Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ The Dirt Road

AllMusic.com
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Blues Art Journal (Austria)
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Blues News (Norway)
Blues Revue
BluesWax
Exclaim! (Canada)
GGBluz (France)
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Juke Joint Blues & Soul (France)
Juke Joint Soul
La Hora Del Blues (Spain)
Living Blues
Main Blues Society Newsletter
MazzMusikaS Free-Zine (Netherlands)
MusicForAmerica.org
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Paris On The Move (France)
Phoenix NewTimes
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Radio Baker Street (France)
Radio Ung (Norway)
Rootstime (Belgium)
The Scene
Supporting The Blues Blog


Rootstime (Belgium) (January 2009)

In de bovenstaande bespreking vertelden we al wat Bob Corritorebetekent voor de blueswereld en zijn zo belangrijke deejaywerk. Hier kunnen we hem aan het werk horen als muzikant samen met vriend en bluesgitarist Dave Riley. Bob laat hier horen een begenadigd bluesharpspeler te zijn. Zijn geluid is heel herkenbaar, een wat omfloerst geluid, dat je doet denken aan een avondlijke jamsessie tussen vrienden op een “backporch” bij een of andere “one room country shack” zoals dat zo mooi in het Engels bekt. Bob heeft zo te horen duidelijk wat opgestoken bij Little Walter en Big Walter Horton. De ganse cd heeft wat van de hoogdagen van Chess, en niet alleen omdat Dave’s stem wat van dat typisch geraspte timbre heeft van Muddy Waters, ook de jongere Bob Corritore weet het geluid van zijn voorbeelden met veel authenticiteit neer te zetten. Met de hulp van Dave Riley Jr. en Paul Thomas op bas, Johnny Rapp op gitaar; Matt Bishop (piano) en Tom Coulson (drums) krijgen we hier een hechte portie Chicago blues voorgeschoteld om U tegen te zeggen. “Safe At Last” met zijn diep gewortelde gospel roots is een pracht van een song net als “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man” in pure Chicago stijl. De jongens laten zich duidelijk meeslepen in hun jams, zodat de meeste songs niet op een minuutje minder of meer kijken, zes minuten is de gemiddelde tijd van het merendeel van de songs. “Way Back Home” wil ik ook nog graag vermelden, vooral Bob is hier op zijn best, een nummer met een heerlijk aanstekelijk ritme en zowat de pièce de resistance van het album. Bob Corritore is niet alleen een levende bluesencyclopedie en radiomaker, samen met Dave Riley en andere blueslegendes weet hij ook de blues zelf te brengen zoals het hoort. Deze uitstekende release is er het bewijs van.

– Ron


BandVillage (December 24, 2008)

Guitar player/singer Dave Riley and harmonica player Bob Corritore’sTravelin’ The Dirt Road takes the listener on a musical journey through the Delta. Produced by Bob Corritore, Travelin’ The Dirt Roadfeatures 10 original tracks of powerful down-home blues, including eight Dave Riley compositions and two (“I’m Not Your Junkman” and “Doggone Blues”) written by his friend (and former bandmate), the late John Weston. Dave and Bob met three years ago, and quickly became fast friends and musical collaborators. They have a natural blues chemistry, with Riley’s gritty Mississippi vocals and down-home blues guitar, and Corritore’s passionate, full-toned harp playing, and the result is a musical joy and exuberance all too seldom heard.


Juke Joint Soul (November 13, 2008)

Word of mouth truly is a great thing in music. I had heard about this great album between Dave Riley & Bob Corritore through the Blues Blast Music Award nominations but couldn’t judge it because I hadn’t heard it. My fellow nominators were a large group of blues friends that I could trust. At the Awards ceremony, I took the dive and introduced myself to Bob Corritore and Dave Riley and purchased their CD. I slipped the album in on my four hour drive home from Chicago and found out that I was led down the right dirt road.

Corritore and Riley serve up one long and endless traditional blues party jam. Corritore’s deeply rooted traditional harmonica and Riley’s road weary voice and less-is-more approach to guitar drive down some familiar territories and themes but serve it up with passion and conviction that’s unmistaken. The touching tribute to Riley’s gospel roots on “Safe At Last” rounds out the album with heartfelt delivery that’s jaw-dropping and heart-easing. This track alone is worth the price of admission. However, there are several winners here, including the fine tributes to Delta legend Sam Weston “I’m Not Your Junkman” and “Doggone Blues”. The chuckle at the end of “Overalls” says it all about this song. This one is just all out fun.

The one fault I might find in the disc for some new to this style is the length of the songs. The production is very loose and it shows in the 6 and 7 minute slow blues jams that Riley and Corritore trade off licks on. Yet for me, it’s this loose, back porch style jam that brings this release its true panache for Mississippi meets Chicago. One more great thing about this album is its each transition from studio to the stage. Corritore and Riley easily proved that at the Blues Blast Music Awards as they stripped down their set to just the two of them. It was raw magic.

The album has a very soul-catching spirit because its honesty in the delivery by both players here. It will hook you. You’ll easily be caught up in the spirit of the walking blues to go traveling down this dirt road for repeated spins on the music player of choice.

– Ben the Harpman


Blues News (Norway) (September 2008)

Gitarist/sanger Dave Riley og munnspiller Bob Corritore tar deg med på en fantastisk flott musikalsk rundreise. De to herrer, som har kjent hverandre og samarbeidet i tre år nå, byr på 10 friske låter med 100% rotekte blues. Delta-blues, ja vel, men både Riley og Corritore har for solide doser Chicago i blodet til at ikke dette også kommer til uttrykk, slik at Travelin’ The Dirt Road først og fremst blir en intens, nesten jam-aktig, bluesopplevelse.

Låtene, som for det aller meste er skrevet av Dave Riley, blir av de to herrer og deres kapable band fremført med nerve, intensitet og glød. Og autoritet! Man tror på vokalisten Dave Riley, som man trodde på de gamle blues-storhetene. Men så har han da også trådt barneskoene sine (hvis han hadde sko, da) i Mississippi, han har bodd på Maxwell Street i Chicago, og han har spilt med karer som Sam Carr og Frank Frost. Munnspiller Bob Corritore kan nok bo og virke i Phoenix, Arizona for tiden, men han er oppvokst i Chicago, der selveste Big Walter Horton var en av hans læremestere. Og hans musikalske karriere og mange samarbeidspartnere er for omfattende til kjapt å kunne oppsummeres i en kort anmeldelse som dette; Han produserer, han driver sitt ”Rhythm Room” (spillested i Phoenix), det er nesten ikke grenser for hvor navnet Bob Corritore dukker opp som garantist for ekte blues.

Man kan bare håpe at dette samarbeidet er et som vil vare lenge, og et som vil bli viden lagt merke til. Det fortjener disse to, uten tvil. Yours truly er simpelthen henrykt!

– Bjørn Wiksaas


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

Bob’s set with Dave Riley has won all kinds of acclaim and it is all deserved. Dave is on guitar and vocals with Bob on harp, plus Johnny Rapp on guitar on eight titles, Matt Bishop piano on three and bass duties shared between Dave Riley Jr. and Paul Thomas. Tom Coulson drums on the eight tracks on which Rapp appears. The guys work through a programme of numbers that reflect Dave’s Hattiesburg, Mississippi background, and are all Riley-penned originals apart from ‘I’m Not Your Junkman’ and ‘Doggone Blues’, which Dave learned his blues from his friend and mentor, the late John ‘So Blue’ Weston; other influences on Dave include Sam Carr and Frank Frost. It goes without saying of course that he has a no nonsense approach to his music, reflected in the down-home concerns and musical approach of much of the material. Bob himself grew up in Chicago and studied the likes of Walter Horton, Louis Myers, Little Willie Anderson and others; he certainly learned well if his rich, varied and always appropriate playing on this set is any indicator (and it is!). If you don’t enjoy this set, chances are you don’t like the blues.

– Norman Darwen


Paris On The Move (France) (July 22, 2008)

Indispensable!

Du blues, du blues, rien que du blues, voilà comment on pourrait définir ce CD… Que du blues et du bon !

Un blues sans compromis ni métissage, des compositions originales bien jouées et bien chantées, une prise de son et une production impeccables. Huit des dix titres sont signés de la plume de Dave Riley, les deux autres étant de son ami maintenant décédé, John Weston. Le voyage sur cette sale route sonne comme une sorte de voyage initiatique aux racines du blues ; on y retrouve le parfum du Mississippi, ses champs de coton, ses juke joint. Ce voyage est un véritable bonheur pour nos oreilles : on retrouve les thèmes classiques du blues, le quotidien, la route, le voodoo, mais surtout les relations homme/femme omni présentes sur ce CD.

C’est simple, rustique et terriblement efficace, bourré de feeling, jamais racoleur ni démonstratif, au contraire toujours juste et bien senti, sans la moindre faute de goût. Il se dégage de Dave Riley sur ce CD une sorte de force tranquille, sa voix légèrement rocailleuse est bien posée sur l’harmonica de Bob Corritore.

Voilà un CD hors du temps, à la limite entre acoustique et électrique, un CD comme on n’en fait plus beaucoup aujourd’hui, un petit chef d’œuvre qui a reçu quelques distinctions outre atlantique, alors il faut profiter, apprécier, savourer…

Ils seront dans quelques jours à l’affiche du festival Blues passions 2008 à Cognac où ils seront très attendus.

– Jocelyn Richez


BluesWax (March 6, 2008)

Comfort In Simplicity

There are three things that immediately stand out on Travelin’ the Dirt Road: Dave Riley’s vocals are top notch, hovering between a gravelly moan and smooth rumble for most of the disc; Bob Corritore is the perfect sideman, adding contrast and texture, but never overpowering; and, finally, the production pulls these elements together into a cohesive whole. Corritore is as good a producer as he is a harp player, and this album is no exception.

Much of the set comes with bass and drums, Johnny Rapp on second guitar, and a very subtle piano in a few spots. There’s a roominess among the layers that buoys most of the tunes. Corritore offers counterpoint to Riley, but the two give each other plenty of space. The full-band numbers are a bit dense at times, but for the most part, the music breathes. It’s clear that they are each tuned into the same frequency, although it sometimes seems they are unaware of each other. It’s as if they are each in separate orbits around the same center, which gives a delightful energy to the proceedings.

Some highlights…

The opening track, “I’m Not Your Junkman”, sets the tone for what comes next. The humor of the lyric melts with Riley’s playful delivery; the tune is anchored by Corritore’s harp, but punched up a bit by Rapp’s nimble lead. This is one of the brightest spots on the disc, so it’s a shame it comes so early.

“Come Here Woman” is about as gritty as this disc gets. The distorted harp and the oh-so-subtle guitar licks run together, at times it’s almost impossible to tell them apart. Riley walks the line between passion and restraint, doing the thing that the Blues does best: letting you walk around in his shoes, forgetting that he’s not talking about your woman.

The simple Gospel Blues “Safe At Last” is an all-too-short closer. It’s just Riley and Corritore and it leaves you wanting more.

What I like… or maybe even love… about this disc is its integrity. What I mean by that is it doesn’t stray from what it sets out to be. From start to finish, we know where it’s going, we’re along for the ride, and there’s a measure of comfort in its simplicity.

– Eric Wrisley


GGBluz (France) (January 17, 2008)

Dave et Bob jouent un puissant “Downhome” Blues qui prend ses raciness aussi bien à Chicago que dans le Delta du Mississippi. Quand ça démarre sur “I’m not your junkman”, d’entrée, ça me “fout les poils” si vous voyez ce que je veux dire. Cette voix cassée, cet harmo inspiré… Du Blues tout simple, pas larmoyant mais qui vous chope aux tripes. Quant à “Travelin’ The Dirt Road”, pas besoin de beaucoup d’imagination pour le voir dans un répertoire des Stones façon 1er vinyle de 1964.

Et puis, j’ai une grosse affection pour Bob et tout ce qu’il fait pour le Blues. Musicien (leader ou sideman), producteur, animateur de radio, propriétaire d’un Club de Blues à Phoenix (AZ) où il s’est installé après avoir vécu à Chicago.

– GGBluz


La Hora Del Blues (Spain) (2008)

Este álbum nos muestra diferentes caras del blues del Delta, con una visión personal y profunda, fiel reflejo de dos intérpretes estudiosos y conocedores del género en todas sus facetas y vertientes, como son el cantante y guitarrista Dave Riley y el armonicista Bob Corritore. Producido por el propio Corritore Travelin’ The Dirt Road, título que ya lo dice todo, presenta diez intensas canciones impregnadas del verdadero espíritu del ‘downhome blues’ más visceral, emotivo y auténtico, pues no en vano Riley nació en Hattiesburg, Mississippi y se crió cantando gospel, antes de establecerse en el West Side de Chicago cuando aún era un ‘teenager’ y donde, a mediados de los noventa, formó parte integrante de la banda de Sam Carr, Frank Frost y John Weston. Y qué podemos decir de Bob Corritore que el público aficionado no sepa. Sólo recordar que empezó a tocar la armónica a los trece años, aprendiendo directamente viendo soplar a Walter Horton, Junior Wells y todos los grandes. Su estilo tradicional le ha llevado a compartir escenario con los mejores, como Jimmy Rogers, Willie Dixon, Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Sammy Lay, Koko Taylor o Bo Diddley y a poner su armónica en más de veinticinco grabaciones. Estamos ante un disco insuperable, verdadero y fiel reflejo del mas honesto blues del Delta. IMPRESCINDIBLE.

An album that brings us different Delta blues aspects with the personal vision of two experienced musicians and knowers of that musical style, who are singer and guitar player Dave Riley and harmonica player Bob Corritore which has also produced the CD. Its title Travelin’ The Dirt Road says what you will find on ten intense songs full of the real emotional downhome blues passionate spirit. Riley was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and grew up singing gospel before he moved to Chicago’s West Side when he was only a teenager. In the middle of the nineties, he entered in Sam Carr’s, Frank Frost’s and John Weston’s band. Few things can be said about Bob Corritore good fans do not already know. Only remind you he began to play harmonica when he was only thirteen years old and he learned it directly from Walter Horton, Junior Wells and other great harmonica players. His traditional playing have led him to share stage with the best ones, such as Jimmy Rogers, Willie Dixon, Honeyboy Edwards, Pinetop Perkins, Sammy Lay, Koko Taylor or Bo Diddley and play harp in more than twenty five recordings. We are facing to an unbeatable record that honestly reflects real Delta blues. ESSENTIAL

– Vicente “Harmonica” Zumel


Blues Revue (December 2007 / January 2008)

We all know what happened when Mississippi Delta blues took Highway 61 to Chicago and went electric. Here, guitarist Dave Riley shows us what happens when Chicago blues returns to its roots. Born in Mississippi, Riley moved to the Windy City at age 9, where he experienced the blues of Maxwell Street and the gospel music of family friend Pops Staples. After stints in Vietnam, gospel groups, and a day job at Joliet State Penitentiary, Riley moved back to the Delta and joined Frank Frost and Sam Carr, playing local jukes and appearing yearly at the King Biscuit Blues Festival.

Bob Corritore has blues roots, too. Growing up in Chicago, he studied Big Walter Horton and other harp greats. In 1981, Corritore moved to Phoenix, where he now owns a well-known club called the Rhythm Room and is a respected record producer and radio host.

The pair understands the depth of traditional harp-guitar Delta blues. Travelin’ the Dirt Roadopens with “I’m Not Your Junkman”, one of two songs written by John Weston, one of Riley’s former bandmates. Riley’s title track is cut from traditional Delta cloth, but his juke-joint guitar and Corritore’s driving electric harp lend a modern feel. On the acoustic “Overalls”, Riley’s Bobby Rush-styled rapping lyrics are answered by Corritore’s full-toned acoustic harmonica. Riley paints a down-home picture of Delta life on the shuffling “Way Back Home”, while “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight”, a derivative of Little Walter’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, gives the duo a chance to honor the guitar and harmonica work of Walter and Louis Myers. Never overplayed, Riley’s compelling guitar and Corritore’s laid-back harmonica tone possess the emotional fire natural to the times and places of the music they love.

– By Art Tipaldi


Exclaim! (Canada) (December 2007)

Riley is a Mississippi born vocalist/guitarist who after a performing hiatus has been active the last ten years, working with the late John Weston and others. On Riley’s second CD as a leader, he’s teamed with Chicago born harpist Corritore, who also serves as producer for his Blue Witch imprint. All but two of the ten songs feature a band format. The “originals” may sound very familiar but that shouldn’t be surprising — these tracks are Delta-infused electric blues that are closer to the classic Chicago blues style than the North Mississippi variant popularised by R.L. Burnside. What makes this a good blues recording is its ability to transcend the genre’s limitations through spirited performances. Riley’s gritty vocals are convincing, as when he’s declaring his desire for the object of his dreams during “Come Here Woman.” A sly, salacious tone, with an added dose of humour, is heard in “I’m Not Your Junkman” or the acoustic “Overalls.” Corritore varies his harp playing, nicely matching each song’s mood. As the principle soloist, he keeps things short, masterfully adding fills behind Riley’s singing.

– By David Barnard


Blues Bytes (December 2007)

Travelin’ the Dirt Road is the latest release on Blue Witch Records and features Dave Riley from Chicago and Phoenix’s own Bob Corritore. Dave’s originally from Mississippi and brings his Delta roots to the project while Bob’s influences are reflective of his years growing up in Chicago and its proud blues heritage is reflected in the record as well. The result is a unique partnership that flourishes with the melding of these two strong influences into a single voice.

The opening cut, “I’m Not Your Junkman”, is a tune written by Dave’s late friend, John Weston, and is one of two songs he contributed to the record. We find Dave in a situation where his woman has to go. He’s tired of her trash talk wearing him down and its time for her to go. “You know you’re always talking trash…you know you talk the kind of junk…that maybe you can turn to cash.” Either way Dave’s had enough and it’s time for his woman and her foul mouth to go. Next up is the title cut, “Travelin’ the Dirt Road”, and we find Dave on the highway trying to drive his blues away. Strong harp work by Bob accentuates Dave’s need to get out on the road and find the woman he’s looking for. I don’t know that he finds “Miss Hattie Mae”, but he’s out there looking for her and driving his blues away at the same time.

Next up is “Overalls”, an odd song at best. Dave’s discussing his habit of not wearing any underdrawers and notes there are several circumstances where this could be embarrassing. His disdain for “Fruit of the Looms” and other underdrawers would definitely result in maximum exposure should he ever lose his “overalls”. “Come Here Woman” finds Dave trying to ascertain the true feelings of his woman. “You know I love you…honey, I can tell, I can tell the world I do…there’s one thing in my heart I want to know….I want to know do you love me too?” Dave’s passion for this woman is reflected in his intricate guitar solo, but it’s the sorrowful intonations from Bob’s harmonica that have me wondering what her answer truly is. And we never do hear for sure. “Come on baby…everything is going to be all right” sings Dave on the next tune, “Let’s Have Fun Tonight”. Bob’s harp work continues to impress me while Dave works hard to seduce the woman he’s pursuing, “we’re going to party hearty…and make everything all right!”

“My Baby’s Gone” finds Dave missing his woman. “You know I moan and I moan…my baby’s gone…and she’s not coming back home.” I hear keyboards for the first time as Matt Bishop makes his first appearance on the record with a nice piano solo. Dave at least is coming to grips with the fact the she’s gone and he’ll be fine. Black magic rears its head in “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man.” There’s a love thing happening between the two of them and the Voodoo woman is resorting to whatever tricks she needs to conjure up to keep this man she loves. “She got a Mojo working…trying to voodoo…the voodoo man.” More piano from Matt Bishop backs Dave’s fretwork on the song and Bob’s harp as well as this Voodoo woman “has her Mojo working….trying to voodoo….the voodoo man!”

“Way back home…I got the news…you ain’t doing nothing…till you got the blues” sings Dave on “Way Back Home.” “I didn’t know…didn’t know what I was choosing…until I ate some soul food and played them doggone blues.” Riley’s fretwork continues to impress as he regales us with his tale of passage into the blues. “Doggone Blues” is the other John Weston tune on the record and Dave’s quick to let us know, “my dog don’t bark no more…but he howls…all night long…but let me tell you…my dog’s been barking…ever since his mate’s been gone.” Dave’s solution is to send him to the pound and he’s still howling there!

“It was in my early days….Lord, I’d be so happy then…when I put my ship to the harbor…safe at last!” “Safe at Last” is the final cut on Travelin’ the Dirt Road and somehow this short spiritual seems to be the perfect ending to an interesting listen. I find the blend of blues influences gives this record a unique presence. Riley and Corritore surrounded themselves with great players for this recording and both give great instrumental performances throughout. This is definitely a record for those who love deep blues and it will be interesting to hear what their next collaboration brings to the light.

– Kyle Deibler


Natchel Blues Network (November / December 2007)

This duo of seasoned musicians has been together only three years. But they’ve both been playing for years with legendary performers like Robert Lockwood, Jr., Henry Gray, Jimmy Rogers, and many, many more. Bob Corritore has 24 appearances on other folks CDs, always being called on by the best to play harmonica on their projects. Dave Riley, the vocalist and guitar player, has that raw Mississippi voice and guitar style. With Bob you hear more of the Chicago influences of Little Walter in his playing. Together they make an interesting combination. The CD demonstrates the rich songwriting of Riley. He wrote seven of the nine songs, and a close friend wrote the other two.

Riley and Corritore play powerful, down-home blues firmly rooted in the Chicago and Mississippi styles. I like what these guys are doing and I know this will not be their last project together.

– Jackie “SugarLips” Merritt


Radio Baker Street (France) (November 11, 2007)

ALBUM COUP DE COEUR – TRAVELIN’ THE DIRT ROAD vient célèbrer la réunion de deux géants du Blues, Dave Riley, natif du Mississippi et Bob Corritore, implanté à Phoenix Arizona et figure emblématique du Blues actuel. Comment ces deux là se sont retrouvés sur un album commun ? Tout simplement à la suite d’un concert de Riley dans le club de Corritore à Phoenix et à la faveur du célèbre Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival qui a lieu chaque année dans la bonne ville d’Helena dans l’Arkansas. Une solide amitié est née entre les deux musiciens et cet album vient sceller cette relation fraternelle.

Cette semaine, Bob Corritore qui était en concert à Paris avec ses Rhythm Room All Stars a gentiment accepté de s’entretenir avec moi au sujet de cet album. Pour lui, musicien mais avant tout grand connaisseur et admirateur des Blues sincères, cet album constitue un véritable retour aux sources, le chainon manquant de sa carrière, un peu comme l’album qu’il désirait enregistrer depuis toujours.

Le voyage que propose Dave Riley et Bob Corritore sur cette Sale Route est parsemé des odeurs des champs de cotons, de celles des magnolias mais également de celles des bayous saumatres et remet les pendules à l’heure sur un style musical qui s’est fourvoyé dans les multiples appels du business : LE BLUES ! Un album 5 Etoiles pour tout amateur de Blues qui ne pouvait que se retrouver Album Coup de Coeur de Radio Menergy ce week end.


MazzMusikaS Free-Zine (Netherlands) (November 5, 2007)

Travelin’ The Dirt Road is de eerste, zeker niet onaardige, samenwerking tussen blueszanger en -gitarist Dave Riley en bluesharmonicaspeler, producer en clubeigenaar Bob Corritore. Dave Riley is afkomstig uit Hattiesburg, Mississippi, begon met gospel te zingen, verhuisde vervolgens naar de Chicago West Side (Maxwell Street) alwaar hij met de blues in aanraking kwam. In de jaren ’90 merken we hem op aan de zijde van John Weston, Sam Carr en Frank Frost. Zijn huidige mentor en sidekick Bob Corritore groeide op in Chicago en begon al op 13-jarige leeftijd bluesharp te spelen. Hij zal doorheen de jaren met de allergrootsten uit ‘The windy city’ het podium delen. Hij is momenteel eigenaar van de in Phoenix, Arizona, gelegen Rhythm Room, één van de betere bluesclubs in de States. Daar bovenop is hij nog als producer werkzaam, o.a. voor de releases op het Blue Witch Records label. Zij zijn verantwoordelijk voor het uitbrengen van die fantastische Big Pete Pearson cd I’m Here Baby. Travelin’ The Dirt Road bevat tien downhome and dirty Delta bluestracks waarvan er niet minder dan acht door Dave Riley zelf gecomponeerd zijn. De overige twee heeft hij geleend van zijn vriend John Weston. Het resultaat mag er wezen. De gruizige vocalen en de downhome bluesgitaarpartijen van Dave Riley gekoppeld aan het fraaie harmonicaspel van Bob Corritore zorgen voor één van de betere bluesreleases van de laatste maanden. Chicago meets the Delta. Het gaat er swingend aan toe bij opener I’m Not Your Junkman en My Baby’s Gone. Overalls en Safe At Last zijn mooie akoestische bluessongs uit de Delta.Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight en Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man beschikken over een stevige beat, om het woord boogie maar niet in de mond te nemen. Zoals steeds op dergelijke cd’s staat er de obligate trage bluessong op en dat is hier Come Here Woman, met een prachtige harmonicasolo in ware Little Walter stijl. Wie zich aan een tripje wil wagen doorheen de Delta richting Chicago is hier aan het juiste adres.


Gibson Recommends (November 5, 2007)

Guitarist Dave Riley and harpist Bob Corritore find plenty of room to play on Travelin’ the Dirt Road, a 10-track collection that’s original in composition but very much traditional in both sound and spirit. These two blues veterans aren’t out to propel the genre into the 21st century, but that’s more than okay: their honed instrumental chops—along with Riley’s gritty, powerful vocal presence—recall the best of the acoustic and electric blues traditions, never straying far from the original source and making this album a great place to visit.

Produced by the Phoenix-based Corritore, a prolific, Grammy-nominated producer in addition to club owner and radio host, Travelin’ the Dirt Road (Blue Witch Records) features eight original songs by the Gibson 335-wielding Riley, with the other two penned by the late John Weston, Riley’s friend and former bandmate.

Corritore and the Mississippi-born Riley have been frequent musical collaborators since meeting three years ago, and their mutual respect for urban blues comes as no surprise: Both musicians spent their formative years in the Windy City. Riley moved to the city’s West Side as a teen, not far from the historic Maxwell Street blues scene. Frequently immersed in gospel music as a teen, he went on to serve in Vietnam, spending at least some of his time in the Army traveling to various bases and performing for troops and at USO shows. Corritore, meanwhile, learned his craft from some of the city’s quintessential harp talents, including Big Walter Horton and Junior Wells. In all, Corritore has appeared on more than two-dozen recordings.

The songs on Travelin’ the Dirt Road firmly capture each man’s respective roots, visiting the Delta on acoustic numbers like “Overalls” and “Safe at Last,” meanwhile recalling the 1950s- and ‘60s-era Chicago club scene, evidenced by the Little Walter-inspired harp sound of the title track. But this release, despite its nod to tradition, is ultimately more about musicianship than re-creating familiar sounds.

Riley and Corritore are at their best on extended jams like “Come Here Woman,” which clocks in at more than seven and a half minutes, “Way Back Home,” a driving shuffle complemented by piano, and the Wetton-composed “Doggone Blues,” where Corritone’s harp dances and darts around Riley’s skilled runs and bends. These tunes, along with many others, capture the two bluesmen stretching out—and having a lot of fun doing it.


Radio Ung (Norway) (November 2007)

Gitarist/sanger Dave Riley og munnspiller Bob Corritore tar deg med på en fantastisk flott musikalsk rundreise. De to herrer, som har kjent hverandre og samarbeidet i tre år nå, byr på 10 friske låter med 100% rotekte blues. Delta-blues, ja vel, men både Riley og Corritore har for solide doser Chicago i blodet til at ikke dette også kommer til uttrykk., slik at Travelin’ The Dirt Road først og fremst blir en intens, nesten jam-aktig, blues-opplevelse.

Låtene, som for det aller meste er skrevet av Dave Riley, blir av de to herrer og deres kapable band, fremført med nerve, intensitet og glød. Og autoritet! Man tror på vokalisten Dave Riley – som man trodde på de gamle blues-storhetene. Men så har han da også trådt barneskoene sine (hvis han hadde sko, da) i Mississippi, han har bodd på Maxwell Street i Chicago og han har spilt med karer som Sam Carr og Frank Frost.

Munnspiller Bob Corritore kan nok bo og virke i Phoenix, Arizona for tiden, men han er oppvokst i Chicago, der selveste Big Walter Horton var en av hans læremestere. Og hans musikalske karriere og mange samarbeidspartnere er for omfattende til kjapt å kunne oppsummeres i en kort anmeldelse som dette; Han produserer, han driver sitt ”Rhythm Room” (spillested i Phoenix), det er nesten ikke grenser for hvor navnet Bob Corritore dukker opp som garantist for ekte blues.

Man kan bare håpe at dette samarbeidet er et som vil vare lenge, og et som vil bli viden lagt merke til. Det fortjener disse to, uten tvil. Yours truly er simpelthen henrykt!


Blues & Rhythm (UK) (October 30, 2007)

The pairing of Dave and Bob makes for some excellent down-home blues in the Mississippi and Chicago styles, which is hardly surprising, as both men have spent a lot of time in the Windy City. Singer and guitarist Riley was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and moved to Chicago’s west side as a youngster. In the nineties he teamed up with Frank Frost and Sam Carr, and besides recording with them and others, he cut his own acclaimed album, ‘Whiskey, Money And Women’ for Fedora. Caucasian Bob Corritore also grew up in Chicago and began playing harmonica at the age of 13, learning from the likes of Big Walter Horton, Big Leon Brooks, Little Willie Anderson and others before moving to Phoenix, Arizona in1981. He has been very active in the city and beyond since then, as a recording artist, record producer, club owner, and general all-round promoter for the blues.

The two men came together three years ago and have worked regularly as a duo since, and this mutual familiarity is plainly evident. Helping out are a variety of musicians: guitarist Johnny Rapp and drummer Tom Coulson appear on eight numbers, Matt Bishop on three, and bassist Dave Riley Jr. on six and Paul Thomas on two others. ‘I’m Not Your Junkman’ and ‘Doggone Blues’ were written by Dave’s friend (and whom he accompanied on record) the late John ‘So Blue’ Weston, who died in 2005, and the remaining tracks are all Riley originals. None are that original – as with much solidly down-home music, Muddy Waters is a clear inspiration, as too are Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, and Rice Miller. Riley’s vocals have something of the depth of Mr. Morganfield’s singing too, whilst his guitar playing is pure and unadorned, and Corritore’s harmonica playing is certainly worthy of his predecessors.

This kind of blues is beginning to become something of a rarity these days, particularly as played by those, like Dave Riley, who grew up with it. When accompanied by such a sympathetic and empathetic musician as Bob Corritore, plus the accomplished little band, the results are indeed well worth hearing. Definitely recommended, this one.

– By Norman Darwen


The Scene (October 2007)

This project has 10 original songs, 8 penned by Riley, and is just over 51 minutes. Production and sound quality are excellent. Blues singer/guitarist Riley and harmonica ace Corritore teamed up on this project to make a delta influenced, traditional urban blues album. The resulting CD could have just as easily been recorded in Chicago in the 50s or 60s. Riley’s powerful, throaty vocals are steeped in urban blues tradition, as is his sparse but tone-rich guitar style. Corritore’s excellent Chicago style harmonica phrasing and full-bodied tone is the third main component in what amounts to a deep urban blues throwback experiment. Some friends add very good bass, drums, 2nd guitar and piano on the tracks where they’re needed. “Come Here Woman” is slow and sexy, gritty back alley blues at it’s best. At just over 7 ? minutes, it gives Riley and Corritore plenty of room to stretch out on solo rides. Riley’s bleed-it-out guitar ride is a real treat. The theme and infectious rhythm of “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight” are as old as the first electric juke joint but their appeal is as new as tonight. “My Baby’s Gone” is a Howlin’ Wolf styled harmonica and vocal romp complete with howling, and some neat piano work to boot. “Doggone Blues” is about a dog that lost its mate and howls all night. Instrumentally, it’s a 6 /12+ minute, slow blues guitar and harmonica stretch-out. This is a very good, Chicago-styled traditional blues album. Highest recommendation.

– By Jim Shortt


Baltimore BluesRag (October 2007)

Once a grinderman, always a grinderman. Travelin’ The Dirt Road is latest churning proof that the rough-edged Dave Riley continually does his best work when rooting down deep in the gutbucket. And he’s accrued a repertoire of moves to authoritatively accomplish the job: grinding you with his thorny guitar and creosote voice at fast, medium, or sludged tempos. So with typical disregard for perfection, this loose-limbed affair shakes the shack. And well it should. Having been born in Mississippi, raised in Chicago, and then road-tested back in Mississippi dives, Riley’s part-Delta juker, part-South Side lion, and completely down-home. Previously, he’s hooked up with such roadhouse royalty as Sam Carr, as well as both the late Frank Frost and John Weston. Currently, though, his foil is Bob Corritore, Phoenix’s pompadoured prince of the full-throated harp. They make quite the noisy partners in crime, even when twice unplugging to work in more quieted duet – despite the fact that hushing Riley’s bark is futile. Usually someone is there to sock a drum kit, prod the pulse with bass, and flesh out all their romping with an added guitar. But the meaty core remains Riley’s flea-bitten howl and Corritore’s constant roar. They pump spitfire decibels into rattling the reeds and a bottleneck across “Doggone Blues”, announcing loverman intentions to the stomp of “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight”, and shoving along the heaving morass that is “Come Here Woman”. Back to the grind? Thankfully Riley’s harmonica-fortified houseparty has never left it.

– By Dennis Rozanski


Main Blues Society Newsletter (September / October 2007)

Phoenix-based Blue Witch Records has just released two new discs, the first a wonderful collection of live performances at the famed Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Club owner Bob Corritore, a producer, harmonica master and radio show host has assembled a selection of great live songs from artists like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Finis Tasby, Henry Gray, Floyd Dixon and many other stars. The second recording from Blue Witch is called Travelin’ The Dirt Road, from Dave Riley & Bob Corritore. Riley is a true Mississippi Delta bluesman, about as real as it gets. Corritore is a traditional bluesman raised in Chicago and has played with all the big guns at one time or another. His harp skills are up there with Mark Hummel, Rick Estrin, big wheels like that. In my opinion, Corritore is arguably the best blues harmonica player you’ve never heard of. This album (10 tracks, 8 originals written by Riley, 2 by the late John Weston) opens with “I’m Not Your Junkman,” a song that showcases Riley’s gritty and soulful Mississippi voice and strong guitar skills. Corritore’s world-class harp also adds flavor to the tune. For track 2, the title track, we hear the singer in search of blues relief through finding his woman. This is a real, foot-stomping Delta blues tune. “Overalls,” had me chuckling at the lyrics but is really a nice song. “They say I shouldn’t wear those overalls,” sings Riley. “This ain’t Mississippi, ya’ll.” It’s really a hoot. I could listen to Riley for hours. Among the many highlights are; “Let’s Have some Fun,” where Corritore’s harmonica takes us on a journey to a party-filled evening. This tune has smooth, easy-on-the-ears lryics and a good beat. In fact, as Debra just pointed out, EVERY song on this album is easy to take. She’s dancin’ around the room lovin’ life, and she doesn’t even LIKE the blues. Guess it’s a pretty good album! “My Baby’s Gone” tells us a story about lost love (no blues album is complete without a song about this subject, or so it seems). It is hard to sit still during this one, good beat and excellent piano work from Matt Bishop. On “Way Back Home,” we hear more precision harp work from Corritore while Riley sings about the importance of learning “them Delta blues.” This is 6:45 of pure modern Mississippi blues heaven. In summation, if you enjoy traditional blues with a Delta sound, you’ll love this CD. Fans of blues harmonica will really be impressed with Corritore’s style.

– By Phil Whipple


Phoenix NewTimes (September 20, 2007)

Who’d’ve thunk it? Along with windy Chicago and verdant Mississippi, Arizona is, in fact, a fertile environment for the blues. The proof’s in these two discs, with the commonality between them being Bob Corritore, boss harmonica player and owner of Phoenix’s Rhythm Room. On Travelin’ the Dirt Road, he co-leads a session with guitarist/singer Dave Riley; on House Rockin’ & Blues Shoutin,’ a collection of 1997-2005 live performances from the Rhythm Room, he serves as producer. Dirt Road captures the transitional period of Southern blues as it developed into the electrified urban styles that impacted the genre as a whole and eventually became a cornerstone of rock ‘n’ roll. Riley’s down-home lyrics and raspy, genial delivery represent the rural aspect of the blues — on some songs, he sounds as if he could be performing on a back porch (with bits of urban bravado slipping in). Corritore’s amplified, always-midnight harmonica echoes electric Chicago masters Little Walter and Walter Horton, and has such a scorching, searing quality it could be used to cauterize wounds. The production is bare-bones; you could almost feel the spaces between the sounds. If you yearn for rootsy, no-frills blues (with electricity), go no further: This is a winner.

House Rockin’ spans not only years, but approaches to the blues (leaning toward the modern, however). The spare, rural-based styles are represented by stark solo performances from Long John Hunter and Robert Lockwood Jr., while the contemporary bright lights/big city swagger comes courtesy of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and the Mannish Boys (featuring vocal ace Finis Tasby). For undulating boogie-woogie, there’s Henry Gray with dandy jazz-tinged guitar from Kid Ramos, and for stately, emotive ache, Big Pete Pearson and Billy Boy Arnold. Dive in.

-By Mark Keresman


AllMusic.com (September 17, 2007)

Travelin’ the Dirt Road is nothing more or less than two bluesmen–harmonica player Bob Corritore and singer-guitarist Dave Riley–and a handful of friends cutting loose on acoustic and electric blues. Even though all of the songs on Travelin’ the Dirt Road are originals, Corritore and Riley are less interested in innovation than delving deeply into blues tradition. In a sense, the three primary elements, Riley’s rich vocals, his stinging guitar work, and Corritore’s lively harp work, share the stage together, delivering full-bodied arrangements. Lyrically, songs like “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight” and “My Baby’s Gone” haven’t traveled very far from the original blues’ template: men love women, make love to women, and get left by women. Good times, it seems, are always followed by bad times, and while these clichés (and the sexism that comes with them) are sometimes difficult to take seriously, they–the lyrics–may be little more than an excuse to hear a singer like Riley wrap his vocal chords around them. Many of these songs run four, five, six, and even seven minutes, allowing Corritore and Riley plenty of space to jam. With the addition of bass, drums, a second guitar on many cuts, and an occasional piano, Travelin’ the Dirt Road is a solid and enjoyable outing.

– By Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (September 10, 2007)

Digging some deep blues:

Being a traditional blues lover (be careful how you read that!), it’s always a great pleasure to find a new CD that captures the essence of those great traditions of the music.

Travelin’ the Dirt Road (Blue Witch Records) with Dave Riley and Bob Corritore does just that.

Riley is a deep Southern guitar player and singer whose vocal chords bring the Delta home and Corritore is a Chicago-made harp player whose phrasing provides the map for the dusty road trip.

With a few minor quibbles, this music could have been created alongside some of the toughest of the tough Chicago blues.

Riley is a gritty singer from Hattiesburg, Miss., who traded his gospel chops for Chicago blues when he was but a teenager, and all of our souls gained something in the deal. The last track here, “Safe at Last,” testifies to those spiritual origins.

Most of the tracks here are Riley originals, and he shows strong feeling for the music he’s inherited. On the other hand, cuts like “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man,” “Way Back Home” (a complete blues treat) and “Doggone Blues” dig deep into the rich loam for blues taproots.

Corritore’s deep harp tones float around, under and through the music, and the spell is complete.

The entire band crackles throughout, and Matt Bishop’s piano keys unlock bad blues attitude. These are your daddy’s deep and dirty blues from the Delta driven over the blues highway to Chicago — the devil’s fiery music still burning bright, a heavenly sound, indeed.

The Blue Witch couldn’t have a better blues broom to dust with.

– By Jim White


Blues Festival E-Guide (August 31, 2007)

Dave Riley and Bob Corritore play powerful down home blues, deeply rooted in the Chicago and Mississippi styles that represent their upbringing.

This deep blues partnership has earned a solid reputation for their zesty performances at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix and the annual Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival. They have a natural blues chemistry, and a friendship that prompts wild, provoking performances. Dave’s gritty Mississippi personable, original songs combine with Bob’s passionate, blues-seasoned, full-toned harmonica for an engaging performance that entertains both the blues novice and the seasoned listener.


Supporting The Blues on Myspace.com (August 28, 2007)

The combination of two of the blues most dynamic and inventive performers – Dave Riley and Bob Corritore – turns out to be one of the most explosive blues partnerships of the year. I haven’t been blown away with such passion and power in a performance since first hearing Muddy Waters’ Hard Again some 30 years ago! This stunning new CD features strong original material, along with a couple John Weston covers, and top-notch performances from all involved, including Johnny Rapp on guitar, Dave Riley Jr., or Paul Thomas handling bass, Matt Bishop on piano, and the great Tom Coulson on drums.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi native Riley has become one of the finest delta blues guitarists of his generation, a talented songwriter, and a commanding singer with just the right blend of power and grit. Corritore is one of the finest blues harp players out there, as well as a respected producer, club owner, and radio show host. His full-tone playing evokes the best moments from giants like Big Walter Horton and the legendary James Cotton. Together, these guys ignite this collection of electric Delta Blues that stomps with the passion and intensity of the very best Chess records of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Travelin’ the Dirt Road roars to life with a killer cover of the late John Weston’s fine “I’m Not Your Junkman”, that sets the tone for what’s to come. It’s raw, hard-edged, and sharp. Riley & Rapp’s guitars slash and cut, punctuated with Corritore’s powerful harp playing. Eight of the 10 cuts here are Dave Riley originals, including the powerful title track, the deep delta groove of “Overalls” (that brings to mind Big Joe Williams & Rice Miller) and the steady Chicago blues workout “ Come Here Woman,” one of the best cuts here. There’s fine playing from all as they’re truly locked in tight throughout. The other Riley originals, including the slow, shuffling Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight, “My Baby’s Gone”, with its smoldering, mid-tempo groove, and the lowdown “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man”, with its nod to Junior Wells classic “Hoodoo Man Blues” are simply superb. Other highlights include the rollicking “Way Back Home”, a cover of Weston’s “Doggone Blues” that features some of Riley’s finest vocals on the record, and the brilliant performance of “Safe at Last”, that wraps up the disc with Riley on guitar and Corritore’s lonesome harp gently weaving with the vocals. It’s another standout cut and a fine finish to an already great album.

Travelin’ the Dirt Road isn’t just another album of pleasant Chicago Blues. This essential purchase successfully combines Riley’s Mississippi Delta style with the energy and passion of Corritore’s big city blues creating a fresh sound that’s firmly rooted in tradition, but never stale. Dave Riley and Bob Corritore were born to play together. The passion, enthusiasm and overall interplay between these veteran musicians is genuinely breathtaking. I truly hope that this modern day blues classic will be the first of many from a long and prosperous partnership.

– By Rob Lehrian


MusicForAmerica.org (August 20, 2007)

Even though it comes and goes, the blues will never go away, and that’s a good thing. Blues music is alive and well today, and one of the more impressive albums I’ve heard is done by Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. Travelin’ The Dirt Road (Blue Witch) is a continuation of the path many people walk down, be it the famous Highway 61, or the path of our own lives. In truth, it’s a great way for an old bluesman (Riley) to play with a younger musician (Corritore) who has contributed and participated in local and regional blues communities for years. Here, Riley plays electric guitar and sings with the kind of raspiness a bit similar to Muddy Waters while Corritore digs and rips the harmonica up like there was no tomorrow.

It’s electric blues, so if you’re a fan of what Chess Records was coming out with in the late 50’s and early 60’s, this album is for you. After hearing this, you get a sense that these two are the true blues brothers, albeit brothers from different mothers, and when they get into a jam, you never know when it’ll end. These aren’t jams for people who enjoy songs at 2:50, in fact, “Come Here Woman” clocks in at a nice 7:34, and all but one song goes over the four-minute mark (only the closing track, “Safe At Last”, rests at just under two minutes). If the blues journey is what you want, Travelin’ The Dirt Road is the perfect recommendation.

(Travelin’ The Dirt Road will be released on September 11th, and will be available through Blue Witch Records).

– By Da Bookman


Juke Joint Blues & Soul (France) (August 2007)

le label de Bob Corritore nous gâte avec 2 compacts qui méritent toute notre attention. Attendue depuis longtemps, la session avec Dave Riley voit enfin le jour et sera disponible des ce mois de Septembre , dans la même fournée est disponible un CD qui rassemble des enregistrements effectués dans le club The Rhythm Room qui appartient à l’ami Bob avec comme toujours, un casting époustouflant. De la belle musique comme on aime qui nous fera sagement patienter la venue de Bob et celle de Big Pete Pearson à l’occasion du Blues Festival de Lucerne en Novembre prochain.

– By Jean Luc Vabres


Living Blues

LB readers may know guitarist/vocalist Dave Riley from his well-received 2001 CD Whiskey, Money, and Women (Fedora); many are probably also familiar with Phoenix, Arizona-based harpist/radio host/impresario Bob Corritore. Probably fewer, however, know that Riley and Corritore have worked together on club and festival gigs for some time.

Even when they’re basically playing simultaneous solos, as a lot of the old-time duos used to do, Riley and Corritore complement rather than impede one another – to hear them weave lines, then separate, and then come back together with seemingly instinctive ease is to be reminded of what that overused term “synergy” really means. Their accompanists, especially drummer Tom Coulson, provide just the right amount of seasoning to add punctuation and flavor without overwhelming the proceedings. Both Riley’s guitar work and Corritore’s harp playing – the latter strongly influenced, predictably, by the fabled Chicago pantheon of Walters and Sonny Boys – are rooted deeply in the postwar tradition, yet neither relies on cliché. Even when the ideas sound familiar they’re imbued with fresh angles or juxtaposed in creative ways. Riley’s voice is, in turn, heart-rending, impish, playfully lascivious, and pugnacious; his lyrics, like his playing, invoke time-tested themes yet contain unexpected twists (“Well, they say I shouldn’t wear no overalls / Well because, you know, I don’t wear no doggone drawers”).

It’s not easy these days to come up with a record that’s rooted so fully in an earlier sound yet avoids both “museum-piece” fustiness and faux-hipster posing. That Riley and Corritore have done it here speaks volumes for their integrity and devotion, as well as their musical élan.

– By David Whiteis

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