Bob Corritore & Friends – Women In Blues Showcase Reviews

Reviews from these publications are listed below in chronological order. Scroll to see all reviews.

BITS Magazine (Australia)
Blues Roadhouse
Chicago Blues Guide
Concert Monkey (Belgium)
Paris Move (France)
PhillyCheeze’s Rock & Blues Reviews
Rock Doctor
Roots Music Report
Sound Guardian (Croatia)
Zicazine (France)

Blues Roadhouse (April 5, 2023)

Blues harpmeister and archivist Bob Corritore seems to have everything in his musical vaults except Jimmy Hoffa.

He never seems to have any trouble finding enough fine music from his archives to put together an enjoyable album filled with outstanding blues by some of its best practitioners.

This time, it’s a very special “Women In Blues Showcase,” with a special variety of singers whose voices and songs cover a range of blues styles.

The eight women who contribute the 12 tracks are: Barbara Lynn, Carol Fran, Koko Taylor, Francine Reed, Diunna Greenleaf, Valerie June, Shy Perry, and Aliya Primer (John Primer’s daughter, 17, with her first recording).

The musicians on these songs are multitudinous (see the credits below) as well as magical. Corritore has a knack for capturing some of the best blues performers as they’ve passed through his Rhythm Room club in Phoenix since it opened in 1991. Those recordings make up the archives for his ambitious “From the Vaults” series.

The musicians, songs and styles in the archives are varied, but the constant musical theme is Chicago blues, underlined by Corritore’s tough, versatile harmonica work throughout. He manages to stand out musically, and at the same time, blend into a perfect background for each individual artist. His harp work helps punctuate the songs.

Those artists, and their songs here, are: Barbara Lynn, “You’re Gonna Be Sorry” — Carol Fran, “I Just Need A Friend” — Valerie June, “Crawdad Hole” — Koko Taylor, “What Kind Of Man Is This” — Shy Perry, “Wang Dang Doodle” — Diunna Greenleaf, “Be For Me” — Aliya Primer, “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu’” — Carol Fran, “I Needs To Be Be’d With” — Diunna Greenleaf, “Don’t Mess With The Messer” — Barbara Lynn, “You Don’t Have To Go” — Carol Fran, “Walkin’ Slipping’ And Slidin’” — Francine Reed, “Why Am I Treated So Bad.”

Each artist offers a unique style, and each song shows off that style, making for a terrific collection good old-fashioned blues, leaning heavily on its Chicago roots.

Except for Aliya Primer, who is just 17 and making a sparkling recording debut with “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu,” the others are, or were, veteran performers. Sadly, Koko Taylor and Carol Fran are no longer with us, but their voices linger as testimony to their greatness. It’s not clear when each of these recordings was made, but the vocals are powerful blues statements.

In an interesting twist, Shy Perry shines on the raucous “Wang Dang Doodle,” which had become a signature song for Taylor, and Taylor makes her own powerful statement with “What Kind Of Man Is This.”

Diunna Greenleaf and Francine Reed are two big-voiced blueswomen and their traditionally tough vocals stand out here. Valerie June, a singer who is equally in folk and country, gives “Crawdad Hole” a delicious old-timey feel.

If I may digress for just a minute, I want to offer my own experiences with Taylor and Reed. Koko Taylor turned up at Pittsburgh-area clubs way back when, and you could always count on her to lift you out of your seats. My photo at left is from her 2008 Chicago Blues Festival appearance, about a year before her death.

I saw Francine Reed, once, in the summer of 1999 at Atlanta’s gorgeous Chastain Park amphitheater, when she was featured with Lyle Lovett’s Large Band. Her performance of the 1924 Ida Cox song, “Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues,” was one of those unforgettably hair-raising, spine-tingling musical moments that never quite dissolve in time.

But back to work. This is a thoughtfully produced, highly enjoyable selection of songs from a handful of great blues singers, some of whom may not have had the recognition that equals their talents. Put this on your playlist, and check out more of the great music from these women.

– Jim White

PhillyCheeze’s Rock & Blues Reviews (April 6, 2023)

I’m always looking forward to the next Bob Corritore & Friends album.  His reach is quite long when it comes to his blues connections.  Featuring a dozen recordings with Bob playing harmonica with artists Francine ReedCarol FranShy PerryDiunna GreanleafAliya PrimerBarbara LynnKoko Taylor, and Valerie June, this Women in Blues Showcase is a huge delight. 

One of my favorite artists today is Valerie June, and I am filled with joy to hear a collaboration with her on the timeless classic “Crawdad Hole”.  Valerie’s angelic vocals paired with Corritore’s perfectly paired harmonica accompaniment is country-blues at its best.  With Bob Margolin on guitar, the growling vocals of the late great Koko Taylor ring loud and fearless on “What Kind of Man is This”.  It’s served on an unescapable groove.  Shy Perry and her father Bill “Howlin’ Madd” Perry pitch a juke-joint “Wang Dang Doodle” that lasts all night long.  I absolutely love this one. Another daughter-father duo Aliya Primer and John Primer busts out some funky blues with “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu”.  John doles out a smokin’ guitar performance and it sounds great.  I really enjoy listening to Diunna Greenleaf, and her horn-infused take on the Willie Dixon-penned “Don’t Mess with the Messer” is a fantastic production with Fred Kaplin on piano, and Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar.  The album closes out with Francine Reed soulfully singing the Staples’ hit “Why Am I Treated So Bad”.  Corritore adds a smokey aura to the song on harp while Kid Ramos and Johnny Main add more fuel to the fire on guitar.   

Bob Corritore & Friends Women in Blues Showcase is yet another highly-recommended album from the desk of Phillycheeze.  It hits all the necessary marks.                     

– Phillip Smith

Paris Move (France) (April 9, 2023)

Si Gertrude Pridgett (passée à la postérité en tant que Ma Rainey) est désormais considérée comme la “mère du blues”, force est pourtant d’admettre que son rejeton ne se distingue que rarement pour sa bienveillance envers les femmes. Si un piètre musicien mâle ne put longtemps tromper son monde en tentant de compenser ses lacunes par son pouvoir de séduction (on parle d’un temps que les moins de vingt ans ne peuvent connaître), ses homologues féminines se voient toujours administrer la double exigence du charme ET de la compétence. Demandez donc à Ana Popovic, Sue Foley ou Whitney Shay ce qu’elles en pensent… Elles vous répondront toutes que (davantage même que dans d’autres domaines artistiques ou professionnels), une femme doit de nos jours encore faire preuve d’une détermination et d’une capacité de travail supérieures à celles d’un homme pour survivre dans les méandres du show-biz. Heureux pour sa part en ménage, le légendaire harmoniciste Bob Corritore nous gratifie cette fois, dans le cadre de sa série “From The Vaults”, d’une douzaine d’extraits de ses conséquentes archives, figurant les performances de huit chanteuses et musiciennes captées dans les studios Tempest de Phoenix (à une exception près). Et dès le “You’re Gonna Be Sorry” (issu du même terreau swamp que Lazy Lester) qu’interprète la chanteuse et guitariste texane (et gauchère) Barbara Lynn (reprenant aussi à son compte le “You Don’t Have To Go” de Jimmy Reed) et les “I Just Need A Friend” et “I Needs To Be Be’d With You” de la Louisianaise Carol Fran, on comprend que la plupart de ces ladies en ont encore gros sur la patate. Heureusement, de jeunes pétroleuses telles que Valerie June (from Memphis) témoignent également d’un tempérament bien trempé, selon le modèle de la queen bee Koko Taylor (apparaissant ici avec son “What Kind Of Man Is This”, enregistré à Chicago avec un Corritore s’y lovant dans le sillage de Walter Horton). C’est le “Wang Dang Doodle” de Willie Dixon (que popularisèrent Howlin’ Wolf et la Koko en question) que dynamite à son tour la moins connue Shy Perry, avec une impressionnante furia. La grande Diunna Greenleaf interprète quant à elle son bouleversant “Be For Me”, ainsi que le “Don’t Mess With The Messer” de Dixon (avec le honkin’ saxophone de Doug James et Fred Kaplan au piano). La propre fille de John Primer, Aliya, dépote en beauté le “Tee Ni Nee Ni Nu” de Slim Harpo, avec pour soutien les guitare alertes de son papa et de Jimi “Primetime” Smith, ainsi que les ivoires d’Anthony Geraci. Carol Fran revient avec le rhythm n’ blues cuivré louisianais “Walkin’ Slippin’ And Slidin’” (où pianote Tom Mahan, tandis que Doug James y double seul les parties de cuivres), avant que la puissante Francine Reed ne conclue sur le “Why Am I Treated So Bad” de Pops Staples, où s’illustrent avec le même brio les guitares fulgurantes et réverbérées de Kid Ramos et Johnny Main. Une fois encore, blues ain’t nothing but a good woman feeling bad, mais le plus injuste n’est-il pas à quel point cela nous fait du bien?

– Patrick Dallongeville

Concert Monkey (Belgium) (April 15, 2023)

Bob Corritore is een Amerikaans mondharmonicaspeler, die op 27 september 1956 in Chicago werd geboren. Zijn leven veranderde voorgoed wanneer hij op twaalfjarige leeftijd voor het eerst Muddy Waters hoorde op de radio. In minder dan één jaar leerde hij mondharmonica spelen. Bob zocht contact met de grote harpspelers, zoals Big Walter Horton, Little Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Junior Wells, Big John Wrencher en Carey Bell. Van hen kreeg hij veel mondharmonica tips en aanmoedigingen. In 1981 verhuisde Bob naar Phoenix, Arizona, waar hij in 1986 begon samen te werken met voormalig Howlin’ Wolf drummer Chico Chism. Die samenwerking duurde twintig jaar, tot Chico in 2007 overleed. In 1991 opende Bob de inmiddels beroemde blues & roots club, The Rhythm Room en in 1999 bracht hij zijn debuutalbum ‘All-Star Blues Sessions’ uit. In 2005 bracht Bob de Rhythm Room All-Stars, met Big Pete Pearson, naar het Marco Fiume Blues Passions Festival in Italië. Hierdoor kwam er heel wat Europese interesse voor het vurig mondharmonica spel van Bob Corritore. In 2007 ontving Bob een Keeping The Blues Alive Award van de Blues Foundation. In datzelfde jaar werd ‘Travelin’ The Dirt Road’, een samenwerking met Dave Riley, genomineerd voor een Blues Music Award. In 2011 won het album ‘Harmonica Blues’ van Bob Corritore & Friends een Blues Music Award voor Best Historical Blues Release. In 2013 werd ‘Ain’t Nothing You Can Do’, de schitterende samenwerking met John Primer, gekozen tot Best Blues Album Of 2013 door het Duitse Blues News Magazine. Een jaar later kreeg Corritore ook een Blues 411 Jimi Award als Beste Mondharmonicaspeler. In mei 2020 verscheen ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’, de derde samenwerking tussen Bob Corritore en John Primer. In het najaar van 2020 verschenen nog drie albums van Bob Corritore in de reeks ‘From The Vault Series’. Ook op zijn album ‘Spider In My Stew’ uit 2021 nodigde Bob Corritore weer een hele reeks gasten uit. Sugaray Rayford, Lurrie Bell, John Primer, Alabama Mike, Diunna Greenleaf, Francine Reed, Johnny Rawls, Oscar Wilson, Willie Buch, Bill & Shy Perry, Bob Stroger, Bob Margolin, Junior Watson, Kid Ramos, Johnny Main, Jimi Smith en Adrianna Marie zijn er een paar van. In de reeks Bob Corritore’s ‘From The Vaults’ verscheen op 18 februari 2022 ‘Tell Me ‘Bout It’ van Louisiana Red en Bob Corritore. In maart 2022 verscheen  ‘Down Home Blues Revue’ van Bob Corritore & Friends. In september 2022 verscheen het derde album van Bob dat jaar. Het kreeg als titel ‘You Schoked Me’ en bevat zestien songs, die tussen 2018 en 2022 opgenomen zijn tijdens een twaalftal sessies in de Tempest Studios in Tempe, Arizona. In de reeks ‘Bob Corritore & Friends’ verscheen op 31 maart ‘Women In Blues Showcase’. Zoals de titel al laat vermoeden zijn het deze keer allemaal vrouwelijke blueszangeressen die hun medewerking verlenen. 

Dat Bob Corritore veel vrienden heeft in het muzikale circuit wisten we al langer en dat is ook op ‘Women In Blues Showcase’ duidelijk te merken. Liefst acht zangeressen, zes bassisten, zeven drummers, zeven gitaristen, drie pianisten, drie backing zangeressen en één saxofonist zijn samen met Bob Corritore te horen op dit nieuwe album. In de energieke uptempo opener ‘You’re Gonna Be Sorry’ horen we de nu eenentachtigjarige Barbara Lynn op zang en gitaar. Barbara Lynn is een Afro-Amerikaanse zangeres die de meeste van haar eigen nummers schreef en een leadinstrument bespeelt. Ze kende haar grootste successen in jaren zestig, zeventig en tachtig. ‘You’re Gonna Be Sorry’ werd geschreven door Billy en Bobby Babineaux en Barbara nam het op voor haar album ‘The Barbara Lynn Story’ uit 1967. In deze aantrekkelijke rhythm & blues song strooit Corritore gretig rond met opwindende mondharmonica loopjes. Ook de door Johnny Reed geschreven bluesballade ‘You Don’t Have To Go’ wordt door Lara Lynn gezongen Ze zingt het nummer met veel passie en met veel emotie in haar stem. Het is de titeltrack van haar in 1984 verschenen album. Carol Fran die in 2021 stierf aan Covid 19 compicaties zingt op dit album drie songs. Ze schreef zelf de emotionele bluesballade  ‘I Just Found A Friend’, waarin ze ook nog piano voor haar rekening neemt. Corritore schittert met een knappe solo op zijn mondharmonica. ‘I Needs To Be’d With’ schreef Carol samen met Clarence Hollimon. Ze namen het in 1992 op voor hun gezamenlijk album ‘Soul Sensation!’. Carol heeft een prachtige soulvolle stem en instrumentaal is het genieten van de schitterende solo’s van Corritore op de mondharmonica en Johnny Rapp op gitaar. Het heel dansbare ‘Walkin’ Slippin’ And Slidin” is een heel herkenbaar nummer, met een uitstekende Tom Mahan op piano, Doug James op saxofoon en de altijd aanwezige Corritore op zijn mondharmonica. 

Met de eenenveertigjarige Valerie June krijgen we een veel jongere stem tijdens ‘Crawdad Hole’. Valerie June is een Amerikaanse zangeres, songwriter en multi instrumentaliste. Haar sound bevat een mix van folk, blues, gospel, soul, country, Appalachian en bluegrass. Op dit album zingt Valerie de traditional ‘Crawdad Hole’. Dit Afro Amerikaans bluesnummer werd naar alle waarschijnlijkheid voor het eerst gezongen door de arbeiders die dijken bouwden om de overstroming van de Mississippi in het zuiden te voorkomen. Instrumentaal begeleidt Valerie zichzelf met haar akoestische gitaar. Op een kort stukje mondharmonica na is dit ook het enige instrument op ‘Crawdad Hole’. Valerie beschikt over een prachtige, ietwat ongewone stem. Een stem die elke bluesliefhebber herkent is deze van de Queen Of The Blues Koko Taylor. Zij brengt het zelf geschreven ‘What Kind Of Man Is This’, een nummer uit haar album ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ uit 1990.  ‘What Kind Of Man Is This’ is een Chicago bluesnummer waarin Corritore met zijn mondharp het gehele nummer uitstekend en uitdrukkelijk aanwezig is. We spraken zonet over Koko’s album ‘Wang Dang Doodle’. Het door Willie Dixon geschreven ‘Wang Dang Doodle’ is eveneens de titeltrack van dat album. Het werd eerst uitgebracht door Howlin’ Wolf, maar het werd pas echt bekend in de versie van Koko Taylor. Op dit album  wordt het gebracht door Shy Perry, dochter van bluesmuzikant Bill Howlnmadd Perry. In 2019 won Shy Perry nog de Award Artist Of The Year op de Josie Music Awards in de rhythm and blues/soul categorie. Haar versie is iets sneller en een bij momenten licht grommende Shy Perry zingt het lied met veel overgave en overtuiging. 

Het wordt rustiger wanneer de nu vijfenzestigjarige Diunna Greenleaf haar zelf geschreven ‘Be For Me’ brengt. Op de Blues Music Awards 2014 won ze de Koko Taylor Award voor beste vrouwelijke blueszangeres. We krijgen een heel andere Diunna Greenlauf te horen in het swingende, door Willie Dixon, geschreven ‘Don’t Mess With The Messer’. Een grommende en energieke Diunna waarschuwt dat er niet met haar moet gesold worden. De pittige mondharmonica en saxofoon solo zorgen voor het instrumentale genot. Met het swingende ‘Te Ni Nee Ni Nu’ krijgen we een prachtige samenwerking tussen vader en dochter Primer. Vader John Primer is onweerstaanbaar goed op de gitaar en dochter Aliya Primer beschikt over een erg goede en frisse stem. Halfweg moedigt Alya Bob Corritore aan om het beste van zichzelf te geven op de mondharmonica. Met het donkere ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad’ sluit Francine Reed het album af. De gruizige mondharmonica en het spooky gitaarwerk passen perfect bij de sfeer van het nummer. Bob Corritore heeft op zijn album ‘Women In Blues Showcase’ heel wat fantastische zangeressen samen gebracht. Zelf is Bob een geweldige mondharmonicaspeler en dat etaleert hij andermaal op dit album.  (7,5/10)

– Walter Vanheuckelom

Rock Doctor (April 15, 2023)

****+ (four plus stars)

Bob Corritore’s “From The Vaults” series has thus far been richly rewarding, but he’s outdone himself this time. Women In Blues Showcase is a series of great recordings with spectacular blues women that cover a wide stylistic spectrum- this is essential blues.

Some names involved in WIBS you might know, others maybe not.  The queen of the blues Koko Taylor is here, along with Gulf Coast legends Barbara Lynn and Carol Fran, Francine Reed from Phoenix who has toured for years with Lyle Lovett’s band, Diunna Greenleaf from Houston, Tennessee’s Valerie June, Mississippi’s Shy Perry and Alita Primer, daughter of Chicago blues legend John Primer; featured here on her first recording at the age of 17.  Once this thing starts rolling it’s quickly apparent you’re in for something special.

Women In Blues Showcase was recorded during 11 sessions between 2001 and 2022.  It was produced by Bob Corritore along with Clarke Rigsby who recorded the sessions, along with John Worble who also mixed and mastered the album.  The back cover of the disc lists who played on what, a list is far too lengthy to include here.  It’s no small wonder that, with as many musicians and singers taking part over the years, the record hangs together this well.  It feel like there’s a groovin’ house band laying it down in the studio while all the singers hang out in the control room, waiting for their turn to go out into the room and burn the place down.

Corritore has recorded all of these amazing singers with great sensitivity to their stylistic and personal individuality, his harp playing a delicious counterpoint to some powerful vocal performances.  Women In Blues Showcase rolls like it was recorded over a couple of weeks instead of decades, with a handful of players instead of half the friggin’ phonebook. This is the best (so far) in an already breathtaking series and absolutely vital for every blues fan.

– John Kereiff

Sound Guardian (Croatia) (April 17, 2023)

Kao što je i najavljivao, Bob Corritore je 31. ožujka, preko izdavačke kuće VizzTone Label Group i uz radijsku promociju BratGirl media, ponudio novi glazbeni dokument: “Women In Blues” iz njegove serije “From The Vaults”.

Napisao bih onako, odmah na prvu, direkt u glavu, raritetne i vrlo nadahnute, sjajne snimke respektabilnih blues dama, od legendarne Koko Taylor do mlađahne 17 godišnje Aliye Primer, kćeri velikana čikaškog bluesa Johna Primera.

Ovo izdanje pokriva široki zemljopisni i stilski spektar dama koje izvode blues. Naravno, uz sve je bio Bob na “usnjaku” prateći i dajući potporu ovim sjajnim ženama, koje tako zdušno izvode blues. Svi mi koji volimo ovaj glazbeni stil, jako dobro znamo kako dame mogu biti “opake” kada je u pitanju blues.

Legende Gulf Coasta Barbare Lynn i Carol Fran, preko teškog Chicago Bluesa Koko Taylor, dobro poznate kao Queen of the Blues i Phoenixove soul/blues/gospel dive, Francine Reed do spektakularne vokalno moćne Diunne Greenleaf iz Houstona i nježne glazbene opojnosti Valerie June iz Tennesseeja tipične zvijezde u usponu na američkoj sceni, koja je započela s uličnim autobusom na King Biscuit Blues Festivalu, pa do Shy Perry iz Mississippija čije je ime i stas itekako snažno donosi ono što pjeva i naravno, tu je već spomenuta Aliye Primer.

Bob Corritore je zabilježio sve te divne umjetnice s velikom osjetljivošću na njihovu stilsku i osobnu individualnost i neporecivu glazbenu – vokalnu osobnost. Nema nikakve dvojbe kada poslušate ovu kolekciju doista spektakularnih ženskih glasova, koje sve zajedno pokazuju apsolutno neporecivu snagu i suptilnu i tako osnažujuću ranjivost ženskog glasa! U najmanju ruku impresivno!

Kako se pjesme redaju sve više i više obuzima me onaj poznati osjećaj kada znam da je pred mojim istinski glazbeni dokument, koji u svakom svom segmentu ukazuje na činjenicu da se radi o istinskom dragulju.

Žene u bluesu iako značajno zastupljene ipak traže i trebaju konstantnu potporu i onaj tzv.” poguranac” ili “vjetar u leđa”. Ovo što je i ovaj puta učinio Bob je hvale vrijedno djelo, potez ili nazovite to kako želite, ali morate znati jednu činjenicu da žene to u bluesu doista i trebaju. I stoga Bob je definitivno učinio pravu stvar!


Nakon višekratnog preslušavanja albuma “Women In Blues” bilo je očigledno da je Bob Corritore po tko zna koji puta povukao pravi potez, a da je pri tome ostao svoj, ostao dosljedan sebi i svojim principima i da je ostao samozatajan i potpuno razuman. Nevjerojatno! To itekako poštujem i cijenim. Pred svima nama je definitivno respektabilan glazbeni dokument koji svjedoči o bogatoj prošlosti, ali i sigurnoj i mirnoj budućnosti kada je u pitanju blues. Još jednom svaka čast Bob!

A evo što o svemu kaže Valerie June: It is such an incredible honor to be featured alongside so many of my role models in blues like Koko Taylor and Barbara Lynn.In listening to the music of Bob Corritore, listeners are greeted by a stellar musician who fearlessly shows respect for the elders on the musical path while lifting up new and younger artists like me.His work is constantly bringing artists together, and the Women in Blues he’s chosen for this compilation are beyond deserving of this appreciation.

Yours bluesy,
Mladen Loncar – Mike

Roots Music Report (April 23, 2023)

4 Stars. Harp-meister Bob Corritore’s archival stash yields yet another tasty assemblage, this one showcasing first-rate female talent.  Koko Taylor’s highly Willie Dixon-esque original “What Kind Of Man Is This” is a safe airplay bet as is Diunna Greenleaf’s ferocious work on Mr. Dixon’s own “Don’t Mess With The Messer”. Other highlights include Valerie June’s roots-bound take on the traditional “Crawdad Hole” and Carol Fran’s old-school delivery on her ballad “I Just Need A Friend”.  An arguably best-for-last entry is Francine Reed’s smoldering reading of Pops Staple’s “Why Am I Treated So Bad”.  Of course, Mr. Corritore’s savvy, sturdy harmonica work appears in abundance.

Zicazine (France) (April 30, 2023)

Il est incontestablement un des artistes les plus prolixes de sa génération et ce n’est pas sans raison qu’on le remarque sur plus d’une centaine d’albums, que ce soit en tant que meneur de formation ou au contraire de sideman de luxe pour les plus grosses pointures américaines du blues, mais aussi à la radio où il animera durant toute sa carrière diverses émissions, et bien évidemment dans son club des faubourgs de Phoenix, le très fameux Rhythm Room où les meilleurs musiciens de blues du monde se sont produits et se produisent encore. Instigateur de la collection « From The Vaults » dans laquelle il compile ses très nombreuses archives, l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore a décidé d’apporter un rayon de soleil sur le printemps 2023 en proposant « Women In Blues Showcase », un nouveau volume sur lequel il rassemble des pistes où l’on peut reconnaitre des chanteuses prestigieuses comme la regrettée Reine du Blues, Koko Taylor, mais aussi comme Barbara Lynn, Francine Reed, Diunna Greenleaf, Valerie June, Carol Fran, Shy Perry ou encore Aliya Primer, la fille de John Primer, qui avait procédé à son premier enregistrement avec ce « Te Ni Nee Ni Nu » alors qu’elle n’était âgée que de dix-sept ans. On soulignera forcément des versions épatantes, et baignées bien évidemment des harmonicas toujours très inspirés de l’artiste, de classiques comme « You’re Gonna Be Sory » et « You Don’t Have To Go » avec Barbara Lynn, « What Kind Of Man Is This » magnifiquement chantée par Koko Taylor, « Wang Dang Doodle » interprété par Shy Perry, « Walkin’ Slipping’ And Slidin’ » featuring Carol Fran ou encore « Crawdad Hole » par l’artiste de Memphis qui n’en finit plus de monter, Valerie June. Ajoutez une multitude de musiciens prestigieux comme Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, John Primer, Anthony Geraci, Bob Stroger, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Brian Fahey et nombre d’autres encore et vous obtenez un témoignage pour la postérité de ce que le blues peut proposer de mieux. Une écoute en boucle s’impose

– Fred DeForge

BITS Magazine (Australia) (May 2023)

It’s hard to keep up with all the releases that Bob puts out from his ‘From the Vaults’ series although most of them are very good – and this one is no exception. All feature his excellent harp playing but this one features all female singers out front – from Chicago blues veteran Koko Taylor to the 17-year old daughter of bluesman John Primer, Aliya Primer. Barbara Lynn gets us underway with a rocking 12-bar ‘You’re Gonna Be Sorry’ then Carol Fran steps up for a gentle slow blues ‘I Just Need a Friend’ and with ‘Crawdad Hole’ Valerie June delivers a marvellous acoustic blues with lovely harp from Bob. As you’d expect we get classic Chicago blues from Koko Taylor on ‘What Kind of Man Is This’ and Shy Perry also does a great job on Koko’s ‘Wang Dang Doodle’.

I loved Diunna Greenleaf’s relaxed, delicate vocals on ‘Be For Me’ but on ‘Don’t Mess with a Messer’ she really belts it out on this jump blues and Carol Fran is back for a Muddy-style blues ‘I Needs To Be Be’d With’ and also a New Orleans-flavoured ‘Walkin’ Slippin’ and Slidin’. And more sounds from Louisiana with ‘Te Ni Nee Ni Nu’ by young Aliya Primer. Barbara Lynn returns for a loping authentic take on Jimmy Reed’s ‘You Don’t Have to Go’ and Francine Reed fronts The Staples’ reverb-laden ‘Why Am I Treated So Bad?’ with superb lead guitar from Kid Ramos.

For some reason I wasn’t expecting too much from this record but I REALLY enjoyed it, great playing from Bob himself and also his extensive cast of backing musicians featuring Chicago veterans like Bob Margolin and Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith, as well as West Coast-based players such as Fred Kaplan and Kid Ramos. Not forgetting the singers out front – all of them really killed it – if you like classic mainstream blues get this record you won’t be disappointed, these may not be the biggest names in blues but they all deliver top notch performances.

– Graham Harrison

Chicago Blues Guide (May 2, 2023)

It seems fitting that Bob Corritore’s latest “from the vaults” compilation Women in Blues Showcase dropped on March 31st, which was the final day of Women’s History Month. On this CD, his first to feature an all-female cast, the harmonica ace pays homage to a diverse line-up of dynamic blues women he has collaborated with when they come to town for gigs at Corritore’s own Rhythm Room in Phoenix.

While Corritore hails from the Chicago area, he’s been in the Arizona desert for a few decades now and has kept in contact with blues artists from every corner of the world. Luckily for us musical history buffs, Corritore had the foresight to capture all these magical moments by artists in peak form for posterity.

Although Corritore has been quite prolific on the CD release front, he said that Women in Blues Showcase “has a different vibe than any of the other things I’ve done. It has such a cool women power component to it.” He added, “all of the passion that the women sing with is just unmasked and right there.”

There certainly is a fantastic showcase of fine performances by women from every spectrum of the blues rainbow on this remarkable release. There’s Koko Taylor singing about “What Kind of Man is This” and 17-year-old Aliya Primer making her blues debut with a powerful rendition of “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu.” Carol Fran, Barbara Lynn, Valerie June, Shy Perry, Diunna Greenleaf and Francine Reed are also featured on Women in Blues Showcase.

Ever the blues historian, Corritore certainly has his share of riveting stories about many of the featured artists on this CD. When asked about his association with Koko Taylor, he recalls sneaking in at the age of 18 to see her play at the old Biddy Mulligan’s bar in Chicago. He added that, “Koko was the first act I saw there and was awestruck by her.” He said Koko was “such a kind soul and let me play with her band for a couple of numbers.” Corritore still has Taylor’s phone number on a well-worn scrap of paper!

As their friendship and musical collaboration evolved, Taylor asked Corritore if he would be interested in touring with the band. But, when he broached the subject to his parents, it didn’t fly since they wanted him to stay in college. Corritore said, “I was so embarrassed by this that I didn’t even call her back.”

Flash forward to Corritore’s Rhythm Room years later where he booked Taylor for gigs there. But he still had unfinished business on the recording front, so Corritore approached Alligator Records owner Bruce Iglauer to “try and make this thing happen.” He was able to record Taylor “with all these heavyweights” at Chicago’s Rax Trax Studio when they were in town for the city’s annual Blues Festival. This is the only track on Women in Blues Showcase that wasn’t recorded in Phoenix.

Corritore recalled that being around Taylor’s “cool energy was really powerful and positive” and the fourth track “What Kind of Man Is This” adds credence to this statement. When you hear Taylor belting out “I like it, I like it” it’s apparent that the Queen of Blues is having a fine time with her band of “heavyweight” musicians that includes Corritore on harp, Bob Margolin and Frank Krakowski on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums.

While Koko Taylor is the undisputed “Queen of the Blues,” Corritore has also collaborated with a slew of newer blues artists like Shy Perry, Valerie June, and Aliya Primer. If the last name rings a bell, it’s because her father is none other than John Primer, who is a frequent visitor at Corritore’s place in Phoenix.

Although Primer is all of 17 and “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu” was her very first studio recording, Corritore recalled that she “came in like an old pro and took charge because after all, she is a Primer.” He added that, “she went in and did what she needed to do and just knocked it out!”

This track also offers a knock-out cast of backing musicians including Corritore on harp, John Primer and Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass, drummer Wes Starr, with Anthony Geraci turning in some high-energy piano work.

While both Koko Taylor and Aliya Primer have a strong Chicago connection, Corritore has managed to mine shining performances from every corner of the country. Such is the case with Valerie June who appears on “Crawdad Hole.”

Corritore first encountered June at the Pinetop Perkins Homecoming in Helena, Arkansas and later caught her busking in the streets during the city’s annual King Biscuit Blues Festival. Corritore recalled that he “was immediately intrigued by this woman that had this natural raw talent and playing this really countrified version of the blues.” He added that, “it was so real and that voice of hers was somewhat between Jesse Mae Hemphill and Dolly Parton.”

Justifiably proud of his collection of recordings, including unreleased material from Carol Fran and Barbara Lynn, Corritore felt the need to get these women’s voices out there. One of his main musical missions is to “present these kinds of interesting albums and make them thematic” to give his blues loving public his very best offerings.

True to form, this CD does offer a nice blend of tunes for everyone. There’s Delta-tinged blues from Shy Perry who performs with her dad, Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry and Adrianna Marie on “Wang Dang Doodle.”

Houston-based Diunna Greenleaf is another standout on Women in Blues Showcase. She appears on two markedly different tracks with the same brilliant results on both the slow-paced “Be for Me” and a snappy take on Willie Dixon’s “Don’t Mess with the Messer.”

Of course, these blues sisters aren’t doing it all by themselves as Corritore always brings on a stellar cast of supporting musicians, producers, and other studio professionals. While the recording sessions span the years 2001-2022, the bottom line is that Corritore and company continually manage to have a blast playing the blues. It seems like there’s no phoning it in from Phoenix and this message comes through loud and clear on Women in Blues Showcase.

– Robin Zimmerman