 1956 bei Howlin’ Wolf. Doch noch lange sollte es dauern, bis ein erstes Soloalbum erschien – das war dann letztlich erst 1988, “Lucky Man” heißt die Platte.

Und nun dieses hier… der erste Teil von Sessions, die der Pianist mit dem in Chicago geborenen Harper Bob Corritore im Zeitraum zwischen 1996 und 2015 aufnahm – dokumentiert auf vierzehn Aufnahmen, die, bis auf vier, bislang unveröffentlicht waren. Gleich zu Beginn sorgt “Let’s Get High” mit der Raspelstimme des hochbetagten Gray und einem vom kraftvollen Pianospiel angetriebenen rockenden Song für beste Laune im Hörraum. Das ist genau der Blues, wie ich ihn liebe. Modern, dabei ganz tief in der langen Tradition dieser Musik verwurzelt und mit Energie und Spielfreude vorgetragen, leidenschaftlich und mit viel Gefühl treibt die Stimmung voran. Der zweite Song zeigt eindeutige Spuren von Muddy Waters – kein Wunder, ist doch hier dessen langjähriger Gitarrist Bob Margolin beteiligt.

Durch die lange Zeitspanne zwischen den Aufnahmen ergibt sich eine große Anzahl beteiligter Musiker – ein Blick auf die Besetzungsliste lässt des Bluesers Herz höher schlagen. Den Hauptanteil des Gesangs bestreitet zwar Gray, doch die übrigen Vokalisten geben dem jeweiligen Song eine ganz bestimmte Färbung und sorgen somit für die ohnehin durch verschiedene Stilelemente des Blues aufgelockerte Auswahl für zusätzliche Abwechslung.

So ist fast jeder Titel einer meiner Favoriten. So manch alter Blueser schimmert mit seinem jeweiligen individuellen Sound stark durch, beispielhaft sei “Ramblin’ On My Mind” genannt, geschrieben von Robert Johnson, hier gesungen von Robert Lockwood Jr., der vom Komponisten den Blues erlernte und dessen Mutter mit diesem zusammenlebte. Dabei klingt der Song genau so, als hätte ihn Elmore James eingespielt. Und so ergeben sich ständig Verbindungen, die zeigen, wie eng der Blues in seiner Entwicklung verknüpft mit den unzähligen Musikern der langen Zeit seines Entstehens ist. Auf jeden Fall kann ich den hoffentlich erscheinenden zweiten Teil dieser Kollektion kaum erwarten.

– Wolfgang Giese


Blues Bytes (July 2015)

REVIEW #1
At 90 years of age, blues piano man Henry Gray has enjoyed a very productive career. In addition to manning the keyboards in the legendary Howlin’ Wolf’s band for 12 years in the ’50s and ’60s, Gray also served as a session man on hundreds of tracks for Chess, Vee-Jay, and United Records, backing Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter and many others.

Gray continues to remain active, and has enjoyed an ongoing collaboration with harmonica player Bob Corritore for many years. Delta Groove recently issued the first volume of The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest, a wonderful set collecting 14 tunes recorded over a 19-year period by the duo, with able assistance from an veritable A-List of blues musicians.

Of the 14 tracks, a wide-ranging set of both rare and familiar covers moving from Gray’s native Louisiana to the Mississippi Delta to the Windy City, ten are previously unreleased. There are no recording dates listed on the disc, but it has the feel of being done in one session due to the consistent production values and performances from Corritore and Gray, despite the 19-year span.

Gray does the vocal chores on nine of the tracks, which include a pair of his own compositions (the title track and “I’m Gonna Miss You”), and tracks from Fats Domino (“I’m In Love Again”), Lowell Fulson (“Trouble Blues”), Jimmy Reed (“Honey Don’t Let Me Go”), and B.B. King (“She Don’t Move Me No More”). Robert Lockwood, Jr. (“Ramblin’ On My Mind”), John Brim (“That Ain’t Right”), Nappy Brown (“Worried Life Blues”), Tail Dragger (“Boogie Woogie Ball”), and Dave Riley (“Ride With Your Daddy Tonight”) contributing a vocal apiece.

Lockwood, Brim, and Riley join an impressive line-up of guitarists which includes Bob Margolin, Johnny Rapp, Kid Ramos, Little Frank, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, and Danny Michel. In total, there are around 30 musicians backing on drums, bass, keyboards, and saxes.

This is as close to the real vintage stuff as you’re going to get these days. Henry Gray has been doing this for over seven decades and sounds as good as ever. As always, Corritore provides outstanding support with his peerless, understated backing. After hearing Volume 1 of the Gray/Corritore sessions, I guarantee you’ll be anxiously awaiting Volume 2.

– Graham Clarke
REVIEW #2
One of my fondest memories of my tenure as the President of the Phoenix Blues Society was a Back Porch event that resulted in Henry Gray, Robert Lockwood Jr. and Chico Chism all on stage at the same time. To watch these three legends perform in perfect harmony was a beautiful sight to see and one of many lasting memories I carry with me as a result of my love for the Blues.

When the latest Delta Groove release from Henry & Bob Corritore came in the mail, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest, it caused me to pause and peruse the list of performers on this outstanding disc. Departed legends such as Robert Jr., Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, Phoenix legend Chico Chism and our own Paul Thomas are all here on tracks recorded over a 19-year period by Phoenix recording legend Clarke Rigsby in conjunction with Bob Corritore.

This is a disc that will be considered for Blues Music Award nomination and kudos to Bob Corritore for having the foresight and patience to ensure that all of these tracks were lovingly recorded and archived for posterity. The result is a recording that will stand the test of time and provide a gateway for appreciating a number of great Bluesmen, all who have encouraged and maintained our Blues traditions.

The disc is appropriately named, The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions – Blues Won’t Let Take My Rest and one of the unifying themes is that of Henry’s piano and Bob’s harp as important parties to all of the tracks. There are numerous other artists on this disc, and while the list is too long to go into artist by artist, some of the key performers include: Tail Dragger; Bob Margolin; Kid Ramos; Bob Stroger; Patrick Rynn; Chris James; Brian Fahey; Dave Riley, and Phoenix bluesmen Johnny Rapp and Mario Moreno. All are seasoned veterans of the greater Blues community and in synchronicity with each other throughout the record. The playing is flawless and Clarke Rigsby deserves additional accolades for working hard to get it all down on tape.

Among the disc’s many highlights include Henry Gray’s vocals on the title tune, “Blues Won’t Let Me Rest,” a song he wrote. Robert Lockwood Jr. handles the lead vocals on the Robert Johnson tune, “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” and Nappy Brown contributes his lead vocal on “Worried Life Blues.” Other highlights are Dave Riley’s guitar and vocals on “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight, ”John Brim with his vocals and guitar on a tune he wrote, “That Ain’t Right,” and of course Tail Dragger for his vocal on “Boogie Woogie Ball.” There’s a who’s who of sidemen in addition to those I’ve already mentioned and their performances all come together to give all of us a much-deserved blues history lesson.

Kudos to the good folks at Delta Groove Music for continuing the legacy of departed founder, Randy Chortkoff, and maintaining his vision for the company. Henry Gray is a past recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship Award from the National Endowment of the Arts and this disc only begins to show why he’s a true legend of the Blues as he continues to perform as a “90 years young” Bluesman.

More information on this disc can be found on Bob Corritore’s website, http://www.bobcorritore.com. The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions – Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest contains so many historical performances, by American Bluesmen, that to me it’s a must have. Grab a copy soon and listen to it often…your ears and your soul will thank me later.

– Kyle Deibler


Southland Blues (July 30, 2015)

Featuring songs written by blues legends such as Robert Johnson, Fats Domino, Lowell Fulson and B.B. King, this collaboration 19 years of camaraderie between pianist Henry Gray and blues harpist Bob Corritore. Subtitled Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest, the album demonstrates how active these two masters remain. All but four of the tracks are previously unissued; both artists continue to produce new and exciting sounds every time they come together.

Gray sings 10 of the album’s 14 selections with his typical enthusiasm; it’s enough to drive any roomful to dancing in their seats or elsewhere. Robert Jr. Lockwood (1915-2006) sings the Robert Johnson gem “Ramblin’ on My Mind,” John Brim sings “That Ain’t Right” while pushing the envelope with a mighty mean guitar, and Nappy Brown sings “Worried Life Blues” just the way Big Maceo Merriweather intended. The title track, “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest,” features Bob Margolin and Johnny Rapp on guitar and Kid Ramos lights up the place on guitar for two other numbers. The album’s high point comes with Fats Domino’s “I’m in Love Again,” which combines Gray’s piano and vocal with Corritore’s harmonica, Rapp’s guitar, and horns for a sweet good time.

– Jim Santella


Crossroads Blues Society (July/August 2015)

Henry Gray is a national treasure. He hits 90 years this year, and is still active and playing. I just saw him at Jazzfest a few months ago. He was the piano player for Howlin’ Wolf and has made many of his own recordings. The CD represents tracks from the last 19 years. Ten of the 14 have never been issued. They were done with some different people which add to the historicalness of the release (although no dates are shown). With the Vol.1 in the title, I hope we see Vol. 2 soon. So on to the music. The CD opens with “Let’s Get High”. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith played drums on this one, with Henry doing the vocals. It’s a straight ahead blues tune that fits Henry well. Bob Margolin joins “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” for the 2nd song. It’s a strong Chicago blues number. The CD stops in New Orleans with Henry taking on the Fats Domino classic “I’m In Love Again”. The classic delta blues number from Robert Johnson is next. Robert Lockwood Jr. sings on “Ramblin’ on My Mind”. It has a different feel with the piano and harp added than the original. I’ve always like Big Maceo’s “Worried Life Blues”. Nappy Brown handles these vocals, and Kid Ramos adds guitar work. I’d like the piano a bit more in front of the mix, but this is a solid version.

Kid Ramos remains on guitar for “They Raided the Joint” that goes back to Louis Jordan. This is a very good cut. Up next is “Ride with Your Daddy Tonight”, a Scotty Moore penned tune. Dave Riley handles the vocals, and Chris James handles the fretwork on this up tempo tune. They band grabs a west coast tune from Lowell Fulson next. Bob Margolin returns for “Trouble Blues”. The band grabs the slow grinding groove of the tune very well. Henry Gray wrote the next tune “I’m Gonna Miss You”. Johnny Rapp adds guitar to this fine tune. John Brim adds guitar and vocals for “It Ain’t Right”. Big John Atkinson handles the drums here on this fine slow blues tune.

The last 4 tunes have been issued before. The first of these is “Can’t afford To Do It”. Big John Atkinson handles guitar this time. Things really take off with Henry playing his tail off on “Boogie Woogie Ball”. This was written by Taildragger, and Kirk Fletcher handles guitar work. This one rocks the charts! This disc closes out with the B.B. King song “You Don’t Move Me No More”. Bob Margolin and Johnny Rapp are back on guitar. It’s a slow piano based tune that Gray handles quite well.

Bring on Volume 2 and Volume 3 if there is one. I have liked Henry Gray for many years, and this adds to his fine body of work. He is one of the last players from the heyday of the blues. This is all blues, with no treks into other genre. Listen to this one any day any night, and you will love it. Thank you Bob for bringing this material forward.

– Mark Nelson


Living Blues (August 2015)

One of the truly great things about the blues is men like Henry Gray, former piano pounder for Howlin’ Wolf and many others, who, at 90 years of age wouldn’t consider for a moment that his mojo wasn’t working just fine. It is on the joyous side of uncanny that Gray continues to play with such vigor and sign with such urgency, as he does on Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest. The tracks that comprise this release are compiled from 12 different sessions that Bob Corritore professionally recorded with Gray between 1996 and 2015. Aside from an accounting of who plays on what (first-call accomopanists include Kid Ramos, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Dave Riley, Bob Margolin, Johnny Rapp, Little Frank Krakowski, Kirk Fletcher, Chico Chism, Bob Stroger and a host of others), no recording dates or other details are given. At least two of the tracks appeared on previous releases. A one-paragraph sidebar provides some information in lieu of a liner note.

Henry Gray, along with harpist and co-producer Bob Corritore, who plays a masterly and deferential foil to the senior tradesman, perform on all CD tracks, with Gray featured on nine of the 14 tracks. The remaining tracks feature one vocal each from Robert Jr. Lockwood (A finely measured take of Ramblin’ On My Mind), John Brim (a firm but resigned revisit of his own That Ain’t Right), Nappy Brown (contributing a distinctive basso version of Worried Life Blues), Tail Dragger (a salicious conversation with Gray on Boogie Woogie Ball) and Dave Riley (singing Scotty Moore’s Ride With Your Daddy Tonight).

Gray is credited with authoring two of the numbers, including the title track, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest, which is unmistakeably Jimmy Rogers’ Blues All Day Long.

It would be no surprise to learn that Gray personally selected every one of these titles, as the lyrics roll easily off his lips and the music flows joyously unimpeded through his fingers. And no matter where a song may have originated, each shines brightly from aspects of Gray’s deep Chicago connections as well as from his Louisiana birthright. Corritore has captured and contributed to some beautiful music here. The “volume one” in the title suggests there’s more to come.

No time to rest now, Henry!

– Justin O’Brien


Friday Blues Fix (August 6, 2015)

Piano man Henry Gray turned 90 in January of 2015 and he has enjoyed a long, productive career, backing Howlin’ Wolf in the 50’s and 60’s, and doing session work on many of the legendary recordings of the same period for Chess, Vee-Jay, United, and other labels, backing Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, and others. He’s still going strong and this set, with Bob Corritore on harmonica, contains 14 songs, mostly standards, recorded over 19 years. Backed by a veritable all-star team of blues musicians, Gray and Corritore sound great and you’d never know that nearly 20 years have passed during the recording of these tracks. The best thing about this set is in the title……Volume 1. That means that there’s more music from these two in the can somewhere and hopefully we will get the chance to hear it soon.


Blues In The Northwest (August 17, 2015)

At 90 years old Louisiana-native Henry Gray’s career in the blues has seen him bring his superb piano playing to seven decades worth of music, and his association with the big-toned Arizona-based harmonica player, Bob Corritore, goes back to 1996 . . . from when this 14-track collection dates . . . with tracks right up to the present – indeed one track was cut on Gray’s actual 90th birthday on 19th January, this year.

This first release of the Henry Gray/Bob Corritore sessions only contains four tracks that have been previously issued – with Gray handling the lion’s share of the vocals, with guest spots for Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and Dave Riley.

As ever with a Delta Groove release, the music is crisply recorded with a whole host of guest helping out. You want guitar players? How about Kid Ramos, Big Jon Atkinson, Kirk Fletcher and Bob Margolin for starters! Other luminaries on board included players of the stature of Doug James, Kedar Roy, June Core, Troy Sandow and Bob Stroger . . . to name but a few.

Suffice to say the songs are of the highest calibre . . . from deep slow blues, to uptempo jump and swing numbers and some great shuffles, with covers from the likes of Robert Johnson, Dave Bartholomew, Lowell Fulson and BB King, with a handful of Henry Gray tunes too.

Definitely one for the blues purists out there, and who knows what “Vol. 2″ will unearth?

– Grahame Rhodes


Finnish Blues News (Finland) (August 23, 2015)

Tänä vuonna 90 vuotta täyttänyt Henry Gray on kiistatta bluespianon tärkeimpiä soihdunkantajia. Huuliharpisti Bob Corritore on 31 vuotta nuorempi mutta kaverukset ovat tehneet vuosien varrella monipuolista yhteistyötä muiden asiansa osaavien muusikoiden kanssa. Tämä albumi sisältää ottoja vuosilta 1996-2015 ja antaa edustavan kuvan lukuisista tyylisuunnista sisältäen akustisia ja pääsääntöisesti sähköisiä tulkintoja. Neljätoista raitaa sisältää kymmenen ennen julkaisematonta kappaletta.

Henry Gray soittaa pianoa kaikilla raidoilla samoin kuin Bob Corritore huuliharppua. Gray vastaa lauluosuuksista yhdeksällä kappaleella. Muita vokalisteja ovat Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger ja Dave Riley. Varsinaista housebandia ei vuosien varrella muodostunut mutta soittajalista on sitäkin vakuuttavampi, mm. Willie ”Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Bob Stroger, Chico Chism ja lukuisia muita tunnettuja nimiä.

Nimikappale on Henry Grayn oma sävellys, hidas Chicago-blues, jossa Henryn laulua ja pianoa täydentvät hienosti Bobin kupitettu harppu sekä Margolinin ja Johnny Rappin kitarat. ”I’m In Love Again” on puolestaan puhdasta New Orleansia, jossa Bobin harppu soi tyylilajin mukaisesti akustisena. Robert Lockwoodin laulu ja kitara tekevät kunniaa Robert Johnsonin klassikolle ”Ramblin’ On My Mind”, joka on parhaimpia kuulemiani versioita tästä usein lainatusta kappaleesta.

Toinen Grayn oma sävellys ”I’m Gonna Miss You” tiivistää tämän levyn sanoman. Konstailematonta ja laadukasta musiikkia jossa kokonaisuus on osiensa summa. Rullaavaa jumpia, shufflea ja syvää bluesia. Yhtään vaatimatonta kappaletta ei kuulla. Henry Gray on loistava pianisti ja laulaja jolla ikä ei ole hidastanut menoa. Bob Corritore on tyylikäs harpisti joka on vuosien varrella saanut koottua toinen toistaan hienompia soittajaporukoita. Vol. 1 antaa ymmärtää, että tälle levylle tulisi jatko-osa. Toivotaan niin!

– Harri Haka


Blues & Rhythm (August 24, 2015)

These two men should need no introduction, with Henry having been recording the blues since 1952, and Bob following suit in the late 70s. Henry’s stint with Howling Wolf is well-known, as hopefully are his associations with other major Chicago artists, and he hooked up with Bob in 1996 – the slow ‘Trouble Blues’, with Bob Margolin’s incisive slide guitar work emphasizing the Muddy Waters approach, is from their first session together back then and originally appeared on Henry’s “Plays Chicago Blues” set (the source also for ‘They Raided The Joint’). It demonstrates that even then they already had a fine understanding which has only deepened over the years.

The present set – not to be confused with Henry’s 1999 album with The Cats, “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest”, though some websites already have given out misleading information – gathers together material laid down in the 19 years since that auspicious track. There is a large, floating pool of musicians in support, among them the likes of guitarists Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, and Chris James, bassists Patrick Rynn, and Bob Stroger, drummers Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Chico Chism and Steve Cushing, and saxman Doug James – those are just the names that immediately leap out, and anyone who has followed Bob’s involvement with The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona should recognise a few more. Additionally, appearing with one vocal each, with Bob and Henry among the band and making significant contributions, are Robert Jr. Lockwood (‘Ramblin’ On My Mind’), John Brim (‘That Ain’t Right’), Nappy Brown (‘Worried Life Blues’) and Dave Riley (‘Ride With Your Daddy Tonight’ from 2009’s “Lucky to Be Living” set, credited to Dave and Bob), with Tail Dragger duetting with Henry on the self-explanatory ‘Boogie Woogie Ball’, from Delta Groove’s earlier album by Dragger with Bob. Mind you, maybe I should also state that Henry is in fine form vocally throughout as well as on piano.

With names like those just mentioned, it is no surprise that this album offers no-nonsense, straight-ahead, first class Chicago blues, with the classic 50s sound predominating and Henry’s Big Maceo influences coming through in several places. Henry and Bob know how to hit the groove and drive it along – lend an ear to Gray’s own ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’ for a good example. Bob helps by seemingly effortlessly conjuring up the sounds of John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, Billy Boy Arnold, and Little and Big Walters, as appropriate, though never quite copying wholesale – he is always his own man.

Of course, Henry also pays tribute to his Louisiana roots and his later years back down in the Pelican state with a driving cover of Fats Domino’s ‘I’m In Love Again’ (on which Doug James excels) and the lazy, swampy sound of ‘Honey Don’t Let Me Go’, which gives Bob the chance to show off his Lazy Lester licks. ‘Can’t Afford To Do It’ was recorded at Henry’s 90th birthday party on 19th January 2015 (thanks for the info, Bob!), though you wouldn’t guess it from this sprightly performance.

Unless noted otherwise in this review, the tracks on this CD are all previously unissued – yes, 10 out of the 14. In short, an excellent release, maybe a serious contender for “Album of the Year”.

– Norman Darwen


BluesPowR Blog (August 27, 2015)

Still teaming: Harp ace Bob Corritore, pianist Henry Gray chronicle two decades of collaborating with Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest

We’ve heard him on joint projects with the likes of John Primer and Tail Dragger, and also as a guest on recordings from Diunna Greenleaf, Mud Morganfield, Louisiana Red, The Mannish Boys, and Dave Specter, to name just a few, not to mention his role in Project Blues’ superb Muddy Waters Tribute that took place in Ohio a year ago this month or his own pretty terrific instrumental blues album Taboo. Now harmonica ace Bob Corritore is back with another spectacular collaboration with one of blues music’s greats – longtime Howlin’ Wolf keyboardist Henry Gray – in The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Vol. 1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest (Delta Groove Music).

Featuring 14 songs from a dozen sessions over a nearly 20-year period, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest is a splendid look at the shared work of these two icons through the past two decades, often joined by such special guests as Robert Lockwood Jr., Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Stroger, Kirk Fletcher, Dave Riley, and others. We had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand the magic of Corritore and Gray playing together (along with Tail Dragger) during a show at Corritore’s Phoenix blues club The Rhythm Room a few years back, but for those looking either to get their own first taste or re-live the specialness of a similar live collaboration between the two, Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest is a great place to turn.

The album opens on a frisky, boogie woogie-styled “Let’s Get High” that features Chicago blues veterans Bob Stroger and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on bass and drums, respectively, with both also helping on background vocals. That’s followed by the deep, slow blues of the title track, one of several tunes to include longtime Muddy Waters band guitarist Bob Margolin, whose unmistakable, stinging guitar tones can also be heard on the similar “Trouble Blues” (Lowell Fulson) as well as the creeping closer, B.B. King’s “She Don’t Move Me No More”.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that soft and smooth is the extent of what Gray (now 90 years young) can deliver; there’s a terrific diversity of tracks here, as much because of Gray’s own vocals on nine of the songs – often just as gritty as they can be tender, as demonstrated on such tracks as the breezy, swinging “I’m In Love Again” with its lyrics of “I need your lovin’, I need it bad/ just like a dog when he’s goin’ mad/ ooh wee baby, ooh ooh wee/ baby, don’t you let your dog bite me” and Doug James accompanying on saxophone, and the shuffling, hoarse-vocaled “They Raided the Joint” with Kid Ramos on guitar – as for the impressive rotation of guest vocalists that includes the late, great Robert Lockwood Jr. on both guitar and vocals for Robert Johnson’s “Ramblin’ on My Mind”, Nappy Brown on the classic “Worried Life Blues” (Maceo Merriweather) with Ramos again on guitar, Dave Riley on guitar and vocals for the uptempo “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight”, John Brim on guitar and vocals for “That Ain’t Right”, and Tail Dragger on the blast that is “Boogie Woogie Ball”, where they’re joined by Kirk Fletcher on guitar.

That’s all rounded out by a steady-rolling “I’m Gonna Miss You”, the lively “Can’t Afford to Do It”, and a grooving take on Jimmy Reed ‘s “Honey Don’t Let Me Go”.

Both Gray and Corritore are masters of their instruments, and together, they share a cohesiveness that many even full-time duos would be hard-pressed to match. Add to this the fact that all but four of the songs here were previously unreleased, and you start to get a sense for just how much of a treasure Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest is.

The Vol. 1 in the title suggests there may be a good deal more to be heard from Gray and Corritore’s two decades of collaboration, but for now, we’re pretty content simply to enjoy all there is to appreciate about this one, easily among the year’s finest.


BluesVan (Hungary) (August 28, 2015)

Henry Gray termékeny zenei karrierje több mint hét évtizedet fog át. Legsikeresebb időszakának a Howlin’ Wolf együttesében eltöltött tizenkét esztendőt tekinthetjük. Ez idő tájt vált keresett session zenésszé, olyan nagyságokkal vonult stúdióba vagy koncertezett, mint Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Little Walter Jacobs, Jimmy Rogers és Jimmy Reed. Napjaink egyik legkelendőbb szájharmonikásával, a zenélés mellett producerként, rádiós műsorvezetőként, klubtulajdonosként is tevékenykedő Bob Corritore-ral barátsága, zenei együttműködésének kezdete 1996-ig nyúlik vissza. A mindig elegáns zongorista idén töltötte be kilencvenedik születésnapját. Ez alkalomból Corritore összegyűjtötte együttműködésük legjobban sikerült felvételeit, amelyek a Vol. 1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest című lemezen láttak napvilágot. A blues nagyságok sokaságát felvonultató, az idei év legfontosabb albumai közé sorolandó lemezen található tizennégy számból tíz eddig még nem került kiadásra. A dalok többségében Henry Gray énekel, de hallhatjuk egy-egy szerzeményben Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger és Dave Riley énekhangját is. Az album címe további felvételeket vetít előre. Érdeklődve várom a folytatást, amire remélhetőleg nem kell sokat várni.


Back To The Roots (Belgium) (August 2015)

Op 19 januari 2015 is pianist-zanger Henry Gray 90 jaar geworden, maar tot op de dag van vandaag is hij muzikaal nog heel actief. Gray komt uit Kenner, Louisiana, maar vesigde zich kort na WOII in Chicago, waar hij familie had. Hij voorzag o.a. Robert Lockwood, Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Morris Pejoe, The Rolling Stones, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf en vele anderen van hand- en pianodiensten. De samenwerking met harmonicaspeler Bob Corritore gaat terug tot 1996. Voor deze cd kozen Gray en Corritore veertien songs, afkomstig van twaalf verschillende opnamesessies. Eén ervan vond plaats tijdens Henry’s goste verjardag. De cd vermeldt nergens over welke opname dat gaat en na meermaals beluisteren zign wij er ook niet achter gekomen. Dit illustreert alleen maar hoe consistent de capaciteiten van de oude knar door de jaren heen zijn gebleven. Henry zingt zelf negen van de veertien songs. Voor de andere vijf zijn de zangers Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger en Dave Riley. De verschillende sessies en de uiteenlopende projecten van Corritore waarbij hij Gray heeft betrokken, leiden ertoe dat u op deze cd een hoop muzikanten terugvindt. Dertig om precies te zign. Enkele namen: Bob Margolin, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Kid Ramos, Bob Stroger, Patrick Rynn, Steve Cushing, Brian Fahey, Chico Chism enz… Qua stijl biedt dit album hoofdzakelijk Chicagoblues, maar er zijn ook uitstapjes naar feetstelijke rock-‘n-roll (b.v. ‘I’m In Love Again’ van Fats Domino) en boogie-woogie. Interessant is ook de versmelting van verschillende traditionele bluesstijlen, zoals in ‘They Raided The Joint’ waar de Chicagoblues van Gray en Corritore prachtig woordt verweven met het westkstgitaarspel van Kid Ramos. Het illustreert het universele van een klassiek 1-4-5-bluesschema. We hopen dat er snel een tweede volume komt, want deze cd bestaat uit klassiek standaardwerk dat een bluescollectie alleen maar kan sieren. Warm aanbevolen!

– Franky Bruneel


Big City Blues Magazine (August/September 2015)

At the time of this writing pianist Henry Gray is 90 years old. Let’s be thankful that he is still around to deploy his blues expertise. We lost Robert Lockwood Jr. at age 91 in 2006, David “Honeyboy” Edwards in 2011 at the age of 96, Pinetop Perkins also in 2011 at the age of 97, and B.B. King in May 2015 at the age of 89. Maybe the blues keeps these luminaries young! It’s some compensation for the premature losses of such stellar bluesmen as Magic Sam and Hollywood Fats, both at 32 years old.

Born in Louisiana, Gray migrated to Chicago in 1946 and became a valued session man for Chess and other labels, before assuming the piano seat in legendary Howlin’ Wolf’s band from 1956 to 1968. In the decades since he has returned to Louisiana, fronted his own band, appeared on innumerable records, and garnered myriad blues awards. This compilation by his friend, impresario, and frequent colleague, harmonica maven Bob Corritore, encompasses selected tunes from the last two decades with an array of musicians, and a tasty set it is. Every tune features Gray on keyboard and Corritore on harp, with an impressive list of guests including Lockwood, John Brim, Bob Margolin, and Kid Ramos.

For those not familiar with the two principals, let me say that you may be most impressed by Gray’s vocals. Not mainly known as a singer, he acquits himself well on ten of the fourteen numbers, displaying a raspy range and considerable emotion. Check out, for example, the title tune and the B.B. King cut “She Don’t Love Me No More,” both slow 12-bar blues. The same 12-bar standard blues format is followed throughout the entire album, with the exception of a cover of Fats Domino’s “I’m in Love Again,” a 1950s-style R&B piece with suitable saxophone courtesy of Doug James.

Some other highlights include fine vocals by Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, and Nappy Brown, two lead guitar forays by Kid Ramos, and a snazzy guitar interplay between Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on “Boogie Woogie Ball.” Margolin’s slide guitar on Lowell Fulson’s “Trouble Blues” is not to be missed.

Corritore’s adept harmonica is a consistent pleasure, as he eschews long solos in favor of tasteful accompaniment. Similarly, Gray’s piano virtuosity is generally subordinated to the integrity of each song. All in all, a solid and high quality retrospective look back at a fruitful collaboration.

— Steve Daniels


Washington Blues Society Bluesletter (September 2015)

Bob Corritore has been supporting and playing alongside blues’ finest for many a year and recently has had a few releases with some lesser known gems. Henry Gray spent a dozen years playing and touring with Howlin’ Wolf during his most prolific period and that is only a smidgen of his seven decade (and counting) career which includes receiving a National Heritage Fellowship Award in 2006 from the National Endowment for the Arts. The 14 selection cover a span of 19 years and all but four are previously unreleased. Legends are featured here like Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, John Brim, Dave Riley and Tail Dragger and supporting players like Bob Margolin, Chris James, Kirk Fletcher and Kid Ramos. Many of the selections were also penned by names you will recognize like Riley King, Jimmy Reed, Lowell Fulson and Robert Johnson although most of the titles will be more obscure. From the West Coast sounds of “I’m In Love Again” to the boogie piano rhythms of “Boogie Woogie Ball” or the juke joint groove of “Ramblin’ On My Mind” to the half dozen guest vocalists, variety is very evident. I Would recommend Vol. 1: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest for historical reasons alone, especially when considering that four of these artists are no longer with us; but the album stands strongly on its own merits for both musicianship and song selection.

– Malcolm Kennedy


Buscadero (Italy) (September 2015)

Ci voleva davvero un appassionato come Bob Corritore per tirare fuori un disco vivo e denso come questa. Bob, chigoano con il blues nel sangue, é prima di tutto un produttore importante, per la cul corte hanno transitato tanti bei nomi delle dodici battute, da Mud Morganfield a Kid Ramos, Smokin’ Joe Kubek, Tail Dragger a Louisiana Red. In secondo luogo é un ottimo armonicista che ha inciso una discreta serie di album in proprio, quando non insieme a Dave Riley o John Primer. Non si contano collaborazioni (Dave Specter, Mannish Boys, Sugaray Rayford, per citame allcuni, né produzioni, a partire da Little Willie Anderson e Big Leon Brooks, con cui ha avuto a che fare giovanissimo tra la fine dei settanta e l’inizio degli ottanta; a parte questi, Kim Wilson, Mojo Buford, Robert Lockwood e tanti altri. Oltre a ció nel 1991 ha aperto un suo locale a Phoenix, Arizona, il Rhythm Room, dove spesso si esibisce con la sua All Stars band. Ci voleva davvero lui, dicevamo, per non perdersi il novantesimo compleanno di una leggenda come Henry Gray, da Kenner, Louisiana, classe 1925; un pianista storico e basilare (molti lo avranno apprezzato anche in “Piano Blues” di Clint Eastwood nel 2003, per la serie di Martin Scorsese). Dotato di una vocalitá rocciosa e di un pianismo percussivo, la carriera di Gray decolla nella Chicago degli anni quaranta e cinquanta, dopo il suo transferimento dal sud. Non cé duvvero artista (di quelli storici) con cui Gray non abbia suonato, da Elmore James a Otis Rush, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Sonny Boy Williamson a Howlin’ Wolf, in seno alla cui band rimase per oltre dieci anni, a partire dal 1956. Gli ultimi decenni lo vedono di nuovo in Louisiana e alle prese con un rinnovato interesse (mai sopito per altro) da parte di musicisti piú giovani, Steve Freund per nominarne uno; e poi concerti, tour euripei, registrazioni per etichette quali Blind Pig e Wolf. Daverro ottimo questo disco, che raccoglie registrazione sponsorizzate dall encomiabile Corritore ed effettuate a vari livelli tra il 1996 e il 2015. Al solito, come i musicisti intelligenti non si lasciano perdere le occasioni piú ghiotte, la lista di quanti prendono parte alle sessioni nel corso del tempo é nutrita, Robert Lockwood Jr, John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Willie Smith, Bob Stroger, Kirk Fletcher, Doug James, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos e tanti altri; il top del blues di ieri e di oggi. Tutti fanno del loro meglio nell’affiancare a dovere l’anziano pianista, senza assolutamente primeggiare. Il repertorio ruota attorno a un blues classico, caido e ossuto, sobrio e profondo, fatto di consueti mid-tempo (They Raided The Joint, Let’s Get High, I’m in Love Again, che fu nelle mani di Fats Domino, Ride With Your Daddy Tonight), lenti (le splendide Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest e That Ain’t Right, quest’ultima di John Brim), booking (Boogie Woogie Ball) e vecchi standard come Ramblin’ On My Mind (Robert Johnson), Worried Life Blues (Big Maceo), Trouble Blues (Lowell Fulson). Quattordici tracce, tutto quello che serve; ottimo.

– Roberto Giuli


Blues Society of Omaha Blues News (September 2015)

90 year old Henry Gray has played piano with many of the giants of the blues past and present. Bob Corritore is one of the go to harp players currently in the blues and has been collaborating with Gray since 1996.

Gray has played with Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, and Little Walter – among many others. On this cd – with Bob Corritore – recorded over 19 years, Gray collaborated with Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Tail Dragger, Kid Ramos, Robert Lockwood, Jr. and many more artists.

The 14 songs are traditional and understated blues that range from shuffles to deep blues to jumping numbers. Gray sings the majority of the songs while belting out his renowned piano playing. Corritore adds harp on all cuts with his usual restrained taste. This cd is recommended for listeners that love time-honored blues. The music is raw and emotive classic blues.

– A.J. Foyt


The Groove – Crossroads Blues Society (September 2015)

Henry Gray is a national treasure. He hits 90 years this year, and is still active and playing. I just saw him at Jazzfest in a few months ago. He was the piano player for Howlin’ Wolf and has made many of his own recordings. The CD represents tracks from the last 19 years. Ten of the 14 have never been issued. They were done with some different people which add to the historicalness of the release (although no dates are shown). With the Vol. 1 in the title, I hope we see Vol. 2 soon.

So onto the music. The CD opens with “Let’s Get High”. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith played drums on this one, with Henry doing the vocals. It’s a straight ahead blues tune that fits Henry well. Bob Margolin joins “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” for the second song. It’s a strong Chicago blues number. The CD stops in New Orleans with Henry taking on the Fats Domino classic “I’m In Love Again”. The classic delta blues number from Robert Johnson is next. Robert Lockwood Jr. sings on “Ramblin’ on My Mind”. It has a different feel with the piano and harp added than the original. I’ve always liked Big Maceo’s “Worried Life Blues”. Nappy Brown handles these vocals, and Kid Ramos adds guitar work. I’d like the piano a bit more in front of the mix, but this is a solid version.

Kid Ramos remains on guitar for “They Raided The Joint” that goes back to Louis Jordan. This is a very good cut. Up next is “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight,” a Scotty Moore penned tune. Dave Riley handles the vocals, and Chris James handles the fretwork on this up tempo tune. The band grabs a west coast tune from Lowell Fulson next. Bob Margolin returns for “Trouble Blues”. The band grabs the slow grinding groove of the tune very well. Henry Gray wrote the next tune “I’m Gonna Miss You”. Johnny Rapp adds guitar to this fine tune. John Brim adds guitar and vocals for “It Ain’t Right”. Big John Atkinson handles the drums here on this fine slow blues tune.

The last four tunes have been issued before. The first of these is “Can’t Afford To Do It”. Big John Atkinson handles the guitar this time. Things really take off with Henry playing his tail off on “Boogie Woogie Ball”. This was written by Tail Dragger, and Kirk Fletcher handles guitar work. This one rocks the charts! This disc closes out with the B.B. King song “You Don’t Move Me No More”. Bob Margolin and Johnny Rapp are back on guitar. It’s a slow piano based tune that Gray handles quite well.

Bring on Volume 2 and Volume 3 if there is one. I have liked Henry Gray for many years, and this adds to his fine body of work. He is one of the last players from the heyday of the blues. This is all blues, with no treks into other genres. Listen to this one any day any night, and you will love it. Thank you Bob for bringing this material forward.

– Mark Nelson


Association of Beach & Shag Club DJs (September 2015)

California based Delta Groove Productions rereleased the 1971 album, The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions, Volume 1 of Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest. The legendary piano master Henry Gray and harmonica ace Bob Corritore have been actively collaborating since 1996, performing, touring and recording. The album contains fourteen songs selected from twelve different sessions over the nineteen year period. All but four tracks are previously unreleased, and Henry sings lead on 9 of the included selections, while Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and John Brim provide one vocal each. At the core of each of the songs is Henry Gray on vocals and piano with Bob Corritore on harmonica on all of the tracks of the album. Close to thirty artists in all take part in the sessions, among those who are Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James and Pops MacFarlane. Some of the tracks will be familiar to you, but this time take note of Bob Corritore’s harmonica work. To me, the highlight of the album is “Can’t Afford To Do It.” The song has the right tempo and fits into the mold of Henry’s greatest hits in our market, “How Could You Do It.” The Album also contains the hit, “They Raided The Joint” with Bob Corritore on the harp. Other songs of note are “Let’s Get High,” “I’m In Love Again,” Henry’s rendition of Fats Domino’s charted hit “Honey Don’t Let Me” and “Boogie Woogie Ball.” The latter two will easily be acceptable to those on the dance floor. Henry Gray hails from Kenner, Louisiana and has been playing piano for more than seven decades. He has more than 58 albums to his credit. The Chicago-born producer/harmonica player Bob Corritore is a lifelong fan of the Blues. In Chicago, Bob began performing at local clubs and formed his own record label. In 1981, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona and formed a band with Louisiana Red. While living in Phoenix, he has produced and recorded on numerous albums with various artists, while performing as a pick-up harmonica player for touring bands like Willie Dixon and Otis Rush. If you overlooked The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions the first time, don’t overlook the Delta Groove album this time.


Audiophile Audition (September 14, 2015)

Four and a half stars. The blues tell it all on this terrific CD. Henry Gray is approaching seven decades as a blues artist. He is credited with developing the Chicago blues piano style. Gray has played with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Lockwood Jr. Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Little Milton and The Rolling Stones. He has recorded more than fifty albums, including several for Chess Records. Like so many blues legends, he represents the essence of blues music. A generation younger, Bob Corritore is the embodiment of blues. His technical acuity on harmonica and deep appreciation for the genre is unsurpassed. He is a working Phoenix club owner, writer, performer, session player and producer. In typical blues symmetry, the tradition of blues is carried on by the connection of older and younger performers. In 2015, Corritor and Gray combined on a mutual project.

The Henry Gray / Bob Corritore Sessions Vol.1 is a massive shot of blues. Featuring a cadre of exceptional blues musicians, there are fourteen tracks (from twelve individual sessions) of spirited music. “Let’s Get High” gets things started with a barrelhouse piano by the ageless pianist and singer. Corritore adds his trademark crisp harmonica licks as a vocal call and response enlivens the festivities. Getting down and dirty, “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” is visceral with Gray’s heartfelt singing. Throughout the album there are skilled guitarists helping out. Robert Lockwood Jr. is outstanding (including vocals) is excellent on “Rambin’ On My Mind”.

The agony of blues is not lost on Gray. The slow-burning ”Trouble Blues” boasts slide guitar licks (Bob Margolin) and the heavy roadhouse slow-blues tempo makes this Lowell Fulson composition timeless. Above all, this is a celebration with the hard charging “They Raided The Joint” and “Boogie Woogie.” Changes of pace are just as good. And Corritore is artistic and respectfully complements Gray. It is a celebration and the “dialogue” riffs on “Boogie Woogie Ball” between Gray and Tail Dragger will produce a smile on any blues lover’s face.

The myriad of musical genres is enticing. Buy ”I’m In Love Again” is old school jump swing with punctuated horn choruses. Nappy Brown handles the vocals on the traditional “Ramblin’ On My Mind”. Corritore’s harp runs are backed by Kid Ramos (guitar). Every guest player is memorable. Dave Riley growls out “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight” with up tempo grooves to spare. Corritore adds considerable muscle to this jam and Riley is equally adept on guitar. The finale is the ultimate blues lament, “She Don’t Move Me No More”. At 90 (and one of the tracks was recorded recently). Gray can display prominent blues verve.

Bring on Volume 2!

TrackList: Let’s Get High; Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest; I’m In Love Again; Ramblin’ On My Mind; Worried Life Blues; They Raided The Joint; Ride With Your Daddy Tonight; Trouble Blues; I’m Gonna Miss You; That Ain’t Right; Can’t Afford To Do It; Boogie Woogie Ball; Honey Don’t Let Me Go; She Don’t Move Me No More

–Robbie Gerson


Blues Blast (September 17, 2015)

Bob Corritore must be one of the hardest working guys in the blues! As well as running a successful blues club he is a prolific broadcaster, musician and recording artist and a serial nominee at both the BMAs and the Blues Blast Awards where he is a regular performer. As well as his own recordings Bob is also a frequent guest on other artists’ discs and has taken the opportunity over the years to record studio sessions with many blues artists, especially when they have been passing through his home base in Phoenix, Arizona to play at his club, The Rhythm Room.

The sessions on this CD were recorded across a span of twelve recording sessions over nineteen years, from 1996 to the present day and all feature Henry Gray on piano and vocals who is now into his nineties but still an active performer. Only four tracks from these sessions have previously been issued, so this is a treasure trove for fans of classic blues. The collection includes performances by many different artists, some of whom have since passed away, so the collection serves as both an historical document and a testimony to Henry’s longevity as a performer.

Not surprisingly the cast list is huge with so many different sessions: Bob plays harp and Henry piano on every track and Henry sings on most. Joining them are vocalists Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, John Brim and Robert Lockwood Jr. Johnny Rapp is the most frequent guitarist but the following also contribute on guitar: Robert Lockwood Jr, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Big John Atkinson (who also plays drums on one cut), Little Frank, Chris James and Danny Michel. Paul Thomas is the most used bassist but Bob Stroger, Pops Macfarlane, Kedar Roy, Patrick Rynn, Mario Moreno, Troy Sandow and Yanni Riley also appear. On drums the late Chico Chism appears on six tracks with Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, June Core, Eddie Kobek, Steve Cushing and Brian Fahey also appearing. There are no keyboards other than Henry’s exuberant piano playing but Doug James adds sax to one track. Bob and Henry also adhere to the principle that performers should be smartly dressed, as can be seen by the dapper suits they are wearing on the cover!

Whilst there are only two of Henry’s original tunes the collection ranges far and wide across tunes that are very familiar to some that are far less so. Henry’s barrelhouse piano leads us into “Let’s Get High” (Grant Jones) which sounds like a good invitation for an opener, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith and Bob Stroger adding some enthusiastic backing vocals and Bob adding some great harp. The title cut is Henry’s tune, a classic blues with Bob Margolin’s slide and Bob’s harp setting a menacing background to Henry’s rolling piano work. Fats Domino is the source for “I’m In Love Again” and Doug James’ sax adds to the New Orleans feel as Henry sets the pace on piano, a really catchy piece of NO rock and roll. Henry passes the mike to others on the next two tracks and we hear two greats who have since left us as first Robert Lockwood Jr sings Robert Johnson’s “Ramblin’ On My Mind” in a country blues stomper of a version with Henry’s piano simply terrific.

Nappy Brown’s deep voice rings out clear on Big Maceo Merriweather’s “Worried Life Blues” with Kid Ramos on guitar and Bob stepping in to take another of those harp solos that sounds almost like a wah-wah guitar; June Core’s great drumming here also deserves special mention. A pair of upbeat tunes follow as Henry takes the mike for “They Raided The Joint” (Joe Eldridge, Aristine Jackson, Oran Page), a super song that we don’t hear that often, then Dave Riley (a regular collaborator with Bob) sings “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight” (Scott Moore); both songs rock along superbly with everyone on top form and Henry giving us some double handed soloing on the latter tune. Lowell Fulson’s “Trouble Blues” slows the pace with Bob Margolin’s electric slide very distinctive in a classic Chicago style blues that evokes Muddy Waters’ spirit. Henry’s second composition “I’m Gonna Miss You” follows in similar vein on what one suspects is a more recent recording as Henry’s voice sounds older than on some of the cuts here, but it’s another solid track with plenty of great harp and rolling piano.

John Brim is on guitar and vocals on his own “That Ain’t Right” with Big Jon Atkinson on drums before Jon switches to guitar on Ernest Lawler’s “Can’t Afford To Do It” which is great fun with Henry’s almost comic vocals. Tail Dragger provides the pounding “Boogie Woogie Ball” in which he namechecks everyone playing (which includes great guitar from Kirk Fletcher and Chris James), almost like a MC. Some Jimmy Reed comes in the shape of “Honey Don’t Let Me Go”, Bob adapting his harp style to fit and Henry’s piano to the fore with some gentle guitar from Johnny Rapp. The final icing on this cake is provided by “She Don’t Move Me No More” which takes us way back in BB King’s career for another classic blues.

Throughout this fine collection the playing is first class, the song selection good and the guests all contribute well without taking over. Bob and Henry are superb throughout, stepping up for solos where needed but essentially both men are ensemble players who can clearly, on the strength of this collection, work expertly with a wide range of players. As this is marked Vol. 1 we can assume that Bob Corritore has more where this came from, so more great music in prospect. Meanwhile this one can be easily recommended.

– John Mitchell


No Depression (September 17, 2015)

Although it sounds like it was recorded in one take at a late-night, gin-fueled jam session at a funky roadhouse, The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions Vol. 1 is actually a compilation of 19 years worth of the two artists’ collaborations. We’re not told when each cut was recorded, but age doesn’t seem to make any difference. Gray sounds strong and energized on every cut.

He’s fully committed to the business at hand on “Let’s Get High,” so much so that you believe he may have actually been sampling some of the gin he’s talking about using for fuel for the evening’s festivities.

Fats Domino’s “I’m in Love Again” bounces along jauntily. Gray’s panther screams punctuate Corritore’s mouth harp, slicing up the melody and dribbling pieces of it over top of Doug James’s baritone sax.

Robert Johnson’s “Ramblin’ on My Mind” has Gray ramblin’ quite a bit faster than Johnson’s original. This version is more of a joyous proclamation than a lament.

From the sound of things, it’s hard to believe that Gray is 90 years old. Every cut here just jumps out at you. Gray’s vocals and piano are vibrant and powerful throughout. It’s a real pleasure to listen to a man who obviously enjoys his work so much and is willing to share that exuberance and joy with his listeners.

– Grant Britt


In A Blue Mood (September 21, 2015)

Bob Corritore has been championing the greats of blues, especially Chicago blues, for several decades. Host of a terrific blues radio program in Phoenix where he also operates the Rhythm Room, he also has produced a variety of blues recordings. His latest production celebrates pianist Henry Gray who turned 90 in January 2015. The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions comes our way with “Vol. 1 Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” (Delta Groove). Included are 14 selections featuring the pianist perhaps best known for his 14 years with Howlin’ Wolf as well as session work with a variety of artists for Chess and other labels. Its been about 45 years since Gray left Chicago and moved to Louisiana where he has played, playing festivals and clubs.

For “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest”, Corritore has put together 14 selections from 12 sessions over a 19 year period (including one on Henry’s 90th Birthday) with Gray and Corritore joined by a wide range of blues legends and players including Robert Lockwood, Jr.; John Brim; Willie ‘Big’ Eyes Smith; Nappy Brown; Tail Dragger; Chico Chism; Dave Riley; Bob Margolin; Bob Stroger; Chris James; Patrick Rynn; Kirk Fletcher; Kid Ramos; and June Core.

Gray has been overshadowed by Pinetop Perkins amongst his contemporaries in general recognition, and while folks might argue on who is the stronger pianist, Gray, although an untrained singer, is more forceful and displays more personality, as reflected on his impassioned singing on the title track (most associated with Jimmy Rogers). But he certain captures the spirit of shouter Grant Jones’ “Let’s Get High” and Hot Lips Page “They Raided The Joint.” On several tracks he provides strong support behind some legendary figures including Robert Lockwood, Jr. on “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” and Nappy Brown on a superb rendition of “Worried Life Blues” that was a signature song of Gray’s major piano influence, Big Maceo. Dave Riley tackled “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight” while John Brim sings “That Ain’t Right.” Lowell Fulson’s “Trouble Blues” features one of Gray’s top vocals here with Bob Margolin adding slide guitar while Tail Dragger adds some color commentary to the rollicking “Boogie Woogie Ball.”

After a credible Jimmy Reed cover, “Honey Don’t Let Me Go,” this CD concludes with a moody swamp blues flavored rendition of B.B. King’s “She Don’t Move Me No More,” with Corritore (outstanding throughout) heard here in a Walter Horton vein. This is a solid and delightful collection of classic Chicago blues with a touch Louisiana swamp blues mixed in. Given that this is labeled Vol. 1, one looks forward to a further release of Henry Gray’s blues sessions with Bob Corritore.

– Ron Weinstock


Chicago Blues Guide (September 2015)

At 90 years of age and feisty as ever, Henry Gray is the last of his kind.

The boogie and blues piano specialist spent the 1950s in the gin joints of Chicago, backing Howlin’ Wolf and Morris Pejoe and doing studio dates with Jimmy Rogers, Bo Diddley, Billy Boy Arnold, and Jimmy Reed. Although his ‘50s discography as a leader largely consists of a couple of titles from a 1953 Chess session that sat unissued at the time, the Kenner, Louisiana native was utterly invaluable as a sideman, his ivories pounding rivaling that of Otis Spann and Little Johnny Jones for local preeminence.

Henry’s happily made up for lost time in recent years, recording albums as a leader for Blind Pig, HighTone, and other labels both stateside and abroad. This 14-song compilation further enhances Gray’s still-expanding legacy. Spearheaded by Phoenix harpist Bob Corritore, whose full-bodied playing is featured prominently throughout, the set was recorded between 1996 and earlier this year with a vast array of sidemen, all of whom speak the same fluent traditional blues language that Gray so effortlessly does. Even if the set wasn’t cut here, there’s a strong Chicago flavor to the proceedings.

Opening with the raucous houserocker “Let’s Get High” that he cut with Pejoe in December of ‘54 for United Records, Henry displays a spry vocal delivery as he storms through a pair of originals (the title blues and “I’m Gonna Miss You”) as well as the party-time “They Raided The Joint” and a horn-leavened reprise of Fats Domino’s “I’m In Love Again.” Gray’s wide-ranging repertoire encompasses B.B. King’s “She Don’t Move Me No More,” Lowell Fulson’s “Trouble Blues,” and Reed’s “Honey Don’t Let Me Go,” benefitting from solid backing from the rotating cast of carefully chosen sidemen. Henry’s easy-going patter with Chicago’s Tail Dragger is a delight on the rollicking “Boogie Woogie Ball,” guitarist Chris James and bassist Patrick Rynn matching the ageless piano man in the energy department.

Thanks to his ownership of the Rhythm Room, Phoenix’s top blues club, Corritore has brought some true blues heavyweights to his town over the years. Three of them, all sadly gone now, appear on this set while casting Gray in the sideman role that he filled for so long in Chicago. Robert Lockwood, Jr. conjures up a sterling tribute to his stepfather, Robert Johnson, on “Ramblin’ On My Mind,” while leather-lunged shouter Nappy Brown brings a ton of gravitas to his reading of “Worried Life Blues” (its originator Big Maceo Merriweather was one of Henry’s early mentors). Chicago guitarist John Brim ably reprises his ‘55 Chess classic “That Ain’t Right” for Corritore and crew. Rhythm Room regular Dave Riley, no slouch on guitar himself, turns in a nice rendition of Frank Frost’s “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight.”

Fans of real-deal traditional Chicago-style blues and uncompromising two-fisted piano will delight in this set. Here’s hoping Henry returns to his old stomping grounds and gifts us with some of these selections in a live setting soon.

– Bill Dahl


Suncoast Blues Society (September 2015)

Recorded over a dozen sessions in a span of nineteen years, this outstanding release highlights the artistry of Henry Gray, the last living link to the lauded generation of Chicago blues piano players. Also an accomplished singer, Gray was a key component of the great band that backed Howling’ Wolf in addition to appearing on recordings by greats like Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, and Bo Diddley. His partner, Bob Corritore, is one of the finest living traditional blues harp players.

They are part of the list of thirty musicians who appear on the disc. Gray is positively frisky on “Let’s Get High,” rocking the boogie on his piano. His spirited run-through of “They Raided The Joint” includes Kid Ramos on guitar. On Gray’s original “I’m Gonna Miss You,” Corritore uses his harp to echo the sadness in Gray’s voice. “Boogie Woogie Ball” is a stone-cold party with old friend Tail Dragger on vocals plus Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar.

Bob Margolin adds his guitar to the title track, a slow blues with the leader crying out his pain while Corritore proves to be an expert accompanist. Other highlights include the driving “Ramblin’ On My Mind” with Robert Lockwood Jr. on guitar and vocals, Nappy Brown’s deep voice wrapped around “Worried Life Blues,” and Gray’s dazzling runs behind John Brim’s vocal on “That Ain’t Right”.

One track was recorded on Gray’s 90th birthday – but good luck trying to figure out which one it is. The piano man rolls through “I’m In Love Again,” riding Doug James’ one-man horn section. To close things out, Gray belts out another slow blues masterpiece on “She Don’t Move Me No More”. Great from start to finish, make sure you get some Gray in your life!

– Mark Thompson


ABS Magazine (France) (September 2015)

On a déjà pu se rende compte que les archives personnelles de l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore sont fort riches. Heureux patron d’un club de blues å Phoenix, Arizona, il y enregistre tours les musiciens qui y passent et il a déjà publié plusieurs, compilations au cours de ces dernières années. Pour cet album (volume 1 !), il a choisi quatorze morceaux gravés par Henry Gray avec lui-même et divers partenaires et couvrant une période de dix-neuf ans. Gray est un chanteur attachant (dans quatre faces, il laisse ce rôle à des invitês) et un pianiste solide avec un sens du rythme éblouissant – ce n’est pas pour rien qu’il a fait partie du Howling Wolf Band pendant douze ans et qu’il a été sollicité par Bo Diddly, Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter et beaucoup d’autres pour les seconder – et ses duos avec Corritore sont toujours de bonne facture. Tout est excellent, mais on retiendra plus particuliérement “Ramblin’ On My Mind” avec Robert Lockwood Jr. (chant et guitare) et aussi “That Ain’t Right” (avec John Brim, chant et guitare), “Boogie Woogie Ball” (avec Tail Dragger au chant et Kirk Fletcher à la guitare), “Worried Life Blues” (avec Nappy Brown au chant et Kid Ramos à la guitare), “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight” (avec Dave Riley, chant et guitare), “Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest” avec Bob Margolin à la guitare qui est aussi sur “Trouble Blues” et “She Don’t Move Me No More.” Kid Ramos est aussi présent sur “They Raided The Joint.” Bref, une compilation de rêve qui est aussi un hommage au pianiste qui vient de fêter ses quatre-vingt-dix ans et cela ravira tous ses admirateurs qui sont légion.

– Robert Sacré


Jazz N More (September / October 2015)

Es gibt ihn noch, den klassischen, unverfälschten Chicago-Blues, gespielt mit Pep und Herzblut. Bob Corritore, ursprünglich aus der Windy City stammend, jetzt als Clubbesitzer, Produzent und gereifter Harmonicaspieler in Phoenix, Arizona, aktiv. Er hat während der vergangenen 19 Jahre nicht weniger als zwölf verschiedene Sessions mit dem Pianisten Henry Gray, in Louisiana aufgewachsen und lange in der Band von Howlin’ Wolf in die Tasten greifend, angehäuft. Und was er hier nun von diesen Aufnahmen veröffentlicht, muss jeden Fan des traditionellen Blues in Entzücken versetzen. Es sind ja auch ultimative Könner am Werk: Grays perlendes Downhome-Piano wird getragen von den besten Musikern aus mehreren Generationen der Blues History. Da dürfen wir noch einmal die Stimmen und die Gitarren der unvergessenen Robert Lockwood Jr. und John Brim geniessen. Auch der Sänger Napp Brown und die Drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith und Chico Chism sind nicht mehr unter uns. Als zeitgenössische Begleiter schliesslich glänzen Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James und der unverwüstliche Bob Margolin – ein jeder ein Meister seines Faches. Alle stellen sie ihre Fähigkeiten bravourös in den Dienst von Henry Gray und klingen, als hätten sie bei den Aufnahmen einen Höllenspass gehabt. This is the real stuff!

– Marco Piazzalonga


Chicago Blues (October 2015)

Bob Corritore has long been a fixture in the blues world, celebrated for the unique, commanding voice that proudly marches forth from his harmonica; lightning one instant, a gentle wind the next. Corritore has so much fun playing, often times it seems as though he might burst, and that is precisely what moves his audience; his joy and authenticity.

Henry Gray is a force to be reckoned with! Here’s an old school player in every sense; devoted, particular, disciplined, reverent, and so talented as to make his ability appear commonplace when it so assuredly is anything but. Just as PineTop Perkins, Memphis Slim, Fats Domino, Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, and even Jelly Roll Morton before him, his playing seems so effortless, so that it appears that anyone could coax that music from the keyboard.

That is the mark of a true master, making what they do seem easy enough that any man could do it.

Released on June 16, 2015, and issued on Delta Groove Productions, The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions – Vol. 1 Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest is a spectacular tour-d-force.

The 14 tracks presented here were recorded over a 19-year span, and the album runs just under 52 minutes. Even though these songs were obviously recorded at numerous sessions, the mix and sound quality is remarkably consistent, and showcases this work flawlessly. The production stays out of the way, which allows the music to stand gloriously on its own.

Gray favors us with his impassioned vocals on nine of these tracks. The others have Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and Dave Riley contributing their vocal talents to the mix. Corritore is in fine form throughout, preachin’ the blues with his harp, bringing forth verse after verse to cajole, comfort, and inspire us. There is no dearth of other talent here as well. Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Dave Riley, and Bob Stronger are just some of the exceptional musicians that grace this collection of blues masterworks.

The beauty of these selection’s lies in their power, joy and the honesty with which the musicians have gifted them to us. Make no mistake, these selections are gifts, from the heart and soul of these players, to us. The message they are sending is “Man, oh man! Are we having a blast, or what?” As we listen, that good time becomes infectious, sweeping us up in its grasp. “Let’s Get High” is a party that bursts into the room, and gets us moving. There’s the banter of Tail Dragger teasing Gray, as Gray answers him with gleeful blasts of boogie woogie on “Boogie Woogie Ball.” There’s a nod to Fats Domino in Gray’s playing on “Honey Don’t Let Me Go,” and “I’m in Love Again.” “Can’t Afford to Do It” is a force of nature.

We whole heartedly recommend this album. In fact, we can’t wait for Volume 2.


Blues Matters (October 8, 2015)

The very idea of a nonagenarian (ninety year old) being able to sing with such emotion and clarity is more than extraordinary, Henry Gray is legendary in terms of performing with style and class over seven decades. To put it into context, we are rightly in awe of the fifty year span of the Rolling Stones performing, but to add two further decades to their achievement beggars’ belief. Not only does our maestro Henry sing with aplomb but he rattles the ivories throughout. To say I am in complete awe of the man is an understatement, and not just because of his age. This collection, compiled with a host of bluesmen and another virtuoso Bob Corritore whose reputation in terms of harmonica playing is second to none, making this album a high carat diamond that needs no polishing. There is a host of old and new musical support for the two principal artists, too many to list but the whole contribution makes this album quintessential blues and everyone contributes to this gem. I feel duty bound to pick out a track that epitomises Henry’s capabilities and track eight, Trouble Blues has his singing and piano playing to the fore. That said, there are thirteen other sapphire blue jewels in this crown and if you never buy another blues album then this is the one that ought to feature in any collection.


Jefferson Magazine (Sweden) (October 2015)

90-årige Henry Gray gjorde stor succé på bluesfestivalen i Mönsterås i år, där han bland annat tillsammans med munspelaren Bob Corritore bjöd på en bejublad spelning. På denna CD presenteras de två bluesmännen i 14 olika låtar inspelade mellan 1996 och 2015. Det är en mycket bra platta med företrädesvis Chicagoblues där Henry Gray visar att de gamla takterna sitter i. Han sjunger utmärkt och pianospelet sitter också perfekt. Förutom Gray och Corritore medverkar en lång rad kända bluesmusiker på dessa inspel bingar och på fem låtar är det andra artister än Henry Gray som sjunger. Dessa fem artister är Robert Lockwood Jr, Nappy Brown, Dave Riley, John Brim och Tail Dragger. Men framförallt är detta Henry Grays platta – vilken fantastisk 90-årign!

– Kjell Wikström


Beach Music (October 2015)

California based Delta Groove Productions rereleased the 1971 album, The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions, Volume 1 of Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest. The legendary piano master Henry Gray and harmonica ace Bob Corritore have been actively collaborating since 1996, performing, touring and recording. The album contains fourteen songs selected from twelve different sessions over the nineteen year period. All but four tracks are previously unissued, and Henry sings lead on 9 of the included selections, while Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, Robert Lockwood, Jr., and John Brim provide one vocal each. At the core of each of the songs is Henry Gray on vocals and piano with Bob Corritore on harmonica on all of the tracks of the album. Close to thirty artists in all take part in the sessions, among those who are Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James and Pops MacFarlane. Some of the tracks will be familiar to you, but this time take note of Bob Corritore’s harmonica work. To me, the highlight of the album is Can’t Afford To Do It. The song has the right tempo and fits into the mold of Henry’s greatest hits in our market, How Could You Do It. The album also contains the hit, They Raided The Joint with Bob Corritore on the harp. Other songs of note are Let’s Get High, I’m In Love Again, Henry’s rendition of Fats Domino’s charted hit, Honey Don’t Let Me and Boogie Woogie Ball. The latter two will easily be acceptable to those on the dance floor. Henry Gray hails from Kenner, Louisiana and has been playing piano for more than seven decades. He has more than 58 albums to his credit. The Chicago-born producer/harmonica player Bob Corritore is a lifelong fan of the Blues. In Chicago, Bob began performing at local clubs and formed his own record label. In 1981, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona and formed a band with Louisiana Red. While living in Phoenix, he has produced and recorded on numerous albums with various artists, while performing as a pick-up harmonica player for touring bands like Willie Dixon and Otis Rush. If you overlooked The Henry Gray/Bob Corritore Sessions the first time, don’t overlook the Delta Groove album this time.


La Hora Del Blues (Spain) (November 2015)

A sus noventa años el pianista y cantante Henry Gray es una de las últimas leyendas vivas que nos quedan en el blues. Es especialmente conocido por haber sido durante muchos años el pianista de Howlin’ Wolf, aunque también ha estado presente en grabaciones de artistas representantes del blues de Chicago como Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter o Bo Diddley. Henry Gray apareció también en uno de los documentales que Martin Scorsese dedicó al blues. Más recientemente ha colaborado en grabaciones junto a Floyd Dixon, Pinetop Perkins y Fred Kaplan. Desde 1996 empezó una magnifica relación y colaboración con el armonicista, productor, dj, fan, aficionado, devoto y todo cuanto tenga que ver con los blues, me refiero a Bob Corritore, un hombre que ha dedicado y sigue dedicando su vida a preservar el blues en todas sus formas y facetas. Bob decidió celebrar los noventa años de su amigo publicando éste álbum con catorce canciones de su colección particular recopiladas a lo largo de los años. Entre estas catorce joyas encontramos a Henry y Bob tocando con luminarias de la talla de Robert Jr. Lockwood, Bob Margolin, John Brim, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Nappy Brown o Tail Dragger entre otros. Un álbum de cabecera para cualquier fan del blues que se precie. IMPRESCINDIBLE.

Aged ninety years, piano player and singer Henry Gray is one of the last living legends of the blues. He is especially known as Howlin’ Wolf’s piano player he played with for many years, although he has also participated in recordings of Chicago blues most representative artists as Jimmy Reed, Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter or Bo Diddley. Henry Gray also appeared in one of the documentaries series Martin Scorsese devoted to the blues. More recently he has collaborated in recordings with Floyd Dixon, Pinetop Perkins and Fred Kaplan. Since 1996 he started a great relationship and musical cooperation with harmonica player, producer, dj, fan, lover and involved in everything related with the blues, Mr. Bob Corritore, a man who has devoted his life and follows on working to preserve the blues in all its forms and shapes. Bob decided the best way to celebrate his friend’s ninety birthday anniversary, was to produce this album that includes fourteen songs from his particular collection he has gathered over the years. Among these fourteen jewels we will find Henry and Bob playing with such great luminaries like Robert Jr. Lockwood, Bob Margolin, John Brim, Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Nappy Brown or Tail Dragger among others. This is a bedside album for any blues fan. ESSENTIAL.

– Vicente Zumel


Baltimore Blues Rag (November 2015)

Their first order of business is “Let’s Get High,” a gin-soaked battle cry if ever there was. Immediately, that blast establishes piano legend Henry Gray and go-to harmonicat Bob Corritore’s priority for the next 51 minutes: Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest will enthusiastically honor its title, in full, by bellying up to the bar and pounding shot after shot of old-school South Side blues. Because true to Gray’s longstanding approach—including those 12 defining years rumbling with Howlin’ Wolf—blues is a participation sport. So choruses are kept simple, curt, and eminently sing-alongable. That way you can actively contribute to the rowdiness of “They Raided the Joint” or “That Ain’t Right,” even if you have liquidly respected the album’s opening decree. And the music remains bigboned and propulsive at all times, whether grinding slowly (“Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest”) or grinding a bit less slowly (“Can’t Afford to Do It”). Never, however, do they rock, pop, funk, or soul out. And in this be-all-things age of meltingpot fusion, that’s a high blues compliment. But the Gray-Corritore connection isn’t even the half of it. Accumulated over a 12-session, 19-year span beginning in 1996, this cohesive jumble of ensemble-minded romps (only four of which have ever been heard) boasts a guest list overflowing with name guitarists and bassists. Yet the gutbucket heroes are deeppocket drummers like Chico Chism and Steve Cushing, who make “Trouble Blues” lurch and “I’m Gonna Miss You” lunge. And while Gray does nearly all of the boisterous hollering, John Brim, Nappy Brown, and Tail Dragger each rough up a song while leaving “Ramblin’ on My Mind” for Robert Lockwood to rightfully claim. But amid all the comings-and-goings, there are always three key constants: Gray tamps out rat-a-tat-tat piano, Corritore dynamically burrows or barges his harp through, and the spirited racket is nonstop. What could be better? That this is only Volume 1.

– DENNIS ROZANSKI


Soul Bag Magazine (France) (December 2015)

Volume inaugural d’une série très attendue, lancé á la fois pour marquer les 90 ans du chanteur et pianiste Henry Gray, et les presque vingt ans de sa collaboration débutée en 1996 avec l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore. Disons-le d’emblée car cela importe, il ne s’agit pas d’une sélection de plus ne comportant que des titres déjá présents sur des disques passés, car pas moins de dix sur quatorze sont des inédits… Ils permettent d’abord de s’apercevoir que Gray reste étourdissant au piano, et que son áge n’affecte pas trop son chant volontaire. Quant á Corritore, outre son talent intrinsèque á l’instrument, il a tou-jours cette capacité d’adaptation dans toutes les circonstances, sans jamais trop en faire tout en s’appuyant sur une palette vraiment très étendue. La collection propose d’entendre des artistes aujourd’hui disparus comme Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (“Let’s Get High”), Robert Lockwood Jr. (“Ramblin’ On My Mind”), Nappy Brown (“Worried Life Blues”) et John Brim (“That Ain’t Right”). Mais les “vivants” Sont également á leur avantage, ainsi Dave Riley sur le shuffle efficace “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight”, et le boogie détonant “Boogie Woogie Ball” emmené par Tail Dragger. Et je ne cite que les chaunteurs, mais les musiciens de valeur song légion, Bob Margolin, Johnny Rapp, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher et autres Chris James se succédant á la guitare, par exemple. Il y a certes des reprises mais aussi les compositions signées Gray “Blues Won’t Let me Take My Rest,” “I’m Gonna Miss You”), c’est du blues moderne d’excellent niveau, interprété certes avec professionnalisme mais également avec beaucoup d’envie, d’intensité et de dynamisme. On attend impatiemment la suite…

– Daniel Léon


Twoj Blues Review (Poland) (December 2015)

Gray to żywa historia bluesa. W latach 50. i 60. gral przez dwanaście lat z Howlin’ Wolfem, będąc jednocześnie rozchwytywanym muzykiem sesyjnym. A potem na piętnaście lat pozostal poza życiem muzycznym. Gdy powrócil, wciąż nie byl zapomniany. Występowal na największych i prestizówych festiwalach, tak w USA jak i w Europie. Wydal kilka plyt. W styczniu skończyl 90 lat i wciąż koncertuje po świecie. Ten album prezentuje Gray’a w dwunastu utworach pochodzących z różnorodnych sesji, jakie w ciągu ostatnich 20 lat odbywal w Phoenix przy pomocy Corritore a. Ten śpiewający pianista wciąż potrafi zaskakiwać swą witalnością muzynczną i życiową. Na czternaście utworów, śpiewa w dziewięciu z nich, grając na pianinie we wszystkich. Corritore na tych sesjach zadbal nie tylko o bardzo atrakcyjny zestaw kompozycji, ale i też świetnych muzyków towarzyszących. A jest ich aż dwudziestu dziewięciu. Wśród nich m.in. Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Bob Stroger, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher i inni. W pięciu utworach śpiewają też legendarni muzycy, Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tai Dragger oraz Dave Riley. śmietanka muzyków sesyjnych zapewnia Gray owi komfort gry. Sporo tu podkręconych rytmicznie utworów, tanecznego boogie i shuffles. Generalnie to muzyka o sporej “czystości” bluesowej. Przeważa co oczywiste, chicagowski tradycyjny blues elektryczny, ale są też wzcieczki w stronę jump bluesa czy klimatu luizjan’skiego. Te nagrania zapewne przetrwają próbę czasu. Przesiąknięte niczym niezmąconą tradycją, pokazują, że blues wciąż ma się dobrze, o czym świadczy ta niezwykla plyta. Wraz z Corritore, Gray dal nam piękny prezent muzyczny na swoje 90-lecie. Znakomity zestaw bluesa.

– Piotr Gwizdala


Blues News Kentuckiana (December 2015)

A lot of us blues lovers know the name Henry Gray, but may not know too much about him. He has had an interesting and long career, starting when he left the service after World War II (He served in the Philippines) and moved to Chicago. A pianist and student of Big Maceo, he began playing clubs and later became a session musician for Jimmy Rogers, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Bo Diddley, Billy Boy Arnold, and Howlin’ Wolf. He jointed Wolf’s band in 1956 where he remained for 12 years.

After leaving Wolf’s band, Gray returned to his home base in Kenner Louisiana where he was born (in 1925). In 1988, he returned to Chicago to record his debut domestic album with Blind Pig, called “Lucky Man”. The guitarist Steve Freund produced and played on the release.

In 1996, Gray recorded “Plays Chicago Blues” with several artists including Bob Corritore, Bob Margolin, and Kid Ramos. The friendship with Bob Corritore has lasted since then and now Corritore, to celebrate Gray’s 90th birthday, has released this CD of 14 songs recorded over a 19 year period. All but 4 of the tracks are previously unissued. Notable guests on the sessions read like a who’s who of blues artists: Robrt Lockwood Jr., Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger, Dave Riley, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, and others.

The songs include jump blues, boogie woogie, and shuffles and most include Gray’s vocals which have that unmistakable deep gravelly sound. Corritore’s harp is a perfect fit for all of the songs.

Hats off to Gray for a long and entertaining career and to Corritore for realizing it and recording it for us.


Blues Magazine (Year End List)

#11 Henry Gray And Bob Corritore – Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest

Chicago blues’ greatest living pianist and one-time Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf sideman Henry Gray has been collaborating with Bob Corritore, the world’s finest harp player, for a couple of decades. This addictive release brought together a number of recordings cut over the past 19 years. While Gray handled the vocals on most of the tracks, guest singers included Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and Robert Lockwood Jr. This record was a blast from beginning to end.


101 Blues Llegar (Year End List)

(#2 in top 12 listing of 2015 blues releases)

A veces nos preguntamos si Corritore tiene tiempo para alguna otra actividad que no sea la concerniente al blues en la que aborda diferentes facetas como la de locutor, productor, dueño de un club y armoniquista.
Este año se ha despachado celebrando los noventa años de una leyenda del Barrelhouse Piano y participe fundamental de la banda del gran Lobo Aullador como lo es Henry Gray. Durante 19 años y por espacio de doce sesiones estas joyas liberadas han tenido el privilegio de ser acompañadas por una lista de ilustres músicos de blues que ayudan mas a convertir este primer volumen en una masterpiece como las que se realizaban antaño.

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