American Blues Scene Review
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Blues In The South
Bman’s Blues Report
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Chicago Blues Guide
In A Blue Mood
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Rock And Blues Muse
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Midwest Record (March 30, 2020)
This white boy with the blues and his real deal mentor make a record that is so Chicago it sounds like it was recorded last week in the back of the Mocombo Lounge for Aristocrat. With loads of modern Chicago cats on board that can play in the tradition without being slaves to it, you can’t go wrong if you’re looking for something that sounds like the real deal with a pedigree that proves as much. You’ll feel the sweat when you give this a spin.
Reflections In Blue (March 2020)
Both John Primer and Bob Corritore have roots that run deep. Both have spent decades in the music, and both have been mentored by the best performers in their chosen fields. John Primer was taught slide guitar by Sammy Lawhorn. He spent nine years with the house hand at Theresa’s Lounge, was recruited by Willie Dixon to play with Dixon’s All-Stars in 1979, joined forces with Muddy Waters until Water’s death in 1983, and landed with Magic Slim immediately thereafter. He ventured out to pursue a solo career. He’s got well over a dozen albums to his credit and appears on albums too numerous to mention, playing in support of others. Bob Corritore’s resume, while perhaps not as deep, is no less impressive. He has dedicated his life to the study of the music, has mastered his instrument, backed the best of the best…and nobody does it better. Corritore may be the best old-school harmonica player in the world. The Gypsy Woman Told Me is this dynamic duo’s third collaboration, and a good reminder that our blues heritage did not begin with Eric Clapton or the Allman Brothers. This is Chicago blues performed by those who lived the life, even when it was not the popular thing to do…and they have stuck to that musical form they love. With so much of what is being released is “genre-bending” and “expanding the scope of the blues”, it made me feel good to hear something that was so straight-ahead and honest. Primer & Corritore are joined by a number of artists who share that same love for the blues. That list includes Jimi “Primetime” Smith & Billy Flynn (guitars), Bob Welsh, Kid Andersen & Ben Levin (piano and organ), Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower & Troy Sandow (bass) and June Core & Brian Fahey (drums). If Chicago blues is your music of choice, The Gypsy Woman Told Me should be just the thing to help with those “shelter in place” blues.
– Bill Wilson
Jazz ‘N’ More (Switzerland) (March 2020)
Leicht erschreckend wirkt der Umstand, dass mit John Primer ein Vertreter der neueren Generation von Chicago Blues Musikern auch schon in seinem 75. Altersjahr steht.Die beruhigende Tatsache aber: Der Gitarrist, der einst fürMuddy Waters finale Band spielte, erfreut sich bester Gesundheit und versteht es immer noch, kernigen, packenden Windy City Blues zu intonieren. Aufgenommenwurde anlässlich einer Session bei Kid Andersen in dessen Greaseland Studios, sowie einem Meeting in Clarke Rigsbys Tempest Recording. Dabei rückte der umtriebige Produzent und Harmonica-Spieler Bob Corritore Primers Fähigkeiten an der Gitarre (Regular und Bottleneck) und beim Gesang ins beste Licht. Unter demDutzend Songs finden sich interessante, selten gecoverteKompositionen von Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Sonnyboy Williamson, Sax Kari oder Lil’ Son Jackson, bestens arrangiert und instrumentiert. Muss der Blues denn wirklich stets neu erfunden werden? Wirdenken nein – vor allem nicht, wenn er dermassenspielfreudig aufgesetzt und mit viel Pep dargeboten wird! Marco Piazzalonga
Keys And Chords (Netherlands) (April 13, 2020)
Blues harmonica ace Bob Corritore werkte al vaker samen met zijn muzikale partner en veelgeprezen bluesgitarist/vocalist John Primer. De release ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’ is de opvolger van de zeer succesvolle VizzTone-releases Bob Corritore and Friends; ‘Don’t Let The Devil Ride’ en ‘Do The Hip Shake, Baby!’. Samen hadden Primer en Corritore ook reeds de palten ‘Knockin’ Around These Blues’ uit 2013 en ‘Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!’ van dik twee jaar geleden, geïmplementeerd. Zowel John Primer als Bob Corritore zijn ervaren Chicago blues veteranen. ‘The Gyspsy Woman Told Me’ is alweer een schitterende muzikale collaboratie, dat nu werd geproducet door Bob Corritore, Clarke Rigsby en Kid Andersen. Met gastgitaristenBilly Flynn en Jimi “Primetime” Smith, multi-instrumentalist Kid Andersen, pianisten Bob Welsh en Ben Levin, bassisten Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow en Mike Hightower én drummers June Core en Brian Fahey omringt het duo Primer/Corritore zich met de crème de la crème van de hedendaagse blues scene. In twaalf nummers nemen ze ons onvoorwaardelijk mee naar The Windy City. Het accorderende ‘Keep-A-Driving’ is meteen een knaller van een tracks. Bob Welsh’s pianoarrangementen lopen recht in Primer’s gitaarriffs. De titeltrack heeft Mud Morgenfield credits, net zoals de blues stamper ‘Knockin’ On Your Door’ toebehoord aan Sax Kari. Met Lil’ Son Jackson’s ‘Gambling Blues’ gaan we naar het diepe zuiden. Het verstedelijkte ‘Little Bitty Woman’, vloeide origineel uit de pen van John Primer. Van de slow blues ‘Walking The Back Streets And Crying’ (Sandy Jones) gaat het gezwind naar J.J Cale’s ‘I Got The Same Old Blues’. Bij Rice ‘Sonny Boy Williams II’ Rice leenden ze het schitterende ‘My Imagination’, net zoals ‘Let’s Get Togheter’ toebehoord aan Jimmy Reed. Chicagoan Jimmy Rodgers’ schreef ooit de blues ballade ‘Left Me With A Broken Heart’ bij elkaar. Van Primer’s ‘Walked So Long’ gaat het naar het afsluitende ‘Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose’. De release ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’ is een schitterend muzikaal statement!
Net zoals vele van zijn mentors verhuisde ook John Primer uit het Mississippi gebied naar Chicago. Primer werd geboren in Camden, MS op 03 maart 1945. Hij speelde in Chi Town in de befaamde blues club Theresa’s tussen 1974-’80 en werd sterk beïnvloed door Muddy Waters en Sammy Lawhorn, die hem slidegitaar leerde spelen. In 1979 vervoegde Primer, The Chicago Blues All-Stars. De band rond blueslegende Willie Dixon. Niet veel later speelde John bij de legendarische Muddy Waters én bij de band The Teardrops van Magic Slim. Tot hij een lucratief platencontract ondertekende bij het label Wolf Records. Harpvirtuoos Bob Corritore werd geboren in Chicago op 27 september 1956. Al vrij snel werd Bob ondergedompeld in de blues sound van The Windy City. In tegenstelling tot John Primer verhuisde Bob zuidwaarts naar Phoenix, Arizona en opende er de inmiddels de beroemde blues en rootsclub The Rhythm Room. Ondanks zes nominaties voor de Blues Music Awards, waaronder een voor het historische album ‘Harmonica Blues’ in 2011 , blijft Corritore bescheiden en ingetogen over zijn eigen muzikale bijdragen.
– Philip Verhaege
Blogspot Radio (April 15, 2020)
If you like B B King you will love these Chicago Bluesmen. This album THE GYPSY WOMAN TOLD ME will scratch your itch for Blues.
– DJ Ralph
Rootstime (Belgium) (April 16, 2020)
John Primer en Bob Corritore nog voorstellen is misschien overbodig. John Primer heeft zo’n enorme staat van dienst dat hij eigenlijk geen nadere introductie behoeft. Door de maatregelen die getroffen zijn omtrent het coronavirus moest zijn band vorige maand als zo velen verplicht hun ommekeer maken richting USA. Met optredens in vele Eurolanden moest dit een soort afscheidstournee worden, maar dat betekent niet dat John Primer ermee ophoudt. Hij is wel van plan het, gezien zijn leeftijd, wat kalmer aan te doen. De monstertournees zouden dan tot het verleden behoren. Vele onder jullie hebben deze sympathieke bluesman hier in de Lage Landen al aan het werk gezien, en daarom willen we de meer gerespecteerde bluesharpist Bob Corritore, die vooral talloze collaboraties op zijn naam heeft staan, eerst meer uitvoerig voorstellen. Als mondharmonicaspeler van de ‘old- school’, radiomaker, producer en eigenaar van de befaamde Rhythm Room club in Phoenix, Arizona zorgt Corritore voor het in leven houden van de bluescultuur, en dit al 40 jaar.
Als Bob Corritore 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, 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. 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. 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’ en dat was dan ook meer dan verdient. De daaropvolgende jaren bleven de nominaties, Awards en tal van releases volgen en steeds met veel succes.
Ook John Primer is nog één van de oude rotten uit het bluesvak. Over de muzikale herkomst van John Primer valt weinig af te dingen: geboren in Camden Mississippi in 1945, en dus opgegroeid in de schaduw van de grote legendes, waarvan je de muziek vanuit iedere deuropening buiten op straat kon horen. En ook geheel in de traditie leende hij op 8 jarige leeftijd zijn eerste gitaar. Gefascineerd door grootheden als Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Little Milton en Almore James was John verkocht aan de blues. Zijn eerste inspiratie komt voort uit zijn roots, zijn familie blonk uit in spirituele gospel en R&B tradities. Het is dan ook niet zo vreemd dat zijn eerste optreden was op het podium van de lokale baptisten kerk en houseparty’s in zijn woonplaats. Op 18-jarige leeftijd trekt hij in de herfst van 1963 richting grote stad. Welke stad anders dan Chicago, langs dezelfde weg waarlangs de legendes voor hem getrokken waren. Daar speelde hij samen met zijn band, The Maintainers, maar zoals zovele bands bleven ze verborgen in het tweeduister van de anonimiteit. In 1979 vindt de grote Willie Dixon, spin in het web van de blues in Chicago, het wel mooi geweest en nodigt hem uit deel te gaan uitmaken van diens Chicago All-Stars, en hem zo ook internationaal onder de aandacht van het bluespubliek te brengen. Waarna Muddy Waters die in John geloofde, hem recruteerde, niet alleen als gitarist maar ook als openingsact. Zoals hij deed voor zoveel andere grootheden was Muddy een vader voor John die zorgde voor de passie van de muziek die de voorloper was van de rock & roll. Tot aan het overlijden van Muddy in 1983 is John bij hem gebleven. Na zijn grote successen met de Muddy Waters Band is John gitarist geworden bij de legendarische Magic Slim. De volgende 14 jaar toerde hij over de hele wereld. In 1995 bracht John Primer the Real Deal Bluesband tot stand en kwam zijn eerste album “The Real Deal” uit. Ook is Primer al vaak genomineerd geweest voor vele Blues Music Awards en heeft de laatste jaren tal van mooie releases op de markt gebracht, maar die gaan we even buiten beschouwing laten.
De blues wegen van John Primer en Bob Corritore liepen lang parallel en een samenwerking moest er eens van komen. In 1970, toen John nog in de Theresa’s Club in Chicago speelde, was de jonge Corritore al een trouwe luisteraar. Hun samenwerking als Chicago muzikanten werd pas in 2012 een feit, en een jaar later deden Primer en Corritore met hun album “Knockin’ Around These Blues” (2013) ons in een Chicago van ver in de vorige eeuw wanen. Vier jaar later verscheen van deze veteranen het album “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!”, en dat er nu drie jaar later met “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” eindelijk een vervolg komt, is dan ook meer dan gerechtvaardigd. Op de 12 songs van dit nieuwe album krijgen deze heren o.a. steun van gitaristen Billy Flynn en Jimi ‘Primetime’ Smith, multi-instrumentalist Kid Andersen, pianisten Bob Welsh en Ben Levin, bassisten Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow, Mike Hightower, en de drummers June Core en Brian Fahey. De productie was in handen van Corritore zelf, Clarke Rigsby, en Kid Andersen. Het helpt je uiteraard, als je kan rekenen op enkele prima muzikanten, want zomaar 10 muzikanten, begeleiden dit duo op “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”. Maar het zijn zoals we ook van hun vorige platen weten, Corritore met zijn krachtige mondharmonica licks, samen met Primer die met zijn gepassioneerde aanpak ons het ‘old school’-gevoel weet te geven, steeds de uitblinkers die onze aandacht opeisen. Het is dan ook moeilijk om een favoriete nummer te kiezen omdat ze allemaal uitmuntend zijn, songs die trouwens werden opgenomen gedurende twee sessies in 2018 en 2019 bij Kid Andersen’s Greaseland in het noorden van Californië en de andere bij Clarke Rigsby’s Tempest Recording Studio in Arizona.
Het album begint met Primer die in een Elmore James stijl gitaar speelt op de Chuck Willis klassieker, “Keep A-Driving”, en we krijgen hierbij ook wat machtig mooi pianospel van Bob Welsh. Daarna volgt de titeltrack, een Muddy Waters cover, met Welsh opnieuw achter de piano en Primer die een paar hele mooie gitaarlicks laat horen. Maar het beste deel van dit nummer is de diepe bluesharmonicasolo van Corritore. Primer is nu ver in de jaren ’70, maar zijn stem draagt nog steeds veel kracht, wat we te horen krijgen op de up-tempo blues, “Knockin’ On Your Door”. Daarna gaan Primer en Corritore een duet aan met hun versie van Lil’ Son Jackson’s “Gambling Blues”, hetgeen ze rustig, met veel gevoel brengen, want daarna komt drummer June Core met een stuwende beat op de up-tempo “Little Bitty Woman” aandraven. Dit nummer is naast de vele covers, een door Primer geschreven nummer, waarop hij werkelijk de show steelt met zijn uitmuntend gitaarspel. Later op het album is “Walked So Long” een ander Primer origineel nummer, een country blues met wat echo in de zang, maar waar vooral Corritore zijn harmonica laat uitschreeuwen. Na de hypnotiserende versie van “Walking The Back Streets And Crying”, doet Jimi “Primetime” Smith mee op gitaar op het funky “I Got The Same Old Blues”, een JJ Cale cover, met Corritore die het gedeeltelijk overneemt met een monster harmonicasolo. Corritore en Bob Welsh delen de schijnwerpers op Rice Miller’s mid-tempo shuffle, “My Imagination,” gevolgd door een stuwende versie van Jimmy Reed’s “Let’s Get Together”. Jimmy Rogers fans zullen blij zijn om de langzame blues “Left Me With A Broken Heart” te horen, die Corritore als een Little Walter met zijn expressieve harpspel weet te brengen. De afsluiter is een blues shuffle, “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose,” met Primer die met zijn gitaarspel weer veel op Elmore James lijkt en die ook nog eens veel kracht in zijn stem steekt. Billy Flynn doet ook mee op gitaar en verdubbelt zo het plezier dat we aan het nummer beleven. John Primer en Bob Corritore bevestigen met dit nieuwe album hun status en laten horen dat hun eerste ontmoeting géén toeval was! “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” is misschien wel het logische vervolg op de twee eerdere releases, maar voor zowel de Chicago Blues als de rootsliefhebber is dit alvast een aanrader en dus alle reden om dit album aan te schaffen.
Byrdman’s Blues Blog (April 23, 2020)
Ya know, it’s been a loooooong time since I wrote a record review. Hopefully, the good folks at the Cincy Blues Society may be kind enough to want to share my words with you. Since the good ol’ days at WNKU-FM & Northern Kentucky University w/ co-hosts John Thad and Dave Warford on “Crossroad Blues” I’ve been staying pretty busy helping with “Kitty’s Blues” on WAIF-FM… admittedly, not too much lately…what with social distancing due to COVID-19 these days. But perhaps that’s all the more indication that now IS the right time to finally do SOMETHING other than just sit around watchin’ TV and pickin’ my guitar and write a new record review. I’ve sure as heck found a GREAT one to review!
John Primer and Bob Corritore have nailed it right on the head with their new “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”. This record, in my opinion, is what the Blues is all about: driving grooves, heavy hittin’ harp, superior strings and keys being plunked and clunked masterfully, and down-home, gutsy vocals. What else might you expect from this duo! The plethora of guests on this record include Blues vets Kid Anderson (on organ) and Billy Flynn (on guitar). The old Byrdman was mighty happy to see that local keyboard phenom Ben Levin also makes a guest appearance, as well!!! So great to see young Ben coming into his own and showing his great Cincy Style Blues Piano to the world- and the world IS noticing!!! Big Joe Duskin, H-Bomb Ferguson, and Lonnie Bennett are all three looking down from on high at Ben with their three big WIDE Cincinnati grins!!!
You know, as I sit here listening to this great new CDI I keep thinking about my dear old departed friend, Cincinnati Bluesman Phil Blank, (RIP). I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s the enchantingly bluesy, guttural sound of Primer’s vocals or Corritore’s great harp playing? Perhaps it’s because this is the kind of music I used to hear my old pal Phil play all over town? Perhaps it’s the actual timbre of Primer’s voice…which sounds AMAZINGLY similar to Phil’s? For me, something REALLY sets this record apart from the rest. My guess? Phil’s on my mind cuz this is the kind of music he and I just loved to go out together and hear other people play! I came across some pics recently of Phil and me bummin’ around back in ’98- when John Hammond came to town (with NO LESS than Little Charlie Baty (Damn…also RIP) & the Nightcats as his back-up band, touring his/their great “Long As I Have You” record!!! And yes, if you missed THAT show, well…you missed IT!) John gave Phil a special harmonica holder that night. Phil was drooling over it (something about some special sort of wingnuts?) when John said, “Hey man, I have an extra one in the car. Let me go get it for you!” That’s the kind of guy John Hammond is…he’d give you the shirt off his back. When we woke Phil up three days later, John, Charlie, and Rick were already gone, but Phil gained his prized harp holder that night. And he used it many, many times afterward…
Now…what was I talkin’ ’bout? Oh yeah… “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” kicks off with a very nice rendition of Chick Willis’ “Keep A-Driving”. That’s followed by a kick booty version of the great Muddy Waters’ title track. A version of JJ Cale’s “l Got the Same Old Blues”, that’s just a bit peppier than JJ’s version, which is the song that winds up his 1974 “Okie” set, is a very, very nice inclusion in this new set. Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “My Imagination” and Jimmy Reed’s “Let’s Get Together”. Jimi “Primetime” Smith’s fine guitar work here- and also on the JJ Cale track- is most excellent! Billy Flynn and Cincinnati’s own Ben Levin, both shine on track 10, Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me With A Broken Heart” This one is my favorite track…tho’ I gotta say…its sure tough to pick one single favorite on “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”, as they all shine like gold! GREAT stuff here from Primer, Corritore & Co.!!! Phil Blank and Little Charlie would both dig this record!!! Me too!!! So will you!!! Check it out, on record store shelves (like there really were still record stores at all) on May 1st!!!
– Michael “Byrdman” Byrd
Philly Cheeze’s Rock & Blues Reviews (April 25, 2020)
John Primer and Bob Corritore have teamed up once again to record yet another fabulously legitimate record of blues. Primer instantly connects with his vocals, and enthralls me with his guitar phrasing. He sounds so damn good as Corritore absolutely rips it up on harmonica. Produced by Corritore, Clarke Rigsby and Kid Andersen, The Gypsy Woman Told Me also features Jimi “Primetime” Smith (guitar), Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Welsh (piano), Kid Andersen (organ), Ben Levin (piano), Kedar Roy (bass), Mike Hightower (bass), Troy Sandow (bass), June Core (drums), and Brian Fahley (drums). This twelve-track album contains ten deep covers and a pair of splendid Primer originals.
Muddy Water’s “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” makes for a captivating listen as the title track. With Welsh on piano, Roy on bass, and Core on drums, this one is slowly steeped in old-fashioned Chicago blues. Corritore wonderfully takes on the legendary Helena, Arkansas harp player Sonny Boy Williamson II with “My Imagination”. Primer’s guitar sizzles and Welsh holds nothing back on the ivories. Dripping with emotion, their cover of Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me with a Broken Heart” is exquisite. With the driving rhythm of a rolling freight train, “Little Bitty Woman”, is a smashing song. This Primer original features spirited vocals, tremendous harp topped with Welsh’s attention-grabbing barrelhouse piano. Flynn, Hightower, and Fahey provide the backing for the guys as they close with “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose”, a James Cotton song from 1984. Primer plays this with precision against Corritore’s textured and nuanced performance.
The musical chemistry between Primer and Corritore is incomparable as they continue to produce some of the best blues being produced these days. An absolute must for the blues fan, The Gypsy Woman Told Me is a sheer delight.
– Phillip Smith
Musika (Belgium) (April 27, 2020)
Voor bluesfanaten zijn de namen van John Primer en Bob Corritore absolute blikvangers. Het zijn dan ook twee toppers in het genre. Voor de anderen: John Primer is een gitarist / vocalist die een tijdlang in de band van Muddy Waters speelde en vooral extra naam opbouwde bij Magic Slim, maar intussen ook al heel wat naam en faam heeft opgebouwd met zijn eigen band, The Real Blues Band. Bob Corritore is een befaamde harmonicaspeler die tips mee kreeg van de allergrootsten op dit kleine instrumentje. Hij is te horen op tal van opnames van andere artiesten, maar zorgde ook al voor een aantal full-albums onder eigen naam. Met ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’ is het duo aan een derde samenwerking toe. Eerder waren er reeds ‘Knockin’ Around These Blues’ (2013) en ‘Ain’s Nothing You Can Do’ (2017). Op dit nieuwste werkstuk zorgen deze veteranen voor twaalf nummers Chicago blues. Soms in duo vorm, zoals tijdens het mooie ‘Gambling Blues’ waar de heren terug keren naar de roots van het muziekgenre, maar meestal met een knappe band rondom zich heen. De ene keer bluesy en naar boogie neigend (opener ‘Keep A-Driving’), dan weer neigend naar pure blues (het uit de songbook van Muddy Waters afkomstige titelnummer ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’), een andere keer bluesy swingend (‘Little Bitty Woman), dan weer met een langzamere blues shuffle en uiterst soulvol (‘Walking The Back Streets And Crying’), of lichtjes rockend met bijvoorbeeld ‘Let’s Get Together’. Kortom alle facetten uit Chicago blues komen aan bod en steeds opnieuw weten John Primer en Bob Corritore (en de band) te overtuigen. Voor wie graag nu en dan een bluesplaatje consumeert, is dit een aanrader. Echte blues fanaten hebben geen duwtje in de rug nodig en hebben deze ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’ blindelings aan de collectie toegevoegd.
– Luc Ghyselen (88)
Glide Magazine (April 28, 2020)
Chicago blues veterans, vocalist/guitarist John Primer and harmonicist Bob Corritore, collaborate for the third time on The Gypsy Woman Told Me, the title and song from Muddy Waters famed catalog. Both headliners have won BMAs and have joined before on 2017’s Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do and 2013’s Knockin’ Around These Blues. While Primer tours with his Real Deal Blues Band, Corritore guests with many artists and owns the premier blues spot in Phoenix, The Rhythm Room. Yet, the two are frequent collaborators because they understand the idiom and there are not many left who continue to play in the traditional style.
They did manage to find several like-minded players for these sessions recorded at various points throughout 2018 and 2019 and produced by Corritore, Clarke Risgby, and Kid Andersen. As a result, there are multiple players on each instrument supporting the two headliners They are guitarists Jimi “Primetime” Smith and Billy Flynn, pianist Bob Welch with Ben Levin on the 88s for one track and Andersen on organ for another, three bassists – Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower, and Troy Sandow; and two drummers – June Core and Brian Fahey.
John Primer and Lurrie Bell are generally considered today’s two best vocalist/guitar traditionalists. Like Bell, Primer has plenty of cred, having played in Muddy Water’s band as well as bands of Magic Slim and Junior Wells. He may also, other than Muddy’s sons, have the voice that best resembles his former bandleader. Should you have any doubts, listen to Primer sing the title track as well as any of the dozen here. He wrote a couple of originals – “Little Bitty Woman,” one of the standouts, and “Walked So Long” that are mixed in with mostly obscure blues tunes saving Chick Willis’ opening “Keep-A-Driving” and J.J. Cale’s “I Got the Same Old Blues.”
You’ll find Corritore’s names on multiple albums as both a player and producer, including his two most recent efforts on this, the Vizztone label – Bob Corritore and Friends – Don’t Let the Devil Ride and Do the Hip Shake, Baby! Corritore grew up in Chicago but has resided in Phoenix for over two decades now. He plays on multiple albums, because he is one of the top traditional harp players and maybe even more importantly because he has no problem leaving his ego at the door.
Whether blazing ahead in stomping 12-bar fashion, or slowing it to an aching simmer in the disc’s longest cut, “Walking the Back Streets and Crying, with some killer piano from Welsh, a terrific Corritore solo, and piercing licks Primer, this is the real deal, down and dirty blues. Andersen’s organ puts some funk in “I Got the Same Old Blues” while Sonny Boy Williamson’s “My Imagination” is the perfect tune for Corritore’s wailing harp.
Few Chicago blues albums are complete without a Jimmy Reed tune, and “Let’s Get Together,” with Jimi Smith on guitar as he as on the J.J. Cale tune, gets that nod here. “Left Me with a Broken Heart,” a mid-tempo tune, features Ben Levin on piano and Billy Flynn on guitar. Primer delivers his own “Walked So Long” with the raw credibility of vintage blues man who feels pain in every step he takes (“walked so long ‘til my feet got soaking wet…looking for my baby and haven’t found her yet.”) As many Chicago blues shows end with a burner like “Sweet Home Chicago,” this one ends in similar fashion with the smoking “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose,” but rather than a celebratory call this is another of those standard blues warnings to the guy’s woman (“you better put away that sugar baby cuz there ain’t gonna be no cuttin’ loose.”)
As we’ve grown accustomed to by now, the two play together so comfortably and seamlessly, you’ll feel transported back to the heyday of that Chess Chicago blues sound. It’s pure, refreshing, heartfelt and moving.
– Jim Hynes
Rock And Blues Muse (April 29, 2020)
Harp ace Bob Corritore and Chicago blues guitar master John Primer team up for a smoking hot new album called The Gypsy Woman Told Me that hits the street May 1st, 2020 thanks to the VizzTone Label Group. Both men are modern-day legends who have invested their lives into playing real take-no-mess Chicago blues music that honors the giants of decades past while also breathing new life into this important American cultural institution.
Produced by Bob Corritore, Clarke Rigsby, and Kid Andersen, The Gypsy Woman Told Me is Primer and Corritore’s third combined effort and proudly displays both player’s talents and commitment to this world-renowned style that has influenced so many. In addition, special guests including Billy Flynn, Jimi “Primetime” Smith, Kid Andersen, Bob Welsh, Ben Levin, Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow, Mike Hightower, June Core, and Brian Fahey pop in to turn these tracks up even further and make this one of this year’s best new albums.
John Primer is a familiar face to anyone who has followed Chicago’s blues scene over the last 30-some years. He has worked with Muddy Waters, Magic Slim and Junior Wells as well as leading his own hardcore blues group. Bob Corritore is a Blues Music Award winner who has appeared with Louisiana Red, Bo Diddley, Pinetop Perkins, Ike Turner, Nappy Brown and Eddy Clearwater. Both musicians have credibility to spare and resumes any blues player would love to call their own. Their combined horsepower and reverence for the blues form give The Gypsy Woman Told Me the kind of musical mojo needed to capture the ears of blues aficionados near and far.
The record gets underway with the Elmore James-inspired “Keep A-Driving.” It’s an upbeat shuffle that features Primer’s impassioned vocals and guitar licks and Corritore blowing the daylights out of his harmonica. This is the sound blues fans love to dance to and this crew lays it down as well as anyone ever has. The rhythm section grooves exquisitely and rubs the pocket just right. Up next is the title cut “The Gypsy Woman Told Me,” which is a mid-speed slow burner that rocks nicely and brings us Corritore getting down with a magnificently gritty harp tone that comes across loud and clear. Primer again commands the vocal mic with authority and does fine work on lead and rhythm guitar.
“Gambling Blues” is a back porch-style acoustic guitar and harmonica track that strips down to the bare essentials. It tells a hard luck tale of the gambling and drinking path and how that sporting part of that life had to come to an end, even if the boozing didn’t. Consider it a statement of a lesson learned. J.J. Cale’s “Same Old Blues” gets a funky, lowdown treatment that again lets Corritore’s dark-toned harp shine brightly. Primer’s smooth, economical guitar style fits the song perfectly and enhances its swampy attitude.
“My Imagination” is another righteous shuffle that hits the sweet spot dead on. “It was just my imagination, what my baby had on her mind” sings Primer and the pain in the lyric is obvious despite the joyous beat the band cranks out. It’s a dance floor filler, without a doubt. “Left Me With A Broken Heart” is heavy and emotive like brown liquor in a dirty glass. Primer tells a tale of love gone south and makes it authentic and true. He captures the “good man feeling bad” essence of the blues and makes everyone within earshot understand it in their soul. Every bit of The Gypsy Woman Told Me is more than worth your listening time and will make lovers of the real Chicago sound extremely happy. Primer and Corritore are an unbeatable pair and this set deserves a spot in all of our record collections.
– Mike O’Cull
Blues Bytes (April 2020)
PICK HIT OF THE MONTH
I so look forward to every new release being put out by Phoenix blues impresario Bob Corritore, who joins forces with veteran Chicago guitarist / singer John Primer for another outstanding album, The Gypsy Woman Told Me (Southwest Musical Arts Foundation / VizzTone). I’ve been a big fan of Primer ever since seeing him in Chicago back in the 1980s, around the time he was playing with Magic Slim & the Teardrops as well as doing his own thing. I’ve seen Primer quite frequently since then and have never been at one of his shows that wasn’t first-rate.
That pretty much describes the music on this collaboration with Corritore. It’s just solid, no frills blues. It’s hard to pick a favorite cut among the dozen songs on the album, because they’re all outstanding.
The music on The Gypsy Woman Told Me came from two different sessions — one at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland facility in northern California and the other at Clarke Rigsby’s Tempest Recording in Arizona. The backing musicians vary depending on the session, with some great blues players participating.
The album kicks off with Primer playing Elmore James-style guitar on the Chuck Willis classic, “Keep A-Driving,” and we get some mighty fine piano playing from Bob Welsh. The title cut, a Muddy Waters cover, comes next, with Welsh again tickling the ivories and Primer laying down some really nice guitar licks. But the best part of this song is the deep blues harmonica solo from Corritore.
Primer is now well into his 70s but his voice still carries plenty of power, which we get to hear on the up-tempo blues, “Knockin’ On Your Door.” Primer and Corritore then head into the country for a duet on their version of Lil’ Son Jackson’s “Gambling Blues.” It’s easy to envision the pair of musicians playing this song while sitting on a back porch somewhere in the rural south; it’s got that kind of feel to it.
Drummer June Core drives a propulsive beat on the up-tempo “Little Bitty Woman,” a Primer original on which the star of the show plays some blazing slide guitar. The tempo slows considerably on the next number, a very hypnotic version of “Walking The Back Streets And Crying.” Jimi “Primetime” Smith joins in on guitar on the funky mid-tempo JJ Cale cover, “I Got The Same Old Blues,” with Corritore taking over partway through with a monster harmonica solo.
Corritore and Welsh share the spotlight on Rice Miller’s mid-tempo shuffle, “My Imagination,” followed by a driving version of Jimmy Reed’s “Let’s Get Together.” Jimmy Rogers fans will be pleased to hear the slow blues, “Left Me With A Broken Heart,” which has Corritore summoning his inner Little Walter with some very expressive harp.
“Walked So Long” is another Primer original, this one an eerie country blues with echo in the vocals and Corritore making his harmonica cry out the notes. Closing the album is a hard driving blues shuffle, “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose,” with Primer again sounding a lot like Elmore James on hardcore Chicago blues guitar as well as putting plenty of power into his voice. Billy Flynn also joins in on guitar, doubling the pleasure we get from the song. This one just makes me say, “Wow!”
The Gypsy Woman Told Me is an enjoyable gem from start to finish. Primer shows us that he’s not slowing down … not one bit. It’s an early candidate for blues album of the year.
– Bill Mitchell
Living Blues Magazine (April/May 2020)
Certain cities have a well-deserved reputation for their blues, The Midwestern metropolises of St. Louis, Memphis, and Chicago, among others, have rich blues traditions. And the sounds coming out of those cities often bear the stamp of their origin. San Jose, California, might not be one of the first cities that comes to mind when thinking of others, but thanks in large part to producer-musician Kid Andersen, that’s changing, His Greaseland Studio has been and continues to be an effective tool for capturing the raw and rowdy sounds of the blues for 21st-century listeners. And Andersen’s a busy guy. One of his latest production assignments is The Gypsy Woman Told Me, a blues album by John Primer and Bob Corritore.
Chicago blues guitarist John Primer has performed and recorded with Magic Slim, Little Milton, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin, Big Mama Thornton, and many others. He was part of the ensemble that created the Grammy-nominated Muddy Waters 100 tribute album in 2015. If those sessions were all he had done, he would still rate as an important figure in electric blues. But starting with 1993’s Blues Behind Closed Doors, he’s made a string of fine Chicago blues albums under his own name. His 1995 album The Real Deal won him a W.C. Handy Blues Award, and his music has been included in many compilations.
Born and raised in Chicago and now (since 1981) living in Arizona, Bob Corritore is steeped in Chicago blues as well. He has been featured on more than 100 recordings, making his name recording debut in 1999. He played with powerhouse vocalist Janiva Magness in one of her earliest groups, and won a Keeping the Blues Alive Award in 2007 from the Blues Foundation.
The Gypsy Woman Told Me is the second time that Primer and Corritore have teamed up on record; 2013’s Knockin’ Around These Blues was the first. On this latest set, it’s an all-new set of backing players save for returning drummer Brain Fahey.
The title track of the pair’s latest is the Muddy Waters classic; in their hands it retains all of the swaggering energy of the original. Except for a pair of original numbers penned by Primer (Little Bitty Woman and Walked So Long), the album draws upon the work of others. But the duo’s impeccable taste is evident in selections written by Chuck Willis, J.J. Cale, and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Primer’s sinewy guitar and expressive vocals spar endlessly with Corritore’s blues harp, but the two musicians mesh seamlessly; they never once seem to jockey for supremacy. Instead they display what seems like an almost subliminal level of communication; everything that one musician does has the effect of complementing the efforts of the other. One of the best examples of this is the album’s reading of Lil’ Son Jackson’s Gambling Blues. Featuring just the two—no backing musicians —in an acoustic format, the song cooks. Most of the rest of the album is full band electric, but that innate sense of compatibility runs through the whole of this superb record.
– Bill Kopp
Muck Rack (May 1, 2020)
Harp ace Bob Corritore and Chicago blues guitar master John Primer team up for a smoking hot new album called The Gypsy Woman Told Me that hits the street May 1st, 2020 thanks to the VizzTone Label Group. Both men are modern-day legends who have invested their lives into playing real take-no-mess Chicago blues music that honors the giants of decades past while also breathing new life into this important American cultural institution.
– Mike O’Cull
Toronto Blues Society (May 1, 2020)
John Primer is perhaps the finest bluesman performing today in the classic Chicago Blues sound. He was a member of Muddy Waters’ last band as well as with Junior Wells and for many years with Magic Slim. Bob Corritore may be based in Phoenix but he is a veteran harp player in that style with countless sessions accompanying the finest Chicago artists. This is also their third pairing and the chemistry shows. That Primer’s main man is Muddy is shown by the title track, a vibrant performance that proves these songs are just as valid in the new century. That validity is maintained throughout in this program of mostly ‘50’s Chicago blues: The opening “Keep A-Driving” is by Chuck Willis in a version that is firmly in the tradition with its “Dust My Broom” riff as is “Knockin’ on your Door”, by Sax Kari. The band drops out for a lovely acoustic duet on “Gambling Blues” by Lil’ Son Jackson. The band comes roaring back for “Little Bitty Woman” credited to Primer but actually “Rolling and Tumbling” incorporating lines from other songs based on that classic – it rocks. Another classic provides the slow blues on this set: “Walking the Back Streets and Crying” finds Primer in great voice on a pleasing Chicago-styled version. The performance of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)’s “My Imagination” shows perfectly the Delta roots of Chicago blues. The deceptively easy Jimmy Reed groove is no problem for these veterans and “Let’s Get Together” sounds great. Jimmy Rogers’ “You Left me With a Broken Heart” is another treat with Corritore channeling Big Walter Horton in fine fashion. Billy Flynn takes a monster solo too. Much more original is Primer’s “Walked So Long” once again performed acoustically along with string bass & brushes – superb. The closer is of more recent vintage but still from Chicago. James Cotton’s High Compression album featured “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose” via Junior Parker, a rocking way to end the program. They recorded with two separate bands at Kid Anderson’s new home of the blues, Greaseland Studios near Los Angeles. Special mention goes to Bob Welsh for his piano playing but all the players are on the money. You’ve no doubt noticed that most of the non-originals are not overused and worn out. I will always stress the importance of original material in these columns but every so often when classic songs are this well played it is tremendously satisfying. Web sites are http://www.johnprimerblues.com and http://www.bobcorritore.com, check them both out.
American Blues Scene (May 3, 2020)
There’s an old joke about a man who walks into a circus, trying to get a job. He finds the owner and asks for a five-minute audition. The two walk into the empty big top and the man carefully takes off his jacket and climbs up to the tight rope. He jumps off and then proceeds to fly around the tent unaided, divebombing empty seats and circling around the tent. The man lands next to the owner right as his five minutes are up. The owner looks at the man and says, “Is that all you do? Bird imitations?” John Primer & Bob Corritore‘s The Gypsy Woman Told Me is straight-up blues, the metaphorical equivalent of the bird, but their honest approach is as thrilling as seeing a flying man. They’re not imitating so much as they’re taking flight.
Corritore is a harmonica genius with tone that manages to fill in every unoccupied space on a track. He’s not soloing; he’s sealing songs in amber, ever-present but never distracting. His harmonica work is the foundation of each song. Corritore’s 2018 album, Don’t Let the Devil Ride!, saw him working with a variety of singers, as did 2019’s compilation Do the Hip-Shake Baby!. Here Corritore collaborates with singer/guitarist Primer on all songs, a real treat given Primer’s voice, a slightly more rock and roll Muddy Waters, and the type of voice you hear way too infrequently on contemporary blues releases.
Of course, the only thing contemporary about this album is the release date. Everything else is classic electric Chicago blues, minus a few acoustic detours, that sounds like it could have come out of Chess Records in the 1950s. And it’s not just Primer’s voice and Corritore’s harmonica. It’s the rickety drum beats. It’s the insistent piano lines. And it’s the overall feeling that the song is just one guitar riff or bass line away from completely falling apart. There’s a genuine excitement to each track that comes from the artists connecting to every performance and not just rotely phoning it in.
That energy is also what gives so much life to familiar songs. There are just two originals on the album, but it doesn’t matter, because Corritore and Primer own each tune. Much of the album’s success is due to the band’s electricity; they could just perform a 12-bar blues in different keys for an hour and there’s a decent chance this would still be a thrill to listen to.
Luckily, however, we don’t have to take a chance on that concept. There are songs like the title track, by the aforementioned Waters, a slow blues that’s delicate in groove, but not in texture, mostly thanks to Corritore’s billowing harmonica. There’s J.J. Cale’s “I Got the Same Old Blues,” where Corritore and Primer dial up the funk and bluesiness to practically deadly levels. And there are the two Primer originals, which slide right in with these classic songs. “Little Bitty Woman” is delirious rockabilly in the style of the classic “Mystery Train” and “Walked So Long” is a soft acoustic blues propelled by brushed drums.
The fun of an album like this, besides the music itself, is how it sends you back to the source material. So as raw as the title track feels, it’s actually more composed than the Waters’ stunning original, which feels like a first take done with the studio meter running. Comparing the two tracks doesn’t take away from either. Rather it makes you appreciate both songs and the link going all the way from Waters to Primer and Corritore.
– Steven Ovadia
Take Effect (May 3, 2020)
An incredible collaboration here, Bob Corritore brings his strong harmonica prowess to the affair, while John Primer’s guitar and vocal skills shine on this 3rd joint effort of proficient Chicago blues.
“Keep A- Driving” gets the listen off to a piano heavy and guitar fueled start as Primer’s soulful, gritty vocals are perfect for the upbeat atmosphere, and the title track follows with plenty of rhythm as Corritore’s harmonica adds much to the blues experience.
In the middle, “Walking The Back Streets And Crying” offers an emotive and slower paced moment, while “I Got The Same Old Blues” tosses some funks nods into the organ friendly and highly melodic album highlight. “Let’s Get Together” then takes some influence from Americana amid the bouncy spirit that’s as timeless as it is memorable.
At the end, “Walked So Long” reinforces the strong blues dynamics in the back porch rawness, and “Ain’t Gonna Be Cuttin’ Loose” ends the listen full of glorious musicianship and a precise delivery.
Let’s hope these 2 legends are up for more records together, cause their chemistry is undeniable as they play off each others strengths well across these dozen tracks that any fan of the blues will admire.
Travels well with: Bob Corritore & Friends- Do The Hip-Shake Baby!; Bob Margolin- This Guitar And Tonight
Elmore Magazine (May 6, 2020)
Harmonica ace Bob Corritore may be one of the blues world’s greatest team players. When he’s recorded under the moniker Bob Corritore &Friends, his collaborators have included powerhouse players like Taildragger, Alabama Mike, and Henry Gray. Chicago blues veteran John Primer, who played guitar in Muddy Water’s band and Magic Slim &The Teardrops, has been another of Bob Corritore’s frequent musical partners. On The Gypsy Woman Told Me, the pair’s third album-length collaboration, the two musicians showcase their formidable chops and deep respect for tradition.
Opening track “Keep A-Driving” wastes no time in letting listeners know what to expect. Primer’s vocals sound stronger than ever, with a nice touch of back alley grit. His electric guitar work is beautifully unadorned – he lets his fingers and strings do the talking. While Corritore could easily steal the show with his high powered chops and well-deep tone, he’s content to take a supporting role and let the spotlight shine on Primer. Bob Welsh’s atmospheric piano work channels the spirit of Otis Spann. Slow blues tunes like the title track and “Left Me With A Broken Heart” reveal just how much Primer’s time with Waters shapes his playing today. His vocals and guitar work on both tracks have the classic behind the beat feel that Waters used to call “delay time.”
The acoustic “Gambling Blues” showcases a different side of Primer and Corritore’s talent. When he plays unplugged, Corritore’s warbling vibrato and skillful use of hand muting recall James Cotton. “Walking The Back Streets And Crying” is an interesting choice of material for this outing. While most listeners associate the tune with soul-blues master Little Milton, the song works surprisingly well when stripped of the horns and R&B rhythm section. Corritore gets ample room to stretch out on harp, and drummer June Core and bassist Kedar Roy lay down a solid backbeat. Primer’s guitar and vocals do justice to a beloved warhorse.
It’s great to hear a veteran like Primer invigorated and clearly happy to be making music. While Corritore’s larger than life talent and unmistakable sense of style will always make him stand out in a crowd, his unique ability to work with the blues’ elder statesmen may be his greatest gift. For fans of traditional Chicago Blues, The Gypsy Woman Done Told Me is a treasure trove.
— Jon Kleinman
Making A Scene (May 6, 2020)
John Primer was born in Camden, Mississippi in 1945. He moved to Chicago and was a regular at Theresa’s Lounge. He also played in both Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All-Stars and The Muddy Waters Band. After Muddy’s death he joined Magic Slim and The Teardrops. Primer has a total of fourteen Blues Music Award nominations winning twice. He won his first BMA for his role in the Chicago Blues: A Living History The (R)evolution Continues. He is also the 2016 Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year. This is his nineteenth album.
Bob Corritore was born in Chicago in 1956. He studied the harmonica and received playing tips from Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, and Carey Bell. He moved to Phoenix and opened his own club called The Rhythm Room. The house band, The Rhythm Room All-Stars, backed musicians when they came to town. He has been nominated for six BMA’s and won 2011’s “Historical Album of the Year”. This is Corritore’s fifteenth recording although he appears on over seventy others.
Primer and Corritore first collaborated in 2013 when they released “Knockin Around These Blues”. The duo followed up in 2017 with “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!”. This is their third recording together. The album is co-produced by Corritore, Clarke Rigsby and Kid Andersen.
This is old school Chicago blues. The players are Primer, guitar and vocals; Corritore, harmonica; Bob Welsh, piano; Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower or Troy Sandow, bass; and June Core or Brian Fahey, drums. Several guitarists and keyboardists also guest.
Primer and Corritore can be considered historians of the Chicago Blues genre. They open with “Keep A-Driving” written and recorded by Chuck Willis in 1958 on Atlantic Records. The title track, “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”, also known as “Gypsy Woman” is an early Muddy Waters tune probably recorded in 1941. On these the ensemble is Primer, Corritore, Welsh, Roy and Core.
“Knockin’ On Your Door” written by Sax Kari was recorded by Jimmy Reed in 1966 on the Exodus label. “Little Son” Jackson’s “Gambling Blues” dates back to 1949. Sandy Jones’ “Walking The Back Streets And Crying” was recorded by Little Milton in 1972; and was recorded by Albert King two years later. “(My) Imagination” was written and recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson II on Checker Records in 1956.
“I Got The Same Old Blues” from J.J. Cale was recorded in 1974; featured on organ is Andersen. Jimmy Reed’s “Let’s Get Together” was released in 1962. On these guitarist Jimi “Primetime” Smith joins the ensemble.
James A. Lane a.k.a. Jimmy Rogers recorded “Left Me With A Broken Heart” in 1953; Ben Levin sits in on piano. “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cutting Loose” was recorded by Junior Parker on Blue Rock Records in 1969. On these guitarist Billy Flynn joins the ensemble with the rhythm section of Hightower and Fahey. Guitarist Primer also includes two of his own songs: “Little Bitty Woman” and “Walked So Long”; the latter featuring Troy Sandow on bass.
These are traditionally styled versions consummately played. Corritore’s harp is wonderful as it dances throughout the recording. All of Primer and Corritore’s recordings are treasures but especially when they’re together. This is a must to own.
– Richard Ludmerer
Portal da Educativa (Brazil) (May 8, 2020)
Blues & Derivados destaca o novo trabalho de John Primer e Bob Corritore
Capa do novo álbum de John Primer e Bob Corritore. O Blues & Derivados com Clayton Sales deste sábado (09/05) apresenta o encontro entre a guitarra de John Primer e a gaita de Bob Corritore que resultou no álbum “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”, lançado no começo deste mês. Esse e muitos outros destaques você pode ouvir a partir das 17h na Educativa 104.7 FM.
O gaitista Bob Corritore e o guitarrista John Primer lançaram no começo de maio o disco “The Gipsy Woman Told Me”, já a terceira parceria entre os músicos que trazem nas 12 faixas do álbum o melhor do Blues de Chicago contemporâneo. O disco conta com a produção de Bob Corritore, Clarke Rigsby, e Kid Andersen e tem a participação de Billy Flynn, Jimi ‘Primetime’ Smith, Kid Andersen, Bob Welsh, Ben Levin, Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow, Mike Hightower, June Core, e Brian Fahey.
– Daniel Rockenbach
Paris Move (France) (May 11, 2020)
Faut-il vraiment les présenter, ces deux-là? Tous deux originaires de Chicago, ils alignent chacun un CV long comme la piste d’atterrissage d’un Airbus A320! En près d’un demi-siècle de carrière, John Primer a successivement accompagné Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Billy Branch, Jerry McCain, Matthew Skoller et Pinetop Perkins, et également enregistré une douzaine d’albums en tant que leader. Son comparse, Bob Corritore, s’avère l’un des prosélytes les plus dévoués du blues éternel et contemporain: outre sa newsletter sur le web, il anime chaque semaine depuis Phoenix sa propre émission radio sur KJZZ FM, et y dirige son propre club, le bien nommé Rhythm Room. Figurant sur plus d’une centaine d’albums à ce jour (que ce soit en tant que sideman, leader ou producteur), il multiplie les collaborations, que ce soit avec les regrettés pianistes Henry Gray et Barrelhouse Chuck, ou encore avec Dave Riley, Tail Dragger, Louisiana Red, Nappy Brown et Kim Wilson. Sept ans après leur acclamé “Knockin’ On These Blues” (et trois après le non moins célébré “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”), notre duo infernal favori remet le couvert pour une nouvelle tournée générale de Chicago blues millésimé. Dès le double-shuffle “Keep-A-Driving”, leur touche imparable fait mouche: le timbre vocal caverneux de John Primer et l’harmo de Bob Corritore vous immergent sans transition dans l’atmosphère moîte et enfumée des clubs du South-Side la windy city, et sur la plage titulaire, la slide de John épouse pour notre plus grand plaisir les licks immémoriaux de son auteur, le grand Muddy Waters. “Knockin’ On Your Door” emprunte la faconde funky du grand rival de ce dernier dans les fifties, Howlin’ Chester Burnett Wolf, et Bob y délivre un chorus où l’on jurerait entendre souffler l’esprit de James Cotton. Les deux partners in crime délivrent ensuite une vivace version unplugged du “Gambling Blues” de Lil’ Son Jackson, dont Rory Gallagher avait fait l’un de ses chevaux de bataille. Entre leurs mains, c’est plutôt vers Sonny Terry et Brownie McGhee que se dirigent nos pensées, et on n’y perd finalement rien. Primer délivre ensuite une compo “originale”, et ce “Little Bitty Woman” (démarqué du “Mystery Train” de Junior Parker) offre au pianiste Bob Welsh une nouvelle occasion de se dégourdir les phalanges. Toujours dans la ligne de McKinley Morganfield, “Walking The Back Streets And Crying” offre à ce bon Bob l’occasion de pasticher les deux Walter qui accompagnèrent le vieux Maître, tandis que John en fait autant avec Sammy Lawhorn. Tous ceux qui eurent la chance de saisir John Primer live connaissent son inclination pour le funky blues. Sa reprise du “I Got The Same Old Blues” de J.J. Cale emprunte de fait surtout à celle qu’en avait donné le regretté Freddie King sur son fameux “Burglar”, et le moins que l’on puisse dire est qu’elle doit en faire remuer, des moneymakers frontstage! Corritore décide ensuite d’inviter le fantôme de Rice Miller (aka Sonny Boy Williamson II) pour une cover émérite de son “My Imagination”, et il faut admettre que le bougre s’y entend pour reproduire les maniérismes du vieux brigand à chapeau melon. Sans doute ameutés par le climat festif qui préside à ces sessions, les ectoplasmes de Jimmy Reed et Jerry McCain passent en voisins pour une gaillarde version de “Let’s Get Together”. Vient ensuite une renversante restitution du “Left Me With A Broken Heart” de Jimmy Rogers, que John Primer chante avec la conviction nécessaire, tandis qu’il s’évertue à reproduire sur ses cordes le jeu de l’auteur, et que Bob Corritore se lâche dans l’une des ses imparables personnifications de Little Walter: assurément l’un des sommets de cette roborative rondelle! Autre original de Primer, “Walked So Long” s’inscrit autant dans la veine semi-acoustique de Muddy Waters que dans celle de Big Bill Broonzy, et Corritore y boute encore le feu sans avoir l’air d’y toucher. Comme de coutume, nos deux comparses ont su s’entourer: outre June Core (ex-Little Charlie & The Nightcats) et Brian Fahey (Paladins) aux baguettes, la liste des invités comprend Billy Flynn, Kid Andersen, et le jeune pianiste qui monte, Ben Levin. Cette superbe rondelle se referme sur une bouillante version d’”Ain’t Gonna Be Not Cuttin’ Lose”, où Corritore et Primer achèvent de carboniser ce qui subsistait encore de l’auditoire. Garçon, la même chose, et vite!!!
– Patrick Dallongeville
In A Blue Mood (May 12, 2020)
This is the third recording by the former Muddy Waters-Magic Slim sideman and harmonica player Bob Corritore. Supporting Primer’s vocals and guitars and Corritore’s harp are a variety of other artists including guitarists Jimi ‘Primetime’ Smith and Billy Flynn, pianists Bob Welsh and Ben Levin, bassists Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower and Troy Sandow, and drummers June Core and Brian Fahey. Part of this recording of traditional Chicago blues was recorded at Greaseland Studios, and Kid Andersen plays organ on one track.
Primer is in good form with his straight-forward vocals that conjure up Muddy Waters and Magic Slim, while Corritore comes off like little Walter on some tracks and Sonny Boy Williamson elsewhere. The studio bands keep a crisp shuffle groove going and provide tight backing. There are plenty of strong Chicago blues performances, including the title track that Muddy Waters made famous, Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me With a Broken Heart,” and the reworking of Little Milton’s “Walking the Back Streets and Crying” into a 50s sounding Chicago band blues. Primer plays some driving slim on his original, “Little Bitty Woman,” which musically evokes Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train.” The backing players sit out on an emphatic cover of Lil Son Jackson’s “Gambling Blues.” At the same time, Primer’s “Walked So Long,” is performed acoustically with Sandow playing upright bass and Fahey using brushes.
John Primer remains a treasure as he continues to play first-rate down blues in the classic Chicago blues vein with sympathetic backing from Corritore. With an imaginative selection of material and the idiomatic support provided, Primer and Corritore have another gem.
Ben Vee Blues Blog (May 13, 2020)
What’s not to like when two of the finest blues artists in America collaborate to produce a spectacular album. If you are not familiar with either of these artists, John Primer is a well known Chicago blues man (who played with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Magic Slim) and Bob Corritore, who is based in Arizona, is one of the genre’s great harmonica players. I love the title cut as well as the grindin’ blues tune Walking The Back Streets And Crying and the Elmore James/Magic Slim inspired Keep A-Driving.
Blues Blast Magazine (May 21, 2020)
John Primer and Bob Corritore make one helluva team when it comes to old-school Chicago blues. This is the fourth time they’ve worked together on an album in the past decade with sensational results, and this one’s probably their best yet.
The pair had known each other casually since the late ‘70s, when Primer – originally from Camden, Miss. — had assumed the guitar chair behind Junior Wells in the house band at the legendary Theresa’s Lounge, and Corritore – a recent high school graduate from suburban Evanston — was just starting to make a name for himself as a harp player in rough-and-tumble clubs of the city’s West and South Sides.
John has one of the best blues pedigrees of any musician today, having served apprenticeships in Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues Allstars, the Muddy Waters Band and Magic Slim’s Teardrops before exiting the shadows and establishing himself as the world-class bandleader he is today. A Grammy nominee who was hailed by the Blues Music Association as its traditional artist of the year in 2016, he most recently garnered artist-of-the-year and soul-blues album of the year trophies in last year’s Blues Blast Music Awards.
Bob, meanwhile, paid his dues in support of Willie Buck, Tail Dragger and Eddie Taylor before relocating to Phoenix, Ariz., in the early ‘80s, where he teamed with Louisiana Red, Janiva Magness, Chico Chism and others before opening The Rhythm Room, a club that’s been one of the brightest stops on the blues highway for the past 25 years. A Keeping the Blues Alive honoree, his trophy case includes a Living Blues magazine harp player of the year honor and a BMA prize for best traditional album, too.
The duo crossed paths frequently across the decades but hadn’t played together prior to 2013, when spent five weeks crisscrossing Europe as part of an American blues festival tour. The magic they experienced playing off one another was instantaneous and quickly led them to the studio for what became the album Knockin’ Around These Blues later that year. Another well-received album, Ain’t Nothing You Can Do, followed and Primer was in the lineup last year for Do the Hip-Shake Baby, which was issued under the billing Bob Corritore and Friends. And through it all, they played with hand-in-glove precision, updating the traditional sound of Chicago and slightly refashioning it for 21st Century ears.
This disc mixes smoking electric and laid back acoustic arrangements. Captured at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in California and Clarke Rigsby’s Tempest Recording in Tempe, Ariz., the lineup includes a who’s who of talent: Jimi “Primetime” Smith and Billy Flynn on guitars, Bob Welsh, Ben Levin and Andersen on keyboards, Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower and Troy Sandow on bass and June Core and Brian Fahey on percussion.
The grooves come hot and heavy from the opening bars of Chuck Willis’ “Keep a-Driving” with John’s baritone delightfully powering through the lyrics – he’s on the mike throughout – and delivering tasty single-note guitar runs while Bob’s harp lilts in the background. Muddy would be beaming with the cover of “The Gypsy Woman Told Me,” a 1948 on Aristocrat, the predecessor to Chess Records. Sax Kari’s funky “Knockin’ at Your Door” comes across with a steady Latin beat before Corritore’s harp comes to the fore for a bare-bones reprise of Lil’ Son Jackson’s “Gambling Blues,” one of his earliest releases on Gold Star in 1949.
The Primer original “Little Bitty Woman” is a medium-fast shuffle with a percussive railroad beat that dovetails perfectly with what’s come before. It’s delivered from the position of a man yearning for his lady with “meat shakin’ on her bones” to come back home. Bob’s on chromatic for the Little Milton classic “Walking the Back Streets and Crying” before both men shine on solos during J.J. Cale’s familiar “I Got the Same Old Blues.”
The duo put their own spin on Sonny Boy Williamson II’s “My Imagination,” Jimmy Reed’s “Let’s Get Together” and Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me With a Broken Heart” before another great stripped-down, acoustic Primer original, “Walked So Long,” in which he’s treading with sore, soaked feet but determined to reach his baby’s door. The album closes with Little Junior Parker’s “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose,” which was also frequently in the set list of James Cotton, too.
Available through most major retailers, this one’s a pleasant labor of love from two good friends and masters of traditional blues, and the positive feelings flow in every groove throughout. Strongly recommended.
– Marty Gunther
Chicago Blues Guide (May 26, 2020)
From the cancellation of major festivals to the closure of beloved clubs, the blues community has been hit hard this year. But, a ray of hope emerged on May 1st when blues legend John Primer, along with harp whiz Bob Corritore, dropped a new CD that’s chock full of old-school Chicago blues.
The title is the first tip that this CD is a real treat. It’s called The Gypsy Woman Told Me, a tune made famous by the great Muddy Waters. Primer played with him back in the day so he obviously has the chops to take on a classic by the old master. And when it comes to blowing some hot Windy City harp, Corritore is no slouch either.
This isn’t the first rodeo for these blues virtuosos. They’ve previously released two highly-regarded CDs on the Delta Groove label. There was 2013’s Knockin’ Around these Blues followed up by Ain’t Nothin’ You Can Do in 2017. But, they both agree that they’ve hit the jackpot with number three released via VizzTone and SWMAF Records.
In a recent interview with Chicago Blues Guide editor, Linda Cain, Primer said “the third one is the charm! With each record, we learn more about each other and ways to make the records better and better!” Corritore concurred and said the CD expands “our brand of Chicago blues.”
Both these gentlemen certainly have the credentials to break out their brand of Chicago blues to the masses. Primer came up from Mississippi in 1963 and quickly made a name for himself during this electrifying era. He played with a “who’s who” of Chicago blues icons and boasts an impressive array of awards and accolades.
Born and raised in Chicago, Corritore’s blues education began early when he saw Muddy play in his high school gymnasium. Soon he was hanging out at Maxwell Street and sitting in on sessions with the era’s hottest harmonica players. By the late seventies, Corritore was producing recordings with several of the blues best harp blowers.
Corritore took his recording skills to Phoenix in 1981 and then brought live music to Arizona’s blues barren desert with the opening of the Rhythm Room in 1991. Corritore has also produced some incredible performances with legions of blues luminaries as he works tirelessly to preserve the genre’s legacy.
Old pro Primer is just fine with Corritore taking the reins on The Gypsy Woman Told Me. He said, “I let Bob direct the album. He has the vision, but we talk it over and decide together what is best and what we feel works.”
That’s certainly the case as Primer and Corritore click on all cylinders with a rawness reminiscent of the golden age of Chicago blues. This iconic guitarist and accomplished harpist have literally been living, breathing and broadcasting the blues for over a century between them!
This long-time familiarity showcases their fluency with the genre as well as a desire to keep the music front and center with the blues community. This is especially important given how Covid-19 has literally ripped these musicians’ livelihood away. Want proof? Just click this link to learn about how Primer and his Real Deal Blues Band narrowly escaped being stranded for months in the Netherlands following the mid-March travel ban.
Primer turns to another mode of transportation on the first cut of The Gypsy Woman Told Me. On Chuck Willis’ “Keep A-Driving,” he kicks off with a classic Chicago guitar riff complemented by Corritore’s blistering harp and June Core’s steady drum beat. Bob Welsh’s piano work with Kedar Roy on bass pair well with Primer’s vocal pipes, providing the perfect pitch for this lively opening number.
The pair crisscrossed around the West Coast to record this modern master work. The Gypsy Woman Told Me was recorded at Tempest Studios in Phoenix and at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, California. The Tempest sessions found Corritore and company teaming up with longtime collaborator Clarke Rigsby and go-to drummer, Brian Fahey.
The Greaseland sessions went down after Corritore and Primer had wrapped up a whirlwind week of touring together at various blues festivals. Corritore thinks this shared experience really “synced things up” and this shows in the recordings that sprung from these sessions.
That Greaseland groove is front and center on track 7. Here, they take on J.J. Cale’s “I Got the Same Old Blues” with an extra dose of funk accented by Primer’s world-weary voice and Corritore’s stellar harp. This track also features the talents of Kid Andersen on organ, Fahey on drums and Troy Sandow on bass. Chicago’s own Jimi “Primetime” Smith comes on with some killer licks as well.
While many of the tracks on The Gypsy Woman Told Me are beautifully reimagined covers, Primer contributes a pair of original numbers. The upbeat “Little Bitty Woman” and the slow groove of “Walked So Long,” show the 75-year old Primer’s versatility and ability to keep the blues flame burning brightly.
This burning love of the blues shines through the entire CD with another stand-out being Jimmy Rogers’ “Left Me with a Broken Heart.” This track also features local guitar hero, Billy Flynn with Mike Hightower on bass. Young blues prodigy Ben Levin comes on to play piano with Fahey back on drums.
The Gypsy Woman Told Me was produced by Corritore, Kid Andersen and Clarke Rigsby, which is yet another prophetic sign that this CD is a winner. It’s got a pair of brilliant bluesmen teamed with a crew of truly talented musicians and top-notch producers—all with the same vision. For longtime fans and new listeners alike, The Gypsy Woman Told Me serves as an affirmation that the blues is alive and well. There’s no crystal ball needed because this one’s a keeper!
– Robin Zimmerman
Bman’s Blues Report (May 29, 2020)
I just had the opportunity to review the latest release, The Gypsy Woman Told Me, by John Primer & Bob Corritore and it’s a great dose of contemporary Chicago style blues. Opening with Keep A-Driving, Primer on vocal and guitar really does a nice job of setting the stage with Corritore supporting nicely and with solid piano work by Bob Welch, Kedar Roy on bass and June Core on drums. With a bit of boogie built in, Knockin’ On Your Door, with Primer again leading on vocal gives Corritore a nice chance to spread a bit with great harp tones and Primer’s guitar work is tight and well phrased. Lil Son Jackson’s Gambling Blues is one of my favorite tracks on the release with quick paced acoustic guitar and fleet fingered lead by Primer and a fatter harp part by Corritore. Primer’s own, Little Bitty Woman falls right from the Muddy Waters tree with a bouncy, Chicago blues pace, riding harp and Waters like slide work by Primer. Very cool. Slow blues, Walking The back Street Crying is one Primer and Corritore can both sink their teeth into with super vocal and instrumentals throughout. Sonny Boy’s My Imagination gives Corritore a nice time in the spotlight and his harp is A1. Primer’s vocals are of course spot on but this track is here for Bob to shine and he really does a nice job. Another favorite is Left Me With A Broken Heart featuring Billy Flynn on guitar, Ben Levin on piano, Mike Hightower on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Corritore’s harp work is particularly expressive and I always like Flynn’s guitar styling. Very nice. Wrapping the release is Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose with a driving shuffle pace and featuring a real nice solo by Corritore. Flynn again works the guitar nicely working with Corritore to a powerful ending. Solid release.
Sound Guardian (May 2020)
O svemu ovome imam saznanja još tamo od veljače, ali, eto, sve do danas, 1. svibnja, u svojoj sobi dijelio sam ovaj vrhunski “Old School Blues” sa svojom maltezericom Blue Nesy. Moja Nesy je s velikom dozom odobravanja uživala slušajući svih gotovo 49 minuta glazbenog sadržaja albuma “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” malko dremuckajući na mojim nogama. A s druge pak strane, moja malenkost cijelo to vrijeme nije ni trenutka propuštala, već sam se jednostavno koncentrirao kako bih što više tih plavičastih tonova primio, a oni bi se samo tako pretočili u duboki ocean plavetnila iz kojeg jednostavno nikada ne poželite otići! Sve ono što vam pružaju John Primer i Bob Corritore spada u sam vrh ovog glazbenog žanra. Sve to pa i ovu ekskluzivnu promociju i prezentaciju možemo zahvaliti vlasniku izdavačke kuće VizzTone Lable Group, Richardu Rosenblattu, koji se doista svojski trudi osigurati nam ekskluzivne materijale.
Ovaj nadahnuti spoj već je prokušana formula koja s tako iskusnim blues glazbenicima jednostavno ne može “fulati”. Blues gitarist, pjevač koji je svirao u bendovima Muddyja Watersa, Magic Slima i Juniora Wellsa zasigurno nije “mačji kašalj”: John Primer je uvažavano blues ime, koje itekako ima debeli kredibilitet. S druge pak strane tu je Bob Corritore, koji svojim “usnjakom” svako malo oduševljava novim materijalima, snimkama i suradnjama s brojnim blues umjetnicima. Clarke Rigsby, Billy Flynn, Jimi “Primetime” Smith, Kid Andersen, Bob Welsh, Ben Levin, Kedar Roy, Troy Sandow, Mike Hightower, June Core i Brian Fahey samo su neki od njih. Tu je sjajni producent Ori Naftaly na gitari, te Victor Wainwright, nominirani gremijevac na klavijaturama. Svi oni su na neki način involvirani u nastanak i snimanje albuma “The Gypsy Woman Told Me”, kojim odzvanja taj svima znani “Chicago Blues” kao snimljen u stražnjem dijelu Mocombo Lounge bara u kojem se okupljaju provjereni blues znalci i istinski majstori ovog glazbenog stila.
Gitarist John Primer i harpist Bob Corritore udružili su svoje snage i snimili album koji bi morao biti mali dio svake ozbiljnije blues kolekcije.
I zato, dragi moji, pred nama je apsolutno ‘tvrdi’ i nadasve briljantan album tradicionalnog i Chicago West Side Bluesa izvanserijskog gitarista John Primera, te osebujnog, duboko tradicionalistički određenog svirača usne harmonike, naprosto briljantnog Bob Corritorea. Uzajamno uvažavanje i poštovanje duboko je odredilo ovaj odnos. Zašto? Razlog je čisto ljudski, pristojnost i poštovanje, koje je apsolutno zdrava podloga za svaku suradnju; ako toga nema, ako to nije prisutno, onda zapravo sve pada u vodu i nema nikakvog smisla.
Gore spomenuta ekipa garancija su ne dobrog, već izvrsnog blues partyja. Pred nama je album od kojeg će nam krv brže kolati, od kojeg će nam nutrinu bića grijati neka posebna toplina a kostima strujati ona poznata hladnoća koja zapravo izaziva sveopću ugodu. Blues znalci jako dobro znaju o čemu pišem jer to nam se često događa. Ovakve reakcije ne može izazvati nešto što nije dobro, što nema ‘ono nešto’. Duboko u sebi nosim te neke znakovite vibracije, osjećaj da bi tako trebao zvučati pravi blues album. Ne znam već koliko godina pratim rad kako Primera, tako i Boba, i zapravo bilo je pitanje koliko će to sve imati odjeka. Na svu sreću, već njihov prvi album, “Knockin’ Around These Blues” (2013.) pokazao je da ovaj glazbeni žanr ima puno potencijala koje valja što prije iskoristiti i proslijediti prema publici. Kao i mnogi prije njega, Bob je dosta dugo čekao na svoju afirmaciju, a sada nakon što već gotovo puno desetljeće važi za itekako uvažavanog glazbenika, tako da je ta afirmacija samo došla kao potvrda kvalitete i nadahnuća ovog odličnog glazbenika.
John Primer je siva eminencija Chicago blues scene. Njemu nasuprot stoji “mladi” Bob Corritore, harpist koji je najprije samo slušao, a onda je krenuo u taj beskrajni plavičasti svijet u kojem danas ima itekako značajnu ulogu.
Bob nije samo svirač usnjaka, Bob ima svoj klub, on je radio DJ i glazbeni producent. No, ako sve stavimo na stranu, ostaje njegova svirka usnjaka. Taj njegov prezentacijski stil u sebi snažno objedinjuje jedinstvene glazbene bravure Little Waltera, Juniora Wellsa i Jamesa Cottona. Naravno, velika stvar je upravo taj njegov vlastiti i originalni stil sviranja usnjaka. Svakako da je baš time Corritore stekao globanu afirmaciju. To je doista veliki uspjeh kojeg se treba respektirati i odati mu veliko priznanje.
S druge pak strane, ovakav sudar ili sraz generacija nevjerojatno oslikava svu veličinu, snagu i raskoš prezentacijske forme samih glazbenika, ali i ovog zaista, jedinstvenog albuma. “The Gypsy Woman Told Me” svojim sadržajem donosi nam istinski tsunami tradicionalnog bluesa, koji najprije samo nadire i to čini polako i postupno, a onda, kada postane visok preko 30 metara, samo vas poklopi i priča je završena!
Mladen Loncar – Mike
Blues In The South (UK) (June 2020)
This is the third collaboration between these two—Chicago blues veteran guitarist Primer and Phoenix-based harp player Corritore —and like its predecessors it is very authentic sounding Chicago blues, as you'd expect from Mr. Primer, an ex-sideman with Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and Magic Slim, indeed the album is named after the Muddy Waters track ‘The Gypsy Woman Told Me’. The album was recorded in 2018 and 2019 in various places with various personnel and produced by Corritore, Clarke Rigsby, and Kid Andersen. The band includes guitarists Jimi Smith and Billy Flynn, pianist Bob Welch and Andersen on organ (!), three bassists—Kedar Roy, Mike Hightower and Troy Sandow; and two drummers—June Core and Brian Fahey.
‘We begin with Chick Willis’ ‘Keep-A-Driving’, a lovely shuffle in typical Chicago blues ‘ensemble’ style, while ‘Knocking on Your Door’ picks up the pace with Bob’s distorted harp driving the track along. ‘Gambling Blues’ (one of my favourites) is just John and Bob with a more country sound that reminded me of John Lee Hooker. ‘Little Bitty Woman’ is a rocking Primer original and features John on slide, it reminded me of Junior Parker’s 'Love My Baby' and features great piano from Bob Welch, while Little Milton's 'Walking the Back Streets and Crying’ is a slow blues with more nice piano. It’s not all old classic blues though, 'I Got the Same Old Blues’ is the J.J. Cale song which John and Bob bring new life to adding a bit of Chicago grit to Mr. Cale’s normally laid-back groove and another Primer original ‘Walked So Long' has a relaxed jazzy swing. However, we also get ‘My Imagination’—the Sonny Boy Williamson II tune (with Bob in a key an octave higher that Sonny Boy played it in?) and also Jimmy Reed’s ‘Let’s Get Together" both done in authentic fashion. To be brutally honest there isn’t anything here that we haven't heard before BUT I loved the way that both these front men are committed to the ‘ensemble’ sound. They don't hog the limelight for themselves and the band also play their part in backing them with pitch-perfect playing.
– Graham Harrison