John Primer & Bob Corritore – Knockin’ Around These Blues

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STLBlues.net (January 29, 2014)

It’s hard to believe (based on the beautiful and powerful sounds emanating from this CD), but this is the 1st teaming of and release by John Primer and Bob Corritore. Both men have long and undeniable blues credentials. John Primer has suddenly become one of the blues old-guard (we all keep getting older), and his pedigree is impeccable. Coming of age in Chicago, he worked in Junior Wells’ band at Theresa’s lounge, was recruited into Muddy Waters’ final band, spent years and years as Magic Slim’s foil in The Teardrops, spent some time working with James Cotton, and finally stepped out to do his own thing in the 1990s.

Bob Corritore grew up in Chicago, immersing himself in the blues scene there as a teenager. In fact, he used to hang at Theresa’s, soaking up all the music there (including bands that John Primer was working with.) Bob left chilly Chicago for toasty Phoenix in the 1980s, eventually becoming the father figure of the Phoenix scene via his: blues club (The Rhythm Room), band leading, harmonica playing, radio DJ work and music production.

Two backing bands were utilized on Knockin’ Around These Blues. One consists of Corritore’s running partners Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey. The other is comprised of Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith (son of Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.) And if that weren’t enough (and it really should have been), Barrelhouse Chuck plays magnificent piano on all of this.

The Songs: (songwriters in parentheses).

1. The Clock – (Jimmy Reed)
–While I’m not personally a big fan of high-end harp work (closely associated with Jimmy Reed’s songs), I am a huge fan of the Jimmy Reed shuffle groove. The Clock is a rarely covered Reed tune, and Primer & Corritore take this about as deep into the groove and you can get. Primer’s vocals are reminiscent of Magic Slim’s (remember, Primer was a long-time Teardrop), only adding to the deep blues feeling of this tune. What a fine start to a fine album.

2. Blue And Lonesome – (Walter Jacobs)
–The band covers a Little Walter tune, but takes it in a decidedly Muddy Waters direction. As Primer has aged, he’s really come into his singing voice (which wasn’t always a great strength.) This is blues of the deepest sort, making you feel every bit of the blues and oh so lonesome. The real star of this tune may be Barrelhouse Chuck, playing the piano for all he’s worth. Yeah!

3. When I Get Lonely – (Alonzo Primer)
–This is the only Primer-penned track on the album, and it harkens back to the blues styles of the very early 1950s (and earlier, really.) It runs along a “Rolling & Tumbling” groove, clattering along like a freight working its way to highball speed. Just try to keep a smile off your face while listening; I don’t think you can do it.

4. Cairo Blues – (Melvin Jackson)
–I just had shivers as the ghost of Magic Slim passed by. There’s no way this cut isn’t a loving tribute to the fallen Morris Holt, as Primer and band sound eerily like Magic Slim & The Teardrops here. Three words sum it up: groove, groove, groove.

5. Leanin’ Tree – (Robert A. Jones)
–Speaking of tributes and influences, this song is just that for Primer’s 1st major influence: Junior Wells. It’s a slow- to mid-tempo hard blues with a dangerously feral, funky groove just barely containing itself, and jagged spikes of guitar and harp trying to tear that groove completely loose. Whoo!

6. Harmonica Joyride – (Bob Corritore)
–What would a Chicago blues album be without a harp feature? This is that, with Corritore displaying great taste, tone and control, showing the listener it really is all about the song. This is a wonderful example of sympathetic ensemble playing, and should be required listening for all young players who are stuck in a “me, me, me- more, more, more” phase.

7. Little Boy Blue – (Robert Lockwood)
–This is a blues classic, made famous by Robert “Junior” Lockwood. Listen to Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano licks, weaving in and out of the lyrics lines. Also listen closely to Primer give himself over to the lyric, singing from deep in his soul. Nothing fancy or flashy, but so deep and so righteous it almost hurts. The performance here is bringing tears to my eyes, and that’s all right.

8. Just Like I Treat You – (Willie Dixon)
–The guys take us in a Wolf direction here, tackling this Willie Dixon composition that was recorded by Howlin’ Wolf (in Dec 1961, and released on a Chess 45 with “I Ain’t Superstitious” as the flip side – not too bad!) This thing is raucous, tied firmly to a Killing Floor groove. And you know, that’s not a bad groove to tie off to.

9. Man Or Mouse – (Robert Kelton)
–The guys take on a tune closely associated to Herman “Junior” Parker here. While Parker’s blues could get a little smooth sometimes, Primer and band make sure that isn’t the case here as they take “Man Or Mouse” out of the big city and place it firmly in a Mississippi Juke Joint. Loose but tight (you blues-heads know what I mean), a little dangerous, and groovin’ all the way home.

10. Going Back Home – (Sam “Lightin'” Hopkins)
–This is quite interesting. A Lightin’ Hopkins tune is reconfigured absolutely in a Muddy Waters mold. It’s fitting that Primer saved the final tribute on the album for the “old man”, his old boss Mud. The harp warbles, guitars ring, piano pounds and Primer’s vocal is deep in the Waters’ well.

The Verdict:
Frankly, this is the album I’ve been waiting for from John Primer. While the majority of songs here are covers, the arrangements are always interesting, the ensemble playing is impeccable and sympathetic, and Primer’s singing is full of soul. This is traditional blues of the highest order. It is stunning in it power, depth and beauty – as well as a loving tribute to the mentors and influences of both John Primer and Bob Corritore. There is no messing around on this album: if blues is truth, “Knockin’ Around These Blues” is truth. Let’s rate this bad boy; this CD deservedly earns a rarely-given top rating of 5.0 on the STLBluesometer.

For more information concerning John Primer and Bob Corritore, see the following websites:
http://www.johnprimerblues.com
http://bobcorritore.com — be sure to sign up to receive newsletters from Bob

– East Side Slim


Cascade Blues Society (Fall 2013)

When it comes to traditional Chicago style blues, pairing John Primer and Bob Corritore is a natural fit. The kind of match that Louis Jordan would’ve said goes together like beans and cornbread.
John Primer is a legendary guitarist on The Windy City scene, having cut his teeth behind the likes of Muddy Waters and Magic Slim; as well as building his own illustrious solo career. If you’re looking for one of the deepest, down in the alley blues guitar heroes, you need look no further than John Primer.

And although Bob Corritore may have spent the past three decades in Phoenix, make no mistake, this man was raised in Chicago and knows more than just a thing or two about delivering the greasy goodness of his hometown’s sound on the harmonica.

Knockin’ Around These Blues is a long time coming disc featuring these two masters together for the first time in a studio setting. There is no question they’ve obviously stood side by side on stage throughout the years, thrilling audiences with their satisfying interactions. So putting that magic together in something you can take home and enjoy eternally is a true blessing.

Most of the tracks found on this album are covers from the blues world’s best. Songwriters like Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Robert Lockwood Jr. But these numbers are not necessarily always the most-known and often overplayed selections from those greats. And when thrown into the hands of Primer and Corritore, you just do not care who wrote them anyway, because they come out alive and kickin’, gonna make you say “oh yeah!”

Delta Groove always has the know-how to combine their musicians with the absolute best artists to back them. Nothing different here, either. How can you argue with a stable of side-musicians that offer Billy Flynn and Chris James on guitars; Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn on bass; Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums; plus Barrelhouse Chuck on keys?

Chicago blues are certainly jumping with Knockin’ Around These Blues. It is a superb collection of that classical blues sound. Really hoping that this pairing develops into a partnership churning out more discs together. Very appetizing indeed!


Blues News Finland (October 14, 2013)

John Primer ja Bob Corritore ovat mitä mainioin yhdistelmä tekemään ensimmäisen yhteisen levytyksen ”Knockin’ Around These Blues”. Kitaristi/laulaja Primer on esiintynyt lukuisissa legendaarisissa kokoonpanoissa, mm Muddy Watersin ja Junior Wellsin house bandeissä, joita nuori harpisti Corritore kävi katsomassa pikkuisessa Theresa’s -klubissa Chicagon South Sidella. Sittemmin Bob muutti Arizonaan, jossa jatkoi soittamista ja oman radioshown tekemistä, jossa levyjen soiton lomassa vierailevat blueslegendat jammailivat Corritoren kanssa. Tämä kokemus kuuluu tämänkin albumin soitossa. Osavaltion vaihto ei ole vaikuttanut tyyliin vaan puhdasta Chicagoa tämä on alusta loppuun.

John Primerin kitarointi on tyypillistä South Sideä eli vähän rosoisempaa ja ei niin soulahtavaa kuin West Side. Elossa olevista bluesvokalisteista hän kuuluu kärkikastiin. Tunnistettava ääni ja pitkä kokemus antavat uskottavuutta sekä fraseeraukseen että rekisterien monipuoliseen hallintaan. Levyllä on yksi kummankin pääartistin oma sävellys, Primerin ”When I Get Lonely” ja Corritoren ”Harmonica Joyride”, upea harppujumppa. Enemmän omia voisi olla mutta ei covereissa moitittavaa ole. Erityisesti Robert Lockwoodin ”Little Boy Blue” soi hienosti. Tähtitaustoittajista erinomaista työtä tekevät Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger ja Kenny Smith.

– Harri Haka


Sur Le Route De Memphis (France) (Issue 112)

***** (Five Stars)

Associer deux vrais talents, c’est sans risque et le résultat de l’association du chanteur / guitariste John Primer et de l’harmoniciste Bob Corritore est très convaincant, pour un excellent album, sur lequel il n’y a rien à jeter. Le vocal puissant de John ne rend pas les titres plus lents lassants, comme c’est souvent le cas. Quant à ceux plus enlevés, “The clock“, “Cairo blues“ et “Man or mouse“ sont solides et bien carrés, “When I get lonely“ a un rythme sautillant, l’instrumental “Harmonica joyride“ rocke bien, et “Just like I treat you“ est pris sur un rythme endiablé. Je vote pour la poursuite du duo.

– B.B.


Blues & Company (France) (Issue 64 – Fall 2013)

Bob Corritore EST partout et son nom EST DA plus en plus souvent en haut de l’effiche. Après Des disques l’associant à Tail Dragger ou Kid Ramos, on lit cette fois sur la pochette John Primer et Bob Corritore, Le guitariste devient, lui-avec Las disparition das anciens – de plus en plus, à l’instar d’un Lurrie Ball, l’une Des figures de référence du blues traditionnel. Enregistré entre l’Arizona et Chicago, « Knockin’ Around These Blues » (Delta Groove) EST un disque parfaitement réussi, s’inscrivant totalement dans Le tradition du Chicago blues. Un régal offert par Des musiciens on NE peut plus aguerris: Barrelhouse Chuck, Chris James, Bob Stroger, Kenny Smith, etc. Pas ètonnent d’avoir un Tel résultat!

– Luc Brunot


Blues Music Magazine (Issue #1 – Fall 2013)

John Primer and bob Corritore are both seasoned veterans with more years playing the blues falling behind them than either would probably care to admit. Both are deeply influenced by the Chicago blues style, Primer first-hand as guitarist in the bands of greats like Muddy Waters and Magic Slim before launching his own acclaimed solo career, Corritore as a frequent club patron before he moved to Phoenix and stirred up a reputation of his own. That the two would make an album together was inevitable, perhaps, and Knockin’ Around These Blues is a solid collaboration that won’t disappoint old-school blues fans, the pair backed by folks like Barrelhouse Chuck, Bob Stroger, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, among others.

Little Walter’s “Blue and Lonesome” is offered in tribute in pretty much the same shape that Primer and Corritore found the song – slow-paced, mournful, smothering ambiance – the two spicing it up a bit with smokin’ fretwork and slow-burning harp notes. Primer’s “When I Get Lonely” is a bit more up-tempo, Corritore’s spirited harp blasts perfectly melding with Primer’s soulful vocals and emotional string play, both instruments rising about Barrelhouse Chuck’s lively piano rhythms. Corritore’s instrumental “Harmonica Joyride” is strongly reminiscent of Junior Well’s late – 1960s recordings, the band falling in behind his manic notes with Stroger’s walking bass line and Smith’s busy, albeit jazz-flecked percussion.

The highlight of Knockin’ Around These Blues, however, is the raucous cover of Willie Dixon’s “Just Like I Treat You.” Primer’s vocals dance fleetly above guitarist Christ Jame’s rolling rhythms and B-Chuck’s honky-tonky piano-pounding, the song peppered with Corritore’s spry harmonica notes. The album closes with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Going Back Home”, a potent brew of wailing harp, mournful vocals, slow-walking rhythms, and Primer’s elegant fretwork. Fans looking for a contemporary take on the classic Chicago blues sound should look no further than Knockin’ Around These Blues, an entertaining collection from two masters.

– Rev. Keith A. Gordon


Soul Bag (France) (Issue 21 – Fall 2013)

John Primer et Bob Corritore font incontestablement partie Des représentants les plus brilliants du Chicago blues contemporain, ce don’t attestent sans problème feurs discographies respectives. Aux côtés Des leaders, les accompagnateurs sont également impeccables: Barrelhouse Chuck (p), Billy Flynn et Chris James (g), Bob Stroger et Patrick Rynn (b), Kenny Smith et Brian Fahey (d). Rien à dire côté arrangements et production, et encore moins au niveau de l’interprétation, aucune faiblesse. On trouve Des shuttles caracteristiques très efficacies (The Clock, Cairo Blues, Man or Mouse), un instrumental à la gloire de Corritore catégorie gros son (Harmonica Joyride), ou encore trois blues Lents sur lesquels les intervenants dialoguent avec intensité et alsance (Blue and Lonesome, Little Boy Blue, Going Back Home). Le premier Des trois EST même exemplaire avec tous les ingrédients propres au genre: imbrication piano-harmonica-guitare roots et jubilatoire, slide vibrante, ambiance tendue, IL leurs NE manqué rien. Ceci dit, Le present CD engendre un petit malaise. Dans la mouvance de leurs precedentes réalisations, celle-c n’apporte absolument rien de nouveau, et sans étre inférieure, on NE peut guêre y voir autre chose qu’un copier-coller… Sans compter que Le disque NE comprend que Des reprises normis deux compositions, une signêeê Primer et l’autre Corritore. Alors comment se positionner face à un disque sur Le fond d’une qualité irreprochable? Dans un premier temps, s’il s’agit de decouvrir ces musiciens, on Le recommande sans reserve. Mais is on possède déjà plusieurs de leurs CD, accepter l’idée de l’ajouter â une discothèque déjà fournie dans Le registere risqué de paraître insuffisant.

– Daniel Leon


La Hora Del Blues (October 2013)

El blues de Chicago se viste de gala para ofrecernos una colección magistral de diez temas que nos envuelven con su elegancia y su ardiente pasión. Para celebrar dicha liturgia se han unido nada menos que John Primer guitarra y voz, Billy Flynn guitarra, Chris James guitarra, Bob Corritore armónica, Barrelhouse Chuck piano, los bajistas Bob Stroger y Patrick Rynn y los baterías Brian Fahey y Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith. Como se puede comprobar el elenco es simplemente extraordinario, músicos curtidos, que conocen bien el género ya que lo han estado interpretando durante décadas y que ahora se han reunido para plasmar y concebir un trabajo exquisito, intenso, consistente y plagado de blues tradicional del south side de Chicago. John Primer está soberbio, extraordinario diría yo. Como es habitual en él, de nuevo su guitarra suena, como dicen los americanos, ‘deep raw and heavy’. Asimismo John canta con la arrogancia y la convicción a la que ya nos tiene acostumbrados. Por su parte, Bob Corritore impone su estilo característico, como en su momento lo hicieran también sus maestros James Cotton, Junior Wells y Little Walter. El resto de los músicos realizan también un trabajo impecable. Un disco para disfrutar con avidez el blues de los cincuenta, todo a cargo de unos consumados maestros del género. BUENISIMO. Chicago blues puts on their best dresses to offer a ten songs masterful collection that catch us with their elegance and warm passion. To celebrate this party there have joined such great names like John Primer guitar and vocals, Billy Flynn guitar, Chris James guitar, Bob Corritore harmonica, Barrelhouse Chuck piano, bass players Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn and drummers Brian Fahey and Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith. So you immediately realize the cast is really amazing, they are hardened musicians who know blues very well, because they have been playing them for decades. Now they come together to conceive and perform an exquisite, intense, consistent work full of traditional South Side Chicago blues. John Primer is really superb, I dare say he does an exceptional work. As usual, his guitar sounds deep raw and heavy. In addition John sings with his habitual pride and conviction. On the other hand Bob Corritore delights us with his characteristic style, like did his masters and great influences James Cotton, Junior Wells and Little Walter years ago. The other musicians also do a faultless work. A perfect record to eagerly enjoy 50’s blues, alll performed by a bunch of accomplished masters of the style. GREAT.

– Vicente “Harmonica” Zumel


Blues Van (Hungary) (September 24, 2013)

Erőteljes, dögös chicago bluest hallhat a hallgató, ha beteszi a CD lejátszóba John Primer fekete blues gitáros és Bob Corritore fehér szájharmonikás idén nyáron a polcokra került közös albumát, a Knockin’ Around These Bluest. A Mississippi államban született, de Chicagóban felnőtt, az idén a hatvankilencedik életévébe lépett Primer harmincnégy évesen már Willie Dixon híres együttesében, a Chicago Blues All Starsban szerepelt, majd Muddy Waterstől kapott muníciót további munkájához. A slide-gitározásra a blues király zenésztársa, Sammy Lawhorn tanította meg. Waters 1983-ban bekövetkezett halála után Magic Slim bandájában gitározott egészen 1992-ig, mikor szólópályára lépett. Az óta tizenhárom lemeze jelent meg, melyek közül több Blues Music Awards jelölést kapott. Corritore 1956-ban született a szeles városban, ahol Big Walter Hortont, Junior Wellst és Carey Bellt, a szájharmonika mestereit hallgatta évekig. Az arizonai Phoenix-be 1981-ben tette át a székhelyét, itt hamarosan a helyi bluesélet vezéralakja lett. A Rhythm Roots All Stars nevű zenekarával olyan nagyságokkal jammeltek együtt, mint Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Honeyboy Edwards és Robert Lockwood Jr., a mai aktuális blues sztárok közül pedig Bob Margolin, Mud Morganfield, Barrelhouse Chuck és Junior Watson, hogy csak néhány nevet említsek.

Ritka az az album, amelyen a legjobb dalok lassú, tizenkettes bluesok. Nos, ezen ezt kapjuk: a Little Walter által írt Blues And Lonesome-ban felidéződik Chicago South Side klubjainak, így a Theresa’s Lounge-nek whiskygőzös, dohányfüstös hangulata, John Primer tekintélyt parancsoló slide-gitár és Barrelhouse Chuck könnyedén gördülő, de mégis kemény zongorajátékával. Ugyanez vonatkozik Robert Lockwood Jr., az első nemzedék blueszenészei közül a leghosszabb életet élt legenda Little Boy Blue címet viselő számára, ahol Primer nemcsak ragyogóan improvizál, hanem lenyűgözően énekel is. A lemezt záró Sam ’Lightnin’ Hopkins szerzemény, a Going Back Home úgyszintén csontig hatol. Ebben Bob Corritore két kőrre kap lehetőséget, majd Chuck mesterien teljesít zongoráján, hogy aztán a strófák előtt a két gitáros, John és Chris James is letegye névjegyét a rögtönzéseivel. Nagyszerű nóta Jimmy Reed dögös shuffle-ja, a The Clock, melyben Bob a brit blues fejlődésére nagy hatást gyakorolt Reed módjára a herfli felső négy lyukát fújja leginkább, a szám egyedi varázsát pedig a jellegzetes szaggatott ritmusú dobjáték adja meg. Corritore elemében van a hasonló ritmusú Cairo Bluesban ugyanúgy, mint a Harmonica Joyride című saját dalában. A pörgős, gyors bluesok jellegzetességeit kiválóan kiaknázta Willie Dixon számában (Just Like I Treat You) Bob Corritore a hajlékony, de mégis vastag szájharmonika-, Barrelhouse Chuck a virtuóz zongora- és John Primer az Elmore Jamest idéző slide-gitár szólójával. A Man Or Mouse-ban ismét Bob és Hohnerje a főszereplő, persze Primer férfiasan telt baritonja mellett.

Szerencse, hogy az urban blues megszületése és virágzása után fél évszázaddal, ilyen mesterek, ilyen mesterművekkel jelentkeznek.

– Gróf István


Blues Magazine (France) (September 2013)

Le chanteur / guitariste John Primer EST ici associé à l’harmoniciste bien connu, Bob Corritore, pour un excellent album, sur lequel IL n’y a rien à jeter. Il EST doté d’un vocal puissant, qui fait que les titres plus Lents NE sont pas lassants, comme c’est souvent Le cas. En ce qui concerne ceux plus enlevés, The Clock, Cairo Blues et Man Or Mouse sont solides et bien carrés, When I Get Lonely a un rythme sautillant, l’instrumental Harmonica Joyride rocke bien et Just Like I Treat You EST pris sur un rythme endiablé. Conclusion: quand on associe deux vrais talents, Le résultat EST à la hauteur Des espérances.

– Bernard Boyat


RN Daily Planet (September 9, 2013)

One of the last of the Mississippi-born, Chicago-trained bluesmen, guitarist/singer John Primer teams up with harmonica man Bob Corritore for an excellent album of classic Chicago blues.

John apprenticed in the bands of Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, James Cotton and Magic Slim before fronting his own bands. Young Bob Corritore used to watch John playing in Chicago clubs before he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, where he is a club ownere, DJ and record producer when he’s not blowing a mean blues harp.

– Lucky Oceans


Elmore (August / September, 2013)

Breakout harmonica star Bob Corritore joins former Junior Wells/Muddy Waters/Magic Slim sideman, guitarist John Primer, for a lesson in authentic South Side blues bounce. The pair lock horns in a spontaneous outpouring of brass-knuckled shuffles and stinging slow burn-unhinged, raw emotion with a bottomless well of licks.

You won’t find a more substantial representation of vintage South Side Chicago blues without going back decades into Muddy or Sunnyland Slim’s catalogs. Contributing here are a host of Chicago’s current generation of sidemen, notably Kenny “Beedy Eyes’ Smith on drums, while the legendary Bob Stroger plays bass on three tracks, like the cover of Texas bluesman Melvin Jackson’s “Cairo Blues,” ripe with Corritore’s best James Cotton-inspired phrasing. Primer’s gruff baritone guides “Leanin’ Tree,” dug-in, mid-tempo blues with just the right dirty edge clouding Primer’s bristling guitar tone. The eight-minute “Going Back Home” is an incendiary gut-check worthy of the greats on the 1950s Chess Roster.

A page straight out of the Willie Dixon playbook, Primer and Corritore play Chicago blues like there’s still a club on every corner and trouble’s out to find ‘em.

– Mark Uricheck


Block Magazine (Holland) (August 2013)

Zo’n 35 jaar geleden kwamen John Primer en toenmalige bluesrookie Bob Corritore elkaar voor het eerst tegen in de club waar Primer in de huisband speelde: Theresa’s. Sindsdien zijn beiden betrokken geweest bij talloze opnamesessies. Vreemd dus dat het zo lang moest duren voordat hun paden opnieuw kruisten en besloten werd tot dit gezamenlijke project. Na twee door Primer volledig zelf gepende schijven is gekozen voor een mis van bluesklassiekers en obscuurder material. Allen “When I Get Lonely” is van Primers hand, een song die hij eerder opnam. Primer en Corritore geven aan dit material een eigen draai. Zo is “Cairo Blues” van Lil’ Son Jackson van een shuffleritme voorzien, en krijgt “Leanin’ Tree”, van de onlangs overleden Artie “Blues Boy” White, een meer hoekig, recht-toe-recht-aan uitvoering. Primer is op zijn best op het van Little Walter bekende “Blue And Lonesome”. Hij excelleert hierop niet alleen met subtiel slidespel, zijn zang lijkt vanuit zijn tenen te komen. Corritore is verantwoordelijk voor “Harmonica Joyride”, een explosief instrumental hoogstandje vol harmonicalicks. Op de achterkant van het hoesje lezen we: “ Chicago blues master-piece” en “majestic performances by two masters”. Dat kan wel iets minder. Maar dat het een heerlijke schijf old school Chicago blues is, staat buiten kijf.

-Lex Jansen


Blues Blast Magazine (August 8 2013)

If you are growing tired of discs that promise blues music but really offer some variation of rock/blues that seldom resembles the classic styles, this disc is sure to put a smile on your face. Guitarist John Primer learned the ropes while working with Junior Wells, Muddy Waters and Magic Slim. Harmonica ace Bob Corritore used to frequent the same Chicago clubs, studying at the feet of the masters before settling out west in the Phoenix area. As a club owner, host of a long-running blues radio show, and producer of outstanding releases by the likes of Taildragger and Mud Morganfield, Corritore has a wealth of knowledge about the music that is equal to Primer’s exceptional background.
Their pairing adds up to a magnificent treatise on the classic electric Chicago blues style. Primer’s robust vocals grab your attention on a rousing version of Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock” before leaving no doubt about his anguish on “Little Boy Blue”. His stirring performance on “Cairo Blues” is another highlight, as is the superb interplay between Primer and Billy Flynn on guitar along with Barrelhouse Chuck on piano. Corritore spins out mesmerizing harp lines that fill out the arrangements behind Primer. His solos are concise statements that elevate the emotional intensity on tracks like “Leanin’ Tree” and “Blue & Lonesome”, the latter cut done on the chromatic harp. The lone instrumental, “Harmonica Joyride”, gives Corritore a brief chance to stretch out.

“When I Get Lonely” is a shuffle featuring a forlorn vocal from Primer that gives way to a wailing harp solo from Corritore. Not to be outdone, Primer fires off an impressive solo of his own. He probably played Robert Kelton’s “Man or Mouse” many times during his tenure with the late Magic Slim. The latest version has a rolling rhythm that spotlights Barrelhouse Chuck’s sparkling accompaniment.

There are two backing groups. Seven tracks have Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. The other three cuts feature Billy Flynn on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on drums. As noted, Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano provides an added spark throughout the disc, laying down a rollicking solo on “Just Like I Treat You”.

The closing tune, “Going Back Home”, settles into a deep groove with Primer’s stark vocal playing off the superb interplay between Chuck’s driving piano and the taut guitar work from Primer and James. And it offers one final example of what you get throughout this recording – great songs interpreted with enormous depth by musicians who truly understand the blues. Don’t miss this one!!

– Mark Thompson


Blues Advocate (August 6, 2013)
Album Pick. Chicago blues guitarist John Primer and Arizona (by way of Chicago) harp master Bob Corritore team up for the first time on this session of raw Chicago blues, Knockin’ Around These Blues.

It’s odd these two have never collaborated on a project, as Primer began playing the blues in the early ’70s at the famous Chicago club Theresa’s, while, at the same time, Corritore started hanging around the Windy City learning the harp from such legends as Walter Horton, Carey Bell, and Junior Wells.

The ten-track program boasts gutsy, heartfelt cover versions of material by Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Robert Lockwood Jr. (“Little Boy Blue”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), and Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Rounding out the band are guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums.
– Lana Leigh Rose


Historias Del Blues (Argentina) (July 16, 2013)

El guitarrista John Primer y el armonicista Bob Corritore se unen por primera vez en “Knockin’ Around The Blues”, una sesión de blues de Chicago en su estilo más crudo. Primer comenzó a tocar a finales a comienzos de los años 70, la misma época en la que Corritore merodeaba por la ciudad de los vientos aprendiendo la armónica de Walter Horton, Carey Bell y Junior Wells. Ofrecen 10 cortes, la mayoría versiones de temas de artistas clásicos, que ponen a pensar en que habría ocurrido si este par de genios se hubieran reunido mucho antes.

– Diego Martinez


Blues News Germany (July 15, 2013)

Ein Hoch auf alle Bluesinnovationen und Beweise, dass der Blues auch in neuen Gewändern eine Zukunft hat. Aber mal ganz ehrlich: Ab und an braucht es nichts anderes als eine klare, puristische Bluesscheibe ohne irgendwelche Crossover-Ambitionen. Schön, wenn man sich dann auf die Protagonisten solcher Stilechtheit verlassen kann. John Primer, früher Sideman in den Bands von Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, Magic Slim und James Cotton, ist tief im Chicago-Blues verwurzelt. Genauso geht es Bob Corritore, der sich klar auf Little Walter und James Cotton bezieht. Beide sind Fans des puristischen Blues seit gefühlten Ewigkeiten, doch erst jetzt haben sie für ein gemeinsames Album zusammengefunden. Und die CD ist nichts anderes als ein reines, typisches, ebenso virtuoses wie raues Chicago-Bluesalbum alter Schule. Entsprechend stammen die zehn Songs aus den Federn von Leuten wie Jimmy Reed, Little Walter Jacobs, Robert Lockwood, Willie Dixon und anderen. Zudem entspricht die Corritone-Eigenkomposition “Harmonica Joyride” in jeder Note dem, was man von einem Harmonica-Instrumental erwartet. Und auch die Mitmusiker machen klar, was Sache ist. So ist Bob Stroger auf drei Songs ebenso dabei wie Pianist Barrelhouse Chuck. Hier gibt es kein Vertun, diese Scheibe ist genau das Richtige für Bluespuristen reinsten Wassers. Vor Experimenten oder Modernismen braucht man sich nicht zu fürchten, die gibt’s hier nicht!

– Thomas Ritter


Doctuer Blues (France) (July 7, 2013)

Le label californien sort un album avec un duo de choc: John Primer, l’un des meilleurs guitaristes de sa génération, associé à un harmoniciste capable d’accompagner n’importe qui Bob Corritore. Enregistré pour sept titres au Tempest Studio à Tempe (Arizona) et à Chicago au Joride Studio pour trois autres morceaux, ce « Knockin Around The Blues » est tout simplement fabuleux.

Outre le pianiste Barrelhouse Chuck présent tout au long de l’album, l’album compte quelques invités qui tiennent le haut du pavé du Chicago Blues contemporain : les guitaristes Billy Flynn et Chris James, en alternance les bassistes Bob Stroger et Patrick Rynn et aux drums Brian Fahey et Kenny «Beedy Eyes» Smith. Le duo épaulé par une rythmique d’enfer nous offre du Chicago Blues que l’on n’a plus l’habitude d’entendre.

La machinerie est parfaitement huilée avec un répertoire composé essentiellement de reprises (Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie Dixon, Lightnin’ Hopkins) pour une composition de Bob Corritore et de John Primer. En ouverture, « The Clock », avec un beat digne de Magic Slim, est rondement mené, l’émotion est à son comble avec l’émouvante reprise de « Blue And Lonesome » de Little Walter ou la voix de John Primer est d’une justesse incroyable, épaulée magistralement par l’harmonica de Bob Corritore, au summum de son art et deux guitares qui s’en donnent à coeur joie. « When I Get Lonely », avec un John Primer rayonnant, offre un rythme tournoyant de bonheur. Le groupe s’attaque ensuite à « Cairo Blues », un titre rarement repris, avec un beat appuyé, aboutissant sur une version solide comme du roc avec un John Primer chantant haut et fort son blues dégageant une forte intensité. « Leanin Tree », un magnifique blues lent, nous dévoile un John Primer s’exprimant comme un soulman avec un vocal haut perché. L’instrumental « Harmonica Joyride », mélange de West Coast et de Chicago Blues, donne à l’harmoniciste le rôle de maitre d’oeuvre. Retour au blues de Chicago avec « Little Boy Blue », là encore tout est parfaitement orchestré, la voix rageuse donne une grande dimension au titre. « Just Like I Treat You » s’apparente à un boogie au rythme effréné rappelant le standard « Mystery Train ». L’album s’achève royalement par « Going Back Home », un blues lent rural d’une grande ampleur, dont le jeu guitare renvoie vers l’auteur du morceau Lightnin’ Hopkins. Les interventions à l’harmonica de Bob Corritore sont encore une fois sublimes sur ce titre avoisinant huit minutes de bonheur.

Résultat, ce remarquable duo signe un album hors norme, soutenu magistralement par la crème actuelle du Chicago Blues. Tout y est : émotion, intensité pour un frisson garanti. L’une des meilleures nouveautés du trimestre.

– Henri Mayoux


Mojo (July 2013)

Classic Chicago Band Blues is flowering again (see recent LPs by Mud Morganfield, Willie Buck and others) but few bring to it singer-guitarist Primer’s experience or chops. Backed by Corritore’s harmonica, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck and other seasoned Chicago-style players, Primer delivers long, considered versions of Little Boy Blue, Just Like I Treat You and other hard-wearing standards.


Still Life (Netherlands) (June 28, 2013)

De laatste jaren is het Delta Groove label bezig groten in de blueswereld bij elkaar te brengen om zo de blues van de jaren 50 opnieuw leven in te blazen. Na jaren van de stevige Rockblues vond men het tijd worden om deze sound opnieuw onder aandacht te brengen….


American Blues News (June 16, 2013)

An interesting name for two musicians, John Primer and Bob Corritore, to choose for their just released CD. It made me smile when I, the non musician, had been Knockin’ Around These Blues for several years with a great group of blues fans to keep the blues alive and well in Pittsburgh.

To read the rest of this article, click here.


Friday Blues Fix (June 7, 2013)

When I heard about this collaboration, I got excited. Primer and Corritore are two mainstays on the blues scene, emphasis on the Chicago brand. Primer worked his way up playing with Muddy Waters, James Cotton, and Magic Slim, while Corritore grew up absorbing the Chicago sound before migrating to Arizona to become the driving force behind Phoenix’s blues scene as a harmonica player, producer, DJ, and club owner. The set list will be familiar to blues fans, but that won’t matter a bit because both are well-versed in the style and sound great, plus their backed by a powerful band consisting of Chicago blues vets (Bob Stroger, Patrick Rynn, Chris James, Barrelhouse Chuck, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith). Chicago blues fans should not miss this one.

-Graham


Chicago Blues (June 7th, 2013)

It’s always nice when a killer album lands on our desk for review. One mark of a really great album is that you can put in on, and once the music stops, you want more. So, you play it again. With their new Delta Groove release, Knockin’ Around These Blues, John Primer and Bob Corritore have given us that album. These gentlemen have been making music with some of the best for a long time. Bob Corritore has played with Bo Diddley, Ike Turner, Big Jack Johnson, Robert Lockwood Jr., and many more. John Primer has also played with many greats such as Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim and The Teardrops.

The talented personnel here provide first rate backing. They are; Barrelhouse Chuck – piano, Billy Flynn – guitar, Chris James – guitar, Bob Stroger – bass, Patrick Rynn – bass, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith – drums, and Brian Fahey also plays drums. Of course John Primer is on vocals and plays some mean guitar, while Bob Corritore contributes his magnificent harp stylings.

Aside from being a well crafted album, Knockin’ Around These Blues is also a well rounded album. It’s just straight-up, no fuss blues. Standout cuts include the Jimmy Reed gem “The Clock,” with its beautiful groove, and “Leaning Tree,” with some killer vocals, gutsy harp, and overall back room, deep Chicago blues feel. Willie Dixon’s “Just Like I Treat You” is best described as “Texas dancehall meets Chicago shuffle,” and is a great performance. “Man Or Mouse” has a nice Jimmy Reed feel to it with a good vocal and playing from Primer, and yet again, really sweet harp playing from Corritore. The album’s closer is a Lightnin’ Hopkins tune, “Going Back Home.” This is some fine, moving blues, and while the whole band does an outstanding job, Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano playing is a cut above. If you are a blues lover, then this album is for you. You owe it to yourself!

– Barry Kerzner


O.Canada.com (Canada) (June 3, 2013)

So Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, and Magic Slim are hanging out with Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed in the cosmic café of the blues where time is allowed its flux and elasticity and no one ever really dies. They’re smokin’ stogies, talkin’ jive and opining on the state of things when Muddy says, “The blues had a baby and they called it rock’n roll.” Whereupon Junior laughs and slaps his thigh and say “Brother man, if the blues had a baby they’da called it the blues.”

Blues veterans John Primer and Bob Corritore join forces to create a paean to the raw and heavy South Side Chicago blues. What emerges is a no frills, yet meticulously crafted album that honors the genre with a roar and a sublime evocation that becomes essential especially when the volume is cranked to eleven.

Starting with Jimmy Reed’s The Clock and moving from that instantly recognizable groove through to Robert Lockwood Jr.’s Little Kid Blue and ending with a superb rendition of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Going Back Home, it’s a guitar and harmonica showcase replete with dashes of barrelhouse piano and a sterling rhythm section. Primer’s guitar and vocals are suitably old school while Corritore’s harp wails and shuffles and flutters marvelously.

Throughout it’s a testament to WindyCity blues and evidence that Primer and Corritore are the spawn of riveting, tough and ebullient blues. No showboating, no fuss, just genuine and masterful blues.

Necessary, moving, articulate.

– Richard Wagamese


Living Blues (June 2013)

This set finds Primer in as traditionalist a setting as he’s ever inhabited – his sidemen (including, among others, guitarist Billy Flynn and Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassist Bob Stroger, and drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, along with harpist Bob Corritore) represents a virtual “Who’s who” of roots-blues torch carriers. But they pour such emotional immediacy into every note that they eliminate any danger of “museum-piece” fustiness. The set list consists mostly of seldom-remembered gems from the blues canon, adding to the feeling of freshness and discovery: Little Boy Blue, Little Walter’s Blue and Lonesome, and Leanin’ Tree (the late Artie “Blues Boy” Whites 1977 hit) are the closest things to “Standards” on offer here (one might also include Man or Mouse, recorded by Junior Parker in 1966)

Primer and the band update Lil’ Son Jackson’s Cairo Blues as a driving, urban-sounding postwar shuffle; then they drag Artie White’s suave soul-blues testimonial kicking and screaming back into a late-‘50s South Side alley – Corritore wails and swoops as if channeling both Big and Little Walter, and Chuck fires out Barrelhouse-flavored piano lines, evoking his mentors Little Brother Montgomery and Sunnyland Slim. Lightnin’ Hopkins ’ Going Back Home is given a full-bore postwar Chicago makeover. The ghost of Jimmy Reed is resurrected on The Clock (One of Reed’s lesser-known creations); Little Boy Blue sounds like a dispatch from a 1955 South Side gin mill that has somehow arisen, intact and Brigadoon-like, in 2013.

Self-consciously retro tributes to blues “tradition” have become cliché; but in a case like this, with musicians like these on the case, this isn’t “roots” music at all; it’s as contemporary, immediate, and up-to-the minute as it was when the styles were codified – “history” in the present tense.

– David Whiteis


Chicago Blues Guide (June 2013)

As the first notes of Knockin Around These Blues jump out of the speakers, it’s very apparent that John Primer and Bob Corritore know a lot more than most about playing those blues. Indeed, the ghosts of Jimmy Reed, Little Walter, Robert Lockwood, Lightnin’ Hopkins, et. al. have fused with these modern masters to deliver a blues recording that is fresh enough for repeated listening and traditional enough to be mistaken for rare outtakes. Backed by a band of blues “Who’s Who”, Corritore and Primer demonstrate repeatedly why both are considered to be among the finest purveyors of blues alive. Guitarist/singer Primer backed up Muddy Waters, Magic Slim, James Cotton, Junior Wells and others before going solo. Harp maestro Corritore learned his craft in Chicago’s roughest blues bars in his youth, having backed legends like Koko Taylor and Tail Dragger. Today he’s a blues club owner (Phoenix’s Rhythm Room), DJ and record producer. Both artists tour internationally and play prestigious fests and venues.

For this collaborative CD, it’s hard to imagine a more satisfying and authentic cast of characters backing them up; Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Chris James, living legend Bob Stroger, Patrick Ryan, Kenny Smith and Brian Fahey all conspire with Primer and Corritore to deliver a performance that will surely be considered as one the finest blues recording of the modern era. It’s that good.

Culling titles from the greats and also offering a few self-penned compositions, P&C deliver electric blues in a number of classic styles, each executed with perfection; seemingly every nuance, rhythm and melody are placed in just the right spot. Happily, the selections are mostly lesser known titles, Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue” being the most obvious. The recording itself is uncluttered and clean; the instruments are placed beautifully in the mix, creating a lively and realistic listening experience.

On the lead track, Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock”, Corritore’s harmonica effortlessly captures Reed’s high, lonesome sound while Primer’s vocal and guitar evoke the spirit of legendary blues club Theresa’s with every measure. Standout tracks include Melvin Jackson’s “Cairo Blues” and Artie “Blues Boy” White’s “Leanin’ Tree”. “Harmonica Joyride” features Corritore in full electric blues harp mode, Chicago-style. Backed by team Chicago, (Primer, Barrelhouse, Flynn, Smith and Stroger), this cut is definitional as to what blues harmonica should sound like.

Knockin’ Around These Blues was recorded in two separate sessions, one in Chicago, the other in Arizona where Corritore lives, but the geography doesn’t mean a thing. In the hands of Corritore and Primer, the spirit of Mississippi mixed with Chicago electricity knows no borders.

Hats off to executive producer Randy Chortkoff for orchestrating a recording that is fresh, vital and, most importantly, a joy to listen to over and over. John Primer and Bob Corritore are two blues impresarios that know something about knocking the blues around, it’s a real treat to hear them do it side by side.

Highest rating, 5 Stars. Go buy it today.

– Mark Baier


Rootstime (Belgium) (Summer 2013)

John Primer (°1945-), geboren in Camden, Mississippi is een Chicago blues zanger en gitarist. John groeide op met muziek van Muddy Waters en Elmore James. Als jonge knaap zingt hij spirituals in het plaatselijke kerkkoor. Toen hij negen jaar was, leerde hij gitaar spelen. In 1963 verhuist John naar Chicago en richt er zijn eigen groep “The Maintainers” op. De ‘eigen’ stijl van de groep was gebaseerd op de ervaringen uit de Mississippi Delta en de Chicago West Side. Door John’s vlekkeloos gitaarspel en zijn goede zangkwaliteiten, werd hij in 1974 lid van de huisgroep van de ‘Theresa’s Lounge’, een blues en roots club in Chicago. Hier ontmoet John Sammy Lawhorn, de ex gitarist van Muddy Waters, iemand die veel invloed zal hebben op zijn stijl. In 1979 wordt John gevraagd om mee te spelen met de “Willie Dixon’s Chicago Blues All Stars” en in 1980 werd hij de leider van de “Muddy Waters Band”. Hierin speelde hij tot in 1983, wanneer Muddy Waters sterft. John werd daarna de leider van de groep van Magic Slim & “The Teardrops”. Samen tourden ze meer dan dertien jaren. Met genoeg ervaring op zak, begint John hierna opnieuw te spelen met een eigen band. In 2008 brengt hij onder zijn eigen label ‘Blues House Production’ een nieuw album “All Original” uit. John kreeg in 2009 een Grammy Award en in 2013 de ‘Acoustic Album of the Year’ en de ‘Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year Blues Music Award’.

Bob Corritore (°1956-), geboren in Chicago, hoorde toen hij twaalf was voor het eerst Muddy Waters op de radio. Dit veranderde zijn leven. Hij leert mondharmonica spelen en volgt de plaatselijke blues scene op de voet. Hier leert hij grote mondharmonicaspelers als Big Walter Horton, Little Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Jr. Wells, Carey Bell… kennen. Corritore werkte samen met Tail Dragger, Big Moose Walker, Willie Buck, Eddie Taylor… In 1981 verhuist hij naar Phoenix, Arizona. Hier speelt hij een jaar samen met Louisiana Red. In de volgende jaren werkt hij samen met Big Pete Pearson, Buddy Reed, Chief Shabuttie, Janiva Magness… Van 1986 tot 2007 werkt hij samen met de ex drummer van Howlin’ Wolf Chico Chism. In 1991 opent Bob de “Rhythm Room Club”. Hier worden vele opnamen met grote artiesten als Bo Didley, Pinetop Perkins, Honeyboy Edwards, Ike Turner, Lil’ Ed, R.L. Burnside… gemaakt. In 1999 neemt Bob zijn eigen eerste album “All Star Blues Sessions” op. In 2005 treedt Bob in Italië met de ‘Rhythm Room All Stars’ feat. Big Pete Pearson op. In 2007 ontvangt Bob Corritore de ‘Keeping the Blues Alive’ award van de ‘Blues Foundation’. Corritore maakte verder ook naam als radio DJ en platen producer.

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 een feit in 2012. Het album “Knockin’ Around These Blues” verzamelt het beste van beide muzikanten. De nummers zijn zorgvuldig gekozen uit de song books van Little Walter, Robert Lockwood Jr., Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed en Lightnin’ Hopkins. De begeleidingsband is een verzameling van top muzikanten zoals de gitaristen Billy Flynn en Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassisent Bob Stroger en Patrick Rynn en drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith en Brian Fahey. Het album is een album met traditionele blues nummers.
De opener en om meteen in de juiste sfeer te komen is 1”The Clock”, een nummer van blueszanger en –gitarist Jimmy Reed (1925-1976). Jimmy Reed, vriend van Eddie Taylor, speelde samen met John Brim in “The Gary Kings”. Het is een ouderwetse ‘old school’ swing blues met Corritore in een prominente rol en een Primer die vocaal zijn talenten showt. Ook het volgende nummer 2”Blue And Lonesome” van Walter Jacobs (beter bekend als de mondharmonicaspeler “Little” Walter, de pionier van de blues en de mondharmonica) sluit hier zeer goed op aan. Deze knappe slow blues bewijst, dat ook dit soort nummers nog heel goed te pruimen zijn. Eén eigen nummer van John Primer krijgen we met 3”When I Get Lonely” (Alfonzo Primer). Dit vlot country bluesy nummer laat veronderstellen, dat Primer meer eigen werk moet kunnen inbrengen. Eén eigen nummer is er ook van Bob Corritone: de erg korte instrumental 6”Harmonica Joyride”. Maar, alhoewel dit een knappe rit is, zit ik ook hier met hetzelfde wat wrange gevoel. Al de overige nummers zijn covers. Een andere slow blues 5”Leanin’ Tree” (Robert A. Jones) is met een passionele John Primer, de snijdende gitaarsolo’s en de piano van Barrelhouse Chuck heel geslaagd. Nog meer Chicago blues en shuffles in 4”Cairo Blues” (Melvin Jackson) en 9”Man Or Mouse” (Robert Kelton). John Primer laat in 8”Just Like I Treat You” (Willie Dixon) zijn kunde op slide gitaar horen. De afsluiter is een nummer van Sam John “Lightnin’” Hopkin 10”Going Back Home”. Deze gevoelige slow blues is het langste nummer van het album, met opnieuw Barrelhouse Chuck die op top niveau fantastisch presteert.

“Knockin’ Around These Blues” van Primer & Corritore is géén album met nieuwe dingen, maar een ruime verzameling van ‘old school’ Chicago blues en grooves, waarbij je lekker achteruit kunt gaan hangen. Het album is een ode aan grote legendes als mondharmonicaspelers “Little Walter”, Jr. Wells en James Cotton. Voor de liefhebbers van Chicago blues genre Muddy Waters, zal dit album geen ogenblik vervelen!

– Eric Schuurmans


Billtown Blues Association (Summer 2013)

One quick glimpse at this CD is all it takes to know that this one is a keeper. The combination of guitar and harmonica is a classic setup in traditional Chicago Blues and when it comes to John Primer and Bob Corritore blues enthusiasts know that we are talking about the cream of the crop. After digging just a bit deeper I found that the band was equally impressive. Barrelhouse Chuck, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn, Brian Fahey and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith are all headliners in their own right. Bring them together for a recording session and the result has got to be nothing less than mind-blowing. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Chicago in the 1950s. To recreate a sound like this in this day and age you would nearly have to resurrect the dead. Turn it up, close your eyes and it would be easy to imagine yourself sitting in Theresa’s Lounge. This is an all-star cast of players, each among the top in his field. The song selection reflects what might well have been heard during that era as well. Even the originals gave the sound and feel of that time period. This is Chicago Blues at its best. It is obvious that the band is not only enjoying themselves but giving 100%. This is traditional style blues played from the heart with passion, fire and finesse. If you are a lover of blues in the traditional style, Knockin’ Around These Blues is one of those pieces you should add to your collection. You will not be disappointed. I found it to be a rare treat. Having been writing reviews for going on twenty years it is not often that something like this crosses my desk.

– Bill Wilson


Blues Magazine (Netherlands) (May 28, 2013)

Het valt me de laatste tijd op dat na een periode van veel blues/rock uitgaven er weer met grote regelmaat meer traditionele blues op de markt komt, wat voor een belangrijk deel te danken is aan Delta Groove Records. Zo ook het album Knockin’ Around These Blues van Bob Corritore & John Primer. Na de geslaagde samenwerking vorig jaar met Tail Dragger, resulterend in de cd Longtime Friends In The Blues nu dus wederom een geslaagde samenwerking van Corritore met een gevestigde naam uit de Chicago Blues.

Bob Corritore wordt gezien als een van de beste hedendaagse traditionele bluesharp spelers en John Primer heeft zich als gitarist/zanger een waardig fakkeldrager voor de Chicago Blues getoond. Neem daarbij als begeleiders als Billy Flynn en Chris James op gitaar, Bob Stroger en Patrick Rynn op bas, Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith en John Fahey op drums, alsmede Barrelhouse Chuck op piano en je kunt een slechte cd uitsluiten.

Het begint met “The Clock” van Jimmy Reed, om in de juiste sfeer te komen. Little Walter’s “Blue And Lonesome” is het tweede nummer en met deze intens gebrachte slow blues laten ze horen dat old school slow blues anno 2013 nog fris en sprankelend kan klinken.

John Primer levert één nummer, “When I Get Lonely” en Corritore komt met “Harmonica Joyride”, een veel te kort durend harmonica instrumental. De overige acht nummers zijn covers. “Leanin’ Tree” is ook een krachtig langzamer nummer, dat doet denken aan Lonnie Brooks. In “Just Like I Treat You” horen we Primer lekker tekeer gaan op slidegitaar.

Nieuwe paden worden met deze cd niet betreden en soms klinkt het een beetje vermoeid, zoals in het slotnummer “Going Back Home”, dat van mij wel iets korter had mogen duren. Maar het merendeel van de nummers zijn dik in orde met real deal Chicago blues van Primer en het harmonicaspel van Corritore, die Junior Wells en Little Walter doet herleven.

-Ton Kok


Blues In The Northwest (May 20, 2013)

Here’s an essential purchase for those who like their Chicago blues served up with no frills, but with some inspired song choices and a marvellous cast of musicians helping out John Primer (guitar and vocals) and Bob Corritore (harmonica) . . . . whose paths first crossed when a young Corritore would watch Primer ply his trade whilst a member of Junior Wells band at Theresa’s on Chicago’s South Side.

Primer was later recruited by Muddy Waters, while Corritore had relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, where he has become a major figure on the blues scene, not just as a player, but also club owner, DJ and record producer. Here they unite on an affectionate tribute to the ‘Windy City’ blues, with also on board Barrelhouse Chuck (piano), Billy Flynn (guitar), Chris James (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass), Patrick Rynn (bass), Kenny ‘Beedy’ Eyes Smith (drums) and Brian Fahey (drums) . . . a ‘heavyweight’ gathering indeed!

The ten songson “Knockin’ Around These Blues” include some always associated with Chicago, penned by the likes of Little Walter, Willie Dixon and Robert Lockwood Jr., as well as a Bob Corritore and John Primer original and a Lightnin’ Hopkins number. The music gets off to a fine start with Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock”, with that instantly recognisable laid back groove that grabs you straight away. Next up is a lengthy work out on Little Walter’s “Blue And Lonesome”, that gives all a chance to stretch out . . . fine harmonica here from Corritore with Primer’s vocals of the highest quality, and sterling support from the whole band.

Primer’s “When I Get Lonely” is a standout, with some superb piano from Barrelhouse Chuck; the whole ensemble are grooving nicely on the Chicago shuffle of “Cairo Blues”, and Bob Corritore gets a showcase on his self-explanatory instrumental “Harmonica Joyride” . . . .the tune incorporating echoes of the Chicago harmonica legends such as Little Walter, Junior Wells and James Cotton. The slow blues of Robert Lockwood Jr’s “Little Boy Blue” is another gem – again giving all a chance to stretch out.

Best of all is possibly the closing Lightnin’ Hopkins tune, “Going Back Home”, which weighs in at a hefty 7:54, but with again some fine work all round, with mention for the playing of Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Brian Fahey, with Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano again of the highest calibre.

For those who love the Chicago blues of Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Junior Wells and more . . . no frills, just great music and playing!

– Graham Rhodes


Burnout (Germany) (May 18, 2013)

Mit John Primer und Bob Corritone haben sich zwei gesucht und gefunden. Klar das Es hier um den guten alten Chicago Blues geht. Dieser urbane Blues, der untrennbar mit der Stadt verbunden ist. Um es gleich vorwegzunehmen die Scheibe bietet allerbeste Unterhaltung, einzige, wenn auch kleine Kritik es stammen, lediglich zwei Songs aus der eigenen Feder, ansonsten wird gecovert. Allerdings sollte diese kleine Kritik nicht als negativ bewertet werden. Denn die zwei Nummern sind richtig Klasse, hätte ich gerne mehr von solchen Kalibern gehabt. Die Protagonisten, die ihr neu interpretiert werden, dürfte jeder Blues Liebhaber kennen. Auch die Gäste, die man sich eigens ins Studio geholt hat, sind Schwergewichte die unter anderem mit Pinetop Perkins, Billy Boy Arnold oder R.J. Mischo gezockt haben.
Ein weiterer Pluspunkt ist die Live Atmosphäre, die man gekonnt eingefangen hat, denke alle beteiligten haben nicht all zu viel Zeit fürs Proben aufgewendet und ich kann mir gut vorstellen die eine oder andere Idee wurde spontan mit eingebaut.

Einen Tacken rauer klingt der Blues, wenn John Primer zum Bottleneck greift, obwohl hier zwei sehr traditionsbewusst zu Werke gegangen sind, klingt das Album dennoch modern.

Auch nach mehreren Durchläufen wollen sich keine Hänger ausfindig machen eine rundrum gelungene CD, absolut empfehlenswert.


Jasa & Blues (May 10, 2013)

Chicago blues guitarist John Primer and Arizona (by way of Chicago) harp master Bob Corritore team up for the first time on this session of raw Chicago blues, Knockin’ Around These Blues. It’s odd these two have never collaborated on a project, as Primer began playing the blues in the early ’70s at the famous Chicago club Theresa’s, while, at the same time, Corritore started hanging around the Windy City learning the harp from such legends as Walter Horton, Carey Bell, and Junior Wells. The ten-track program boasts gutsy, heartfelt cover versions of material by Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Robert Lockwood Jr. (“Little Boy Blue”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), and Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Rounding out the band are guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums.


Wasser Prawda (Germany) (May 8, 2013)

Was braucht man zur Zubereitung eines großartiges Mahles? Hervorragende Zutaten, großartige Köche, ganz viel Freude am Tun und einen Platz zum Genießen. Mit John Primer und Bob Corritore waren hier zwei Großmeister der Zunft des Chicago-Blues am Werk

Der Gitarrist und Sänger John Primer hat in der Band von Junior Wells gespielt, in der Muddy Waters Band, der Band von Magic Slim und mit James Cotton. Das entspricht mindestens dem Abschluß an einer Elite Hochschule.
Der Harp-Spieler Bob Corritore kam in den 70ern nach Chicago und spielte mit den Großen der Zunft. Er ging später nach Phoenix und ist als Musiker, Musikproduzent, Radiomoderator und Inhaber des Rhythm Rooms selbst eine werdende Legende. 2012 wurde er als Male Blues Artist of the Year für einen Blues Blast Music Award vorgeschlagen.

Die Auswahl der Songs ist perfekt: Die Protagonisten bieten eine tolle Mischung aus eigenem Material und bekannten Stücken. Die CD ist der Nachweis, daß der klassische Chicago Blues lebt – und wie! Dazu tragen die weiteren beteiligten Musiker einen ganz erheblichen Teil bei. Kann man mehr aufbieten als Bob Stroger am Bass, Barrelhouse Chuck am Piano, Kenny „Beedy Eyes“ Smith an den Drums und die großartigen Rhythm Room All-Stars (Chris James, Patrick Rynn & Bryan Fahey)? Das Ganze gekocht im Rhythm Room in Phoenix Arizona, einer der bekanntesten Blues Locations in den USA.

Die Herren sind in ihrer Gesamtheit keine müden Veteranen sondern hochgradige Chicago-Blues-Spezialisten, die problemlos einen Saal zum Kochen bringen. Hier verbirgt sich denn vielleicht auch der einzige Wermutstropfen im Blues-Ozean – die CD wäre nur durch eine Live-Version zu toppen bei deren Einspielung ich in Phoenix anwesend gewesen wäre. Sie kommt dem allerdings sehr nahe: es waren nur zwei Sitzungen zur Aufzeichnung erforderlich. Trotzdem schade, dass ich nicht dabei war.

Die CD gehört auf den Plattenteller (in den CD Spieler) eines jeden Chicago Blues Fans. Es ist zeitloser durchgängig traditioneller Blues auf höchstmöglichem Niveau, der den Liebhaber begeistert und neue Freunde für die Stilrichtung gewinnt. Ich bin kein Prophet, doch diese CD wird im Laufe des Jahres mit Preisen überschüttet werden.
Delta Groove sollte den Digi Pack mit einem deutlich lesbaren Aufkleber versehen: VORSICHT SUCHTGEFAHR! (Delta Groove/in-akustik)

– Bernd Kreikmann


Absenta Musical (Spain) (May 5, 2013)

Tras haber lanzado el 2012 un maravilloso álbum acústico al que llamó Blues On Solid Ground, John Primer vuelve a conectar su Epiphone al amplificador y edita esteKnockin’ Around These Blues, esta vez en compañía de los soplidos del armonicista Bob Corritore.

En el curriculum de John Primer figura el haber sido segunda guitarra de Muddy Waters y también haber sido parte de los Teardrops, banda del recientemente fallecido Magic Slim. Quien no lo conozca, tan sólo con esos datos puede hacerse una idea de lo grande que es el heredero del Chicago Blues: autoridad para enfrentar este estilo hay de sobra. Bob Corritore tampoco se queda atrás. Luego de escuchar a Muddy Waters en la radio, su vida tuvo un cambio y se transformó en un adicto del Blues de Chicago; comenzó a coleccionar discos, tocar la armónica y montar su propio sello discográfico. Luego se desempeñó como productor, trabajando con nada menos que con R.L. Burnside, y tocó con grandes de la talla de Willie Dixon y Otis Rush. De tal unión nada malo podía surgir.

John Primer es dueño de una voz privilegiada y una infalible técnica de guitarra, lo que compatibiliza muy bien con el harp Bob Corritore, que en cada intervención suma, a veces con un sonido grueso y distorsionado y otras, limpio y brillante. El telón instrumental está compuesto sólo por grandes: Billy Flynn, Chris James, Barrelhouse Chuch, Bob Stroger, Patrick Rynn y Beedy Eyes Smith.

Knockin’ Around These Blues es Chicago Blues de buena cepa y en estado puro. Aquí no se inventa ni innova en nada, pero el desparpajo con el que le hace frente a esta sonoridad es implacable. Los clásicos desfilan y en su sonido no podría estar presente tan fielmente la sonoridad de la Ciudad del Viento. Cortes destacables son el covera The Clock de Jimmy Reed, Blue and Lonesome de Little Walter o When I Get Lonely (presente en el álbum anterior). La armónica de Corritore viste la camiseta del jugador número uno en Harmonica Joyride, el único instrumental del álbum. Little Boy Blue de Robert Lockwood Jr y Going Back Home de Lightnin’ Hopkins son macizos espirales de fraseos y sentimiento. Estas son sólo muestras de las diez canciones que componen el elepé.

La credencial sonora más potente de Knockin’ Around These Blues es a la vez su único “pero”. La potencial innovación se sacrifica en función de la fidelidad de su sonido, un infinitesimal costo a cambio de un álbum genial y nutrido. Sweet Home Chicago.

– Por Felipe Suarez


The Juke Joint (Australia) (May 3, 2013)

John Primer and Bob Corritore’s Knockin’ Around These Blues Cd is a solid throwback blues release. it has an “old school feel” that is totally enjoyable. Bob Corritore’s harp is crisp and John Primer rides in style. How can you go wrong? You can’t. Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Bob Stroger, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Brian Fahey and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith provide “top shelf” backing to this highly recommended cd.

My favorite is John Primer’s rendition of junior parker’s classic tune—“man or mouse”.

5 stars out of 5 (in my book)

– Clyde


Billings Gazette (May 3, 2013)

Bob Corritore grew up in Chicago and remembers as a teenager in the 1970s hearing Muddy Waters perform in his high school gym. By then, Corritore was already a competent blues harmonica player. He later frequented South Side bars where he watched Junior Wells, Magic Slim and James Cotton play.

A guitarist in many of those house bands was John Primer, who since about 1997 has been nominated nearly every year for just about every blues music award there is.

Corritore has since performed on more than 50 albums, including several as leader, and he’s had his own share of blues awards.

So, why has it taken these old Chicago blues veterans so long to record together?

“Knockin’ Around the Blues” is from the first cut 1970s South Chicago all over again. And the legends get their due, with covers of Willie Dixon’s “Just Like I Treat You” and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Going Back Home.” And there’s a low, dirty, seven-minute run through Walter Jacobs’ “Blue and Lonesome” that may be the best cover of that song ever.
The one original is Corritore’s chugging “Harmonica Joyride” and it alone is worth the cost of the CD.


BluesPower Blog (May 1, 2013)

Guitarist John Primer, harmonica ace Bob Corritore team for Knockin’ Around These Blues

While it may have been the guitar that dominated much of the past month here on our blog – between our coverage of Eric Clapton’s Pittsburgh show, the Crossroads Guitar Festival, and new albums from both Ronnie Earl and Ana Popovic – the next few weeks are looking to be particularly good ones for blues harmonica fans, with an upcoming release from harp master James Cotton and a pretty neat harmonica-themed collection of classics from Smithsonian Folkways.

But we can’t think of a better segue between these two sub-genres of the blues than the album we’re talking about today, from former Muddy Waters and Magic Slim band guitarist John Primer and ubiquitous harmonica man Bob Corritore, who together make a delightful pairing on the new Knockin’ Around These Blues (Delta Groove Music). From the opening “The Clock” (Jimmy Reed), you can tell this one is going to be special – not that you’d expect anything less from these respected and familiar veterans of the blues, but this is even better than one could imagine, as the pair breezes through such early numbers as the slow “Blue and Lonesome” (Little Walter), the Primer original “When I Get Lonely,” and Lil’ Son Jackson’s “Cairo Blues” before things really start to get good with the passionate vocals and gritty harmonica of “Leanin’ Tree.” That’s followed by an instrumental “Harmonica Joyride” that is precisely what its name promises, before they dive into a superb version of Robert Lockwood Jr.’s “Little Boy Blue” that features forceful vocals from Primer as well as a nice piano solo from Barrelhouse Chuck, one of the many stellar backing musicians you’ll hear on this project, along with Billy Flynn and Chris James on guitar, Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn on bass, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums. The shuffling, Willie Dixon-penned “Just Like I Treat You” and a solid “Man or Mouse” help to bring the album to its conclusion, with the slow blues of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Going Back Home” closing the album in a most appropriate fashion.Primer’s guitar and vocals are both in fine form throughout, and Corritore’s harmonica licks plentiful, so even though there are only ten songs to enjoy here, there’s never a doubt that you’re getting your full money’s worth, including plenty of solos from not only Primer and Corritore, but many of the other talented band members as well.Knockin’ around indeed, but this splendid collaboration between two true legends of the blues is also guaranteed to knock your socks off.

– Mike


Boston Blues Society (May 2013)

In the wrong hands of less talented musicians, three chords repeated systematically over a twelve bar progression of music quickly becomes unimaginative and boring. Add some cover tunes from the heavily mined Chicago blues standards and lesser musicians can produce positively yawn inspiring material. In the right hands with qualified musicians the yawn inspiring quickly becomes awe inspiring.

On Knockin’ Around These Blues, John Primer and Bob Corritore show their considerable talent on what should be a mandatory tutorial for legions of weekend warriors and middle-aged garage blues bands.

Having apprenticed as a sideman for Junior Wells before being recruited for Muddy Waters’ band, Primer (guitar and vocals) has an obvious blues pedigree; adept at the Chicago blues shuffle on guitar and no slouch vocally either. On harp, the understated Corritore proves to be more than just another businessman with a weekend jones for the blues. Corritore the blues music entrepreneur fits in perfectly with his musical abilities. Both Corritore outlets are solely interested in the preservation of the blues.

From the opening count off of Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock,” Primer and Corritore lock in immediately with their amazing backing band. From Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano flourishes to Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith’s work on the drums, each individual musical track is stacked perfectly to compliment the featured performers.

On the Corritore-penned “Harmonica Joyride,” Corritore steps to the forefront with this uptempo musical shuffle. Though clearly possessing the chops worthy of Lil Walter or contemporary harmonica shredders, Corritore’s harp work on his own track is decidedly understated and open. “Harmonica Joyride” is a nuanced instrumental worthy of numerous repeated spins and capable of bringing the music nerd out of most listeners.

Closing out the disk with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Going Back Home,” just enough of the Texas blues is mixed into Primer and Corritore’s Chicago shuffle. Pulling the metronome back ever-so-slightly, “Going Back Home” is the perfect wrap-up to this disk by a man who has made musical history side-by-side with some of the greats (Primer) and a man who clearly displays the many lessons learned watching those greats perform (Corritore).

While there is no musical ground broken on Knockin’ Around These Blues, it doesn’t make this collaborative effort anything less than musical greatness. At just 10 tracksKnockin’ Around These Blues is far too good of a disk to be this short. Hopefully Primer and Corritore will be touring in support of Knockin’ Around These Blues; if this wonderful piece of blues music history is this good recorded then it has to be only better live.

– Georgetown Fats


Blues Bytes (May 2013)

It seems like John Primer and Bob Corritore should have crossed paths musically before now. Primer was beginning to play the clubs of Chicago in the 70’s, as part of Junior Wells’ house band, while young Corritore was taking in the blues from the audience about the same time. Primer paid his dues in the Windy City backing Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters (in his last band), James Cotton, and Magic Slim (a 13-year partnership) before striking out on his own, while Corritore ended up in Phoenix, where he became one of the driving forces behind that city’s blues scene as a master harmonica player, club owner, DJ, and record producer.

Anyone who calls themselves a fan of Chicago blues had to get a little hop in their step when they first laid eyes on Knockin’ Around The Blues (Delta Groove), Primer and Corritore’s first collaborative effort. Hopefully, it won’t be their last. Backed by a powerhouse unit that includes piano man Barrelhouse Chuck, guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey, the pair tear through aclassic set of blues standards.

In addition to tunes from Chicago icons like Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), and Robert Lockwood (“Little Boy Blue”), Primer and Corritore also tackle tunes from Bob Jones (“Leanin’ Tree”), Robert Kelton (“Man or Mouse”), and Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Primer is in excellent voice and his guitar work is as stinging and concise as ever. Corritore is always a pleasure to listen to, whether backing Primer or out front, as on his own aptly titled “Harmonica Joyride,” and both are well-versed in the traditional Chicago blues sound.

Over the past year or so, there have been some excellent traditional Chicago blues recordings released, and Knockin’ Around The Blues is as good or better than any of them. It’s sad that we had to wait so long for John Primer and Bob Corritore to get together, but boy, did they make up for lost time.

– Graham Clarke


Blues Underground Network (May 2013)

Before I review a new Album, I sometimes just put it on for a listen while I am doing other things on the computer. One thing that caught my attention with John Primer And Bob Corritore’s amazing new release, “Knockin’ Around The Blues”, was that after listening to it for what I thought was quite a while, was really only into the 4th Track of this 10 Track beauty. That to me was amazing because I had felt that I already had enough enjoyment and intensity from these 4 Tracks that it could of easily filled an entire album, but then again with John Primer and Bob Corritore, as well as, the other extraordinary performers on “Knockin’ Around The Blues”, I really could not have expected anything less.

If ever an introduction was really not needed, certainly this is the case with former Muddy Waters and Magic Slim Guitarist John Primer and Harmonica Extraordinaire Bob Corritore. Both, on their own, are certainly capable of being the headline act for any great Blues, especially Chicago Blues Album, but the fact that both these Legends have joined forces for one amazing album, is a unique rarity that should bring a fair bit of excitement to any Blues fan, even more so when you consider the additional lineup on “Knockin’ Around The Blues” which included Barrelhouse Chuck (Piano), and on various Tracks, Billy Flynn (Guitar), Chris James (Guitar), Bob Stroger (Bass), Patrick Rynn (Bass), Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith (Drums), and Brian Fahey (Drums).

“Knockin’ Around The Blues” consists of 10 wonderfully blues drenched Tracks which clock in at a really nice 55+ minutes. Of the 10 Tracks, 8 are Covers from Legends, such as, Jimmy Reed “Tim Clock”, Little Walter “Blues And Lonesome”, Robert Lockwood “Little Boy Blue”, Willie Dixon “Just Like I Treat You”, and Sam Hopkins “Going Back Home”, to name a few. For the 2 Originals, both Primer and Corritore penned one each, with primer writing Track 3 “When I Get Lonely” and Corritore writing Track 6, the instrumental “Harmonica Joyride”.

For 3 favorites on “Knockin’ Around The Blues”, I chose Track 1 “The Clock”, Track 3 “When I Get Lonely” and Track 6 “Harmonica Joyride”.

“The Clock”, a Jimmy Reed tune, which is done slow shuffle style, starts off with Corritore opening it all up with some classic wailing Harmonica, before John Primer kicks in with his Vocals and very fine Guitar work. Barrelhouse Chuck also wasted no time pounding the keys throughout, accompanied by Chris James on Guitar, Patrick Rynn on Bass, and Brian Fahey on Drums. “The Clock”, as with nearly all the Tracks on “Knockin’ Around The Blues” have a really nice Jam style feel to them, especially with the average length of all the Tracks together being nearly 6 minutes.

Track 3 “When I Get Lonely”, is the John Primer original, a nice uptempo number which was my #1 favorite on “Knockin’ Around The Blues”. Bob Corritore takes center stage with a really nice solo about a 1/4 of the way through that lasts for a minute. Great stuff, Some more really great Guitar work from Chris James and John Primer.

Track 6 “Harmonica Joyride”, was a shoe in for one of my favorites, as I simply love Harmonica playing and you don’t get to much better than Bob Corritore who has been playing the harp for over 40 years. Corritore is backed by the great Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith on Drums, as well as, Bob Stroger on Bass, and Billy Flynn on Guitar. Each of those 3 performers played together on 3 Tracks of this album. “Harmonica Joyride”, is a Track, like quite a few on “Knockin’ Around The Blues”, that were by themselves worth the price of admission.

One thing is for sure, and that is when you have any album that includes Bob Corritore, you now with absolute certainty it is going to be great. Now add another legend to the mix, ala John Primer and back it all with some of the best Blues artists going and you have an album which is simply put, extraordinarily rare.

For any Blues fan out there, “Knockin’ Around The Blues” is a must have album. One of the best, if not the best, Blues albums released so far for 2013.

Five Stars for “Knockin’ Around The Blues”… Thoroughly Enjoyed and Highly Recommended…

– John Vermilyea


Malbec & Blues (Argentina) (April 30, 2013)

A diferencia del album anterior, aquí prevalece exclusivamente el sonido de Chicago. Primer es uno de los herederos de Muddy Waters y también de Magic Slim. Con el correr de los años alcanzó un destacado status profesional y un amplio reconocimiento de la comunidad blusera mundial. Es un guitarrista soberbio y un gran cantante. Aquí fusiona su carisma como líder junto al armonicista Bob Corritore, oriundo de Arizona y amigo y bandmate de muchos popes del blues. Ambos encaran una serie de clásicos como Blue and lonesome, Little boy blue y Going back home. Más allá de la buena sinergia que hay entre ambos, es imprescindible mencionar al resto de los músicos que los acompañan: Billy Flynn y Chris James alternan las guitarras rítmicas; Bob Stroger y Patrick Rynn se reparten el bajo; y Kenny Smith y Brain Fahey son los encargados de las baterías. El piano, en cambio, está monopolizado por Barrelhouse Chuck. Knockin’ around the blues no aporta nada nuevo, pero eso no es lo importante aquí, sino que apunta a la preservación de lo más auténtico del blues.

– Martin Sassone


Time for the Blues (April 25, 2013)

Our friend Bob Corritore is at it again! This superb harp player, radio host and all-around purveyor of the blues has teamed up with another of our favorites, guitarist John Primer for a rollickin’ new CD “Knockin’ Around These Blues” and you can hear tracks from it on Time for the Blues this week (4/28/13)!

Bob Corritore is an incredibly busy guy, but this latest release is the third in the past year that he’s been involved with! Back in Spring 2012 we featured Bob with Tail Dragger on the CD, “Longtime Friends in the Blues” and then in November we sampled a compilation of Bob’s career blowin’ harp for some of the best artists in the blues called “Harmonica Blues!” Now, this new CD, “Knockin Around These Blues” features Bob’s classic harp style with John Primer’s Chicago-refined guitar licks that presents a straight-on sound as in their rendition of Willie Dixon’s “Just Like I Treat You”.

– Henry Cook


Bman’s Blues Report (April 21, 2013)

I just received the much anticipated new release from Delta Groove, Knockin’ Around The Blues from John Primer and Bob Corritore and it’s great! Both Corritore and Primer are known for their traditional Chicago style and this is right on it…but it is a solid square hit. Opening with The Clock, you’re in Chicago and the best band in town is up and making that statement isn’t far off. These guys, both superstars themselves, have a full hand of musicians with them. Primer of course handles lead vocals and he’s always terrific. Corritore can really be magic on the harp and his playing on this track is very strong. Barrelhouse Chuck adds terrific riffs throughout and Chris James and Primer both do nice jobs on guitar on this track. Blue and Lonesome opens with a great intro from Chuck and Primer and Corritore exchange call and response. This is slow dirty blues like you love it. One of the comments that I’ve had of some recordings of Corritore in the past have been that he gets lost in the mix. Not on this recording! Corritore is well highlighted and sounding great. James and Primer are both highlighted on guitar on this track as well and there is a blood curdling solo on this track that is not to be missed. When I Get Lonely is an uptempo blues track and Brian Fahey is light in the front on drums. Primer has a great voice and Corritore takes a real nice solo early in the track complimenting his singing. Great harp tone! A smokin’ Chicago loper, Cairo Blues, is up next and Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass) and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith join the mix. Corritore really gets the harp screamin on this track and Chuck adds really nice punctuation throughout. Leanin’ Tree opens with some smokin guitar riffs but them paring back to highlight to allow Primer to lead the way on vocal. One of my favorite tracks on the release, James, Primer and Corritore all take nice solos on this track. Harmonica Joyride is an absolute blast! Corritore takes a step to the front and demonstrates clearly why he’s regarded as on of the top harp men in the business today. (Yeah stilladog…this track’s for you pal). Little Boy Blue, of course the great track by Robert Jr. Lockwood is a nice slow in the pocket track. Corritore again blowin exceptional tone on this track. Chuck of course is always spot on and this track is no exception. Opening with a real slick slide intro, Dixon’s Just Like I Treat You is bright and full of energy featuring Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. Again the mastery of Corritore is well documented on this track. Chuck takes a cool piano solo on this track opening for Primer on slide. Saw Primer a short while back at the rhythm Room and his second set blew the doors off the place. This is a guy who can really do it all in his genre. Man Or Mouse gets right into the groove. Billy Flynn takes a nice solo on this track and Chuck keeps the ivories hot. Finishing up with Going Back Home, an old Lightning Hopkins track, the band is tight and lays down the last of 10 solid performances. Corritore takes the first of the solos on this track is it’s really apparent how deeply he feels about getting just the right tome. Excellent. Chuck belly’s up with a really clean solo but James and Primer really step it up on this track and knock it out of the park. This is a great contemporary recording of traditional Chicago blues played by a group of exceptional blues musicians. This is one not to be missed.

– Bman


Rock Times (Germany) (April 21, 2013)

Irgendwann musste der Zeitpunkt kommen, an dem sich John Primer und Bob Corritore für ein gemeinsames Album zusammentun. Schon in den Siebzigerjahren kreuzten sich ihre Wege. John Primer war Gitarrist in Junior Wells’ Haus-Band im Chicagoer Club Theresa’s und Bob Corritore saß bei vielen Konzerten im Zuschauerraum. Bekanntlich spielte der Gitarrist auch bei Muddy Waters und dieser wiederum war einer der Haupteinflüsse des Harpers.

Somit ist es verständlich, wenn sich die Künstler auf “Knockin’ Around These Blues” dem Blues der Windy City widmen. Je einen Song haben die beiden Musiker selbst geschrieben und ansonsten interpretiert man unter anderem Lieder von Willie Dixon, Melvin Jackson, Walter Jacobs, Robert Lockwood oder Jimmy Reed. Drei der zehn Tracks wurden auch in Chicago (Joyride Studios) aufgenommen.

Bei den Begleitmusikern hat man sich Künstler aus der A-Klasse in die Studios geholt. Ach, wie schön, hier wenigstens in drei Nummern Bob Stroger (Carey Bell, Memphis Slim, Big Bill Morganfield, Pinetop Perkins, Otis Rush, James Wheeler) am Bass zu hören. Billy Flynn (Billy Boy Arnold, Mississippi Heat, Jody Williams) und Chris James sind neben John Primer an der Gitarre aktiv und das Piano spielt kein Geringerer als Barrelhouse Chuck (Steve Freund, R. J. Mischo, Dave Specter). Für das Schlagzeug sind Brian Fahey sowie Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith zuständig.

Durch alle Songs, auch bei den Eigenkompositionen (“When I Get Lonely”/”Harmonica Joyride”) zieht sich die Stimmung der Windy City und der Geist von solchen Legenden wie zum Beispiel Muddy Waters. John Primer hat dann auch die passende Stimme zum hier servierten Blues. Am 03.05.2013 wird der Musiker siebenundsechzig Jahre alt und er klingt sehr frisch. Sein Gitarrenspiel ist hervorragend und zusammen mit Bob Corritore geben hier nicht nur diese beiden Künstler den guten Ton an.

Für einen klaren Klang sorgte der Harper, der sich ja auch als Produzent einen Namen gemacht hat. Er saß bei Veröffentlichungen von unter anderem R.L. Burnside, Louisiana Red, Mud Morganfield, Paul Oscher oder Kim Wilson an den Reglern.

Wenn vom Chicago Blues die Rede ist, darf der Einsatz des Bottleneck nicht fehlen. Es gibt so einige Tracks, in denen das Metallröhrchen aktiviert wird. John Primers Gitarrenklang darf man in dem Zusammenhang durchaus als rau und ungeschliffen bezeichnen.

Tradition wird auf “Knockin’ Around These Blues” groß geschrieben. Allerdings darf man davon ausgehen, dass bei vorliegender Platte frisch verpackter Zwölftakter auf dem Speiseplan steht und ein gewisser Live-Charakter ist ebenfalls nicht von der Hand zu weisen. Der Spagat, beide zeitlichen Schienen miteinander zu verknüpfen, ist sehr gut gelungen.
So entwickelt sich die Scheibe vom ersten bis letzten Track zu einem echten Hörvergnügen, dem man sich bei jeder Gelegenheit gerne widmet. Außerdem ist das Album mit über fünfundfünfzig Minuten Gesamtspielzeit auch noch bestens gefüllt. Die unterschiedlichen Musiker haben nicht nur in den drei etwas längeren Nummern (“Blue And Lonesome”/”Little Boy Blue”/”Going Back Home”) genügend Freiraum, um sich zu entfalten. Da gibt es Platz für viele Soli, zu denen auch der Pianist Barrelhouse Chuck beiträgt.

Auf dieser CD tickt der Zwölftakter richtig gut. Wer dem Chicago Blues nahe steht, wird hier seine helle Freude haben. “Knockin’ Around These Blues” ist eine rundum gelungene Platte und vielleicht gibt es ja auch eine Fortsetzung im Form eines Nachfolgers.

-Joachim ‘Joe’ Brookes


Sound Gardian (Croatia) (April 20, 2013)

Kasnim samo tri dana, naime 16. travnja poznata kalifornijska izdavacka kuca Delta Groove Music izbacila je dva nova izdanja. Knockin’ Around These Blues je prvi album koji cu vam predstavit. Radi se o odlicnoj suradnji, duetu. Gitarista John Primer i harpista Bob Corritore udružili su svoje snage i snimili ovaj album, koji bi morao biti mali dio svake ozbiljnije blues kolekcije.

I ovaj puta, naravno da ovu promociju mogu zahvaliti radijskom promotoru Steve Dixonu, sa kojim radim vec dugi niz godina. Buduci da smo se odmah ‘ kliknuli’ nisam ni sumnjao da ce albumi sigurno stici, bilo je to pitanje samo vremena i ništa više. No, kako imam pravilo da samo jedan clanak bude objavljen dnevno na portalu; termini su vec zauzeti i ovo je zapravo, prvi slobodan najbliži datum. Zato iako kasnim samo PUNA tri dana, ali ipak vjerujem da je …ekskluziva još uvijek prisutna.

Pred svima nama je apsolutno ‘tvrdi’ i nadasve briljantni album tradicionalnog i West Coast Bluesa…van serijskog gitariste John Primera,te osebujnog, duboko tradicionalisticki odredenog sviraca usne harmonike, naprosto briljantnog Bob Corritorea. Uzajamno uvažavanje i poštovanje duboko je odredilo ovaj odnos. Zašto? Razlog je cisto 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.

Ako se John Primeru: vokal, gitara i Bob Corritoreu: usna harmonika
pridružila ovakva ekipa:
Barrelhouse Chuck: klavir
Billy Flynn: gitara
Chris James: gitara
Bob Stroger: bas
Patrick Rynn: bas
Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith: bubnjevi
Brian Fahey: bubnjevi

onda je to znak, da možemo ocekivati album od kojeg ce nam krv brže kolati, od kojeg ce nam nutrinu bica grijati neka posebna toplina a kostima strujiti ce ona poznata hladnoca, koja zapravo izaziva sveopcu ugodu. Blues znalci jako dobro znaju o cemu pišem jer to nam se cesto dogada. Ovakve reakcije ne može izazvati nešto što nije dobro, što nema ‘ono nešto’. Duboko u sebi nosim te neke znakovite vibracije, osjecaj da bi tako trebao zvucati pravi blues album. Ne znam vec koliko godina pratim rad kako Primera, tako i Boba i zapravo; bilo je pitanje koliko ce to sve imati odjeka.

Kao i mnogi prije njega, Bob je dosta dugo cekao na svoju afirmaciju, a sada nakon što vec gotovo puno desetljece važi za itekako uvažavanog glazbenika, tako da je ta afirmacija samo došla, kao potvrda kvalitete i nadahnuca ovog odlicnog glazbenika.

John Primer gitarista u bandu Junior Wellsa, Muddy Waters Banda, Willie Dixona, Magic Slima i James Cottona, do svog samostalnog rada i djelovanja vec je samo po sebi dovoljno oznacilo sve što treba. John je siva eminencija Chicago blues scene. Njemu nasuprot stoji ‘mladi’ Bob Corritore harpista, koji je najprije samo slušao, a onda je krenuo u taj beskrajni plavicasti svijet u kojem danas, ima itekako znacajnu ulogu. Bob nije samo svirac 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, Junior Wellsa i James Cottona. Naravno, velika stvar samog Boba 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 velicinu, snagu i raskoš prezentacijske forme samih glazbenika, ali i ovog zaista, jedinstvenog albuma.

Knockin’ Around These Blues svojim sadržajem donosi nam tsunami, koji nadire najprije polako i postepeno a onda, kada postane visok preko 30 metara, samo Vas poklopi i prica je završena! Ovih deset pjesama doslovno ce vas pomesti svojom ekspresijom i da… sada i ovdje trebao bih istaknuti neke …ma, nema šanse! Album se sluša u cijeosti i tih gotovo 56′ proci ce ko’ tren i što sad. Ništa…’PONOVI’ sve od pocetka i tako, krug se stalno otvara i zatvara. Želim biti dio tog kruga. Želim da me ‘poklopi’ taj veliki plavicasti val…koji ce me zauvijek odvesti u tu ‘ blue land’ iz koje se jednostavno ne želim vratiti.

PREPORUKA:
Svakodnevno u mojim rukama nalazi se dosta materijala, albuma; ali samo neki, uvijek zasjednu na ono, posebno mjesto u mom bicu. E, upravo tu se smjestio album Knockin’ Around These Blues izuzetnih glazbenika John Primera i Bob Corritorea.

– Mladen Loncar


In A Blue Mood (April 18, 2013)

The fact that John Primer and Bob Corritore share the billing on a new Delta Groove release, Knockin’ Around These Blues, is certain to be welcome to fans of real deal blues. Primer, a member of Muddy Waters last band and a long time member of Magic Slim’s Band, has deservedly acquired a reputation as among the finest living ‘old school’ Chicago blues artists still with us. The fact that Bob Corritore (who produced this) has teamed up with Primer for this new release is doubly welcome as his recent collaborations have been generally outstanding. The album was recorded in two sessions. One session in Phoenix with Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass and Brian Fahey on drums. The other session was in Chicago with Billy Flynn on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass and Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith on drums. Pianist Barrelhouse Chuck is on both sessions.

The personnel listing should give a sense of what to expect, and indeed this is a recording that fans of classic Chicago blues will savor. While most of the album are covers, the songs covered such as the opening rollicking rendition of Jimmy Reed’s The Clock, will be fresh and even the most familiar songs, Little Walter’s Blue and Lonesome (with some real nice slide guitar), and Robert Lockwood Jr.’s Little Boy Blue (sounding as if Muddy Waters had recorded), are reworked so they sound new. Primer sings and plays strong, Corritore wails and Barrelhouse Chuck pounds the 88s.

The originals are Primer’s When I Get Lonely, which has the feeling of some of Eddie Taylor’s fifties recordings and Corritore’s Harmonica Joyride, a rollicking feature for him. Other highlight’s include Primer’s take on Artie White’s Leanin’ Tree, taking that soulful blues to Pepper’s Lounge, Lil Son Jackson’s Cairo Blues, transformed into a Chicago blues shuffle and a rendition of Lightnin’ Hopkins’ Going Back Home sounding as Muddy Waters might have done it back in the sixties.

Bob Corritore has to be thanked for his efforts to bring deserving blues performers into the spotlight. John Primer should have been a household name amongst blues lovers for several years, and if there is any justice, the stellar Knockin’ Around These Blues will elevate him to this status. He is among today’s finest blues performers.

– Ron W


Don And Sherry’s Blues Blog (April 17, 2013)

The good folks at Delta Groove have been on quite a roll of late. They have released excellent, successful collaborations from Nashville’s own Andy Talamantez/Nick Nixon Band, and have paired harmonica ace Bob Corritore with Tail Dragger and Mud Morganfield. Bob’s on tap again, this time teamed with long-time Muddy sideman and South Side legend John Primer for “Knockin’ Around These Blues,” ten tracks that show two veterans of the contemporary blues scene at their finest.

This is some classic Chicago blues. Primer, whom we feel has been vastly under-recorded in his career, spent time with Junior Wells, Magic Slim, and James Cotton before leading his own band. A young Bob Corritore, growing up in Chicago, was absorbing all the blues he could in local clubs, and has parlayed that into two Harp Player of the Year Blues Awards.
The set leads off with the loping stride of Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock,” and features Chris James and Patrick Rynn on guitar and bass, respectively. Bob can play a country blues with the best of ‘em, (as evidenced by his fine work with Dave Riley) and he and John give the acoustic Primer original, “When I Get Lonely,” an authentic, early-Sun Records feel. Bob lets his harp take the lead on the swingin’ instrumental, “Harmonica Joyride,” and the set closes with John’s plaintive vocal over the slow-burning groove of “Going Back Home.”

We had two favorites, too. John turns in another spectacular vocal on “Leanin’ Tree,” and bemoans the fact that he and his “cold, chilly woman fight every night” in the humorous shuffle, “Man Or Mouse.”

This album could have easily been waxed way back in the day at the Chess Studios, but contemporary blues fans are fortunate to still have these two powerhouse bluesmen “Knockin’ Around These Blues” in 2013! Kudos to Delta Groove for bringing together John Primer and Bob Corritore for this classic recording.

Until next time…

Sheryl and Don Crow


Now Playing (April 17, 2013)

By way of introducing two men who need no introduction: Harmonica player Bob Corritore came up during the 1970s in Chicago, playing and hanging out with a who’s who of bluesmen, before moving to Phoenix. Over the past 30-plus years, he has helped to make his new home an oasis for blues musicians in the Southwest, as record producer, radio host, and owner of the fabled Rhythm Room. Guitarist John Primer spent the 1970s opposite Sammy Lawhorn at Theresa’s Lounge, served in Muddy Waters’s last band, and led the classic lineup of Teardrops behind Magic Slim for over a decade, before beginning an acclaimed solo career. Today, he is at the top of his game, and unquestionably one of the very greatest proponents of the classic Chicago blues sound.

Primer and Corritore finally got together last year to record Knockin’ Around These Blues. The two sessions that produced the album featured some of today’s finest traditional blues musicians: in Arizona, Chris James (guitar), Patrick Rynn (bass), and Brian Fahey (drums) formed the rhythm section; in Chicago, the band was made up of Billy Flynn (guitar), Bob Stroger (bass), and Kenny Smith (drums). Barrelhouse Chuck Goering, recognized as the premier blues pianist by Kim Wilson, Nick Moss, and others in the know, appears on every track. The ensembles play this music correctly, by weaving individual solos, not parts, into a sound that possesses both a seamless unity and nearly infinite complexities.

Of course, the marquee players came prepared. Corritore, though perhaps less well known than other harmonica players, has clearly assimilated the styles of the masters, including both of the Walters and the two Sonny Boys, without becoming an imitator, and plays with superb tone and admirable taste. Primer is a guitarist’s guitarist, with a keen sense of how to turn time and rhythm to his advantage, a mastery of the repetition and variation of motifs, and the ability to steer a mood tough or tender at any time–he has a great feel. Whether he is playing slide or single-string leads, Primer adds his own personal touch, even as he extends tradition. Moreover, he has quietly become one of the deepest and most expressive blues singers we have. He is just such a natural at this; he sounds as if he were born to do it. I’ve seen him win over blues rockers so unequivocally that they go forth and sin no more.

The result of their collaboration is one of the best blues albums in recent memory. Primer contributes “When I Get Lonely,” a fast number in the mode of Elmore James’s “Stranger Blues.” I hear traces of Little Walter’s work on John Brim’s “Rattlesnake” in Corritore’s cutting solo. Corritore submits a latter-day “Juke” in his rip-snorting “Harmonica Joyride,” as fine a harmonica instrumental as you’re likely to hear this year, and just right at two and a half minutes in length. Although these are the lone originals in the program, the covers are all wonderful songs, not too often recorded. They include selections from outside the subgenre at hand–Junior Parker’s “Man Or Mouse” is artfully maneuvered into a lump shuffle supported by Chuck’s piano flourishes, while the Lightnin’ Hopkins number “Going Back Home” is transformed into a Muddy Waters-style slow blues, with Corritore blowing a heavy solo with overtones of Cotton and early Junior Wells–as well as songs from the Chicago blues catalog both familiar (as in a sublime take on Little Walter’s downcast “Blue And Lonesome” wherein Chuck is brilliant, Corritore’s control and phrasing are stunning, Chris James approximates a tough, Muddy Waters solo sans slide, and Primer does the same with bottleneck) and obscure (an enthusiastic, good-time shuffle through Jimmy Reed’s “The Clock”).

Choosing favorites from a set this good may not be a valuable exercise, but I’ll attempt it, and point readers who might not be full-album listeners to a pair of cuts that, coincidentally, serve more or less as chronological bookends to the playlist. “Little Boy Blue” began life in 1941 as one of Robert Lockwood Jr.’s first recordings. Here it is given the deepest Muddy makeover, with Primer gliding easily into falsetto range in an impassioned vocal. A gritty take on Artie “Blues Boy” White’s 1977 hit “Leanin’ Tree,” propelled by wiry guitar, throbbing harp, and pounding piano, represents the later evolution of hard Chicago blues, and is among the most dramatic and rough-edged performances here.

The level of interplay going on throughout the recording suggests that these musicians are particularly sensitive listeners. There is little danger of boredom when the players understand and bring to life the myriad shadings possible in three chords and twelve bars, as this crew does. Corritore turns in an MVP-level performance, and I’ll mention again the excellence of Primer’s singing, which truly is something special. In addition, his guitar tone–a big, clear sound he gets from Epiphone guitars and a Twin Reverb that once belonged to Junior Wells–is beautiful, with perhaps a little more edge to it than usual. In Knockin’ Around These Blues, John Primer and Bob Corritore have delivered a certain contender for year-end awards and Best Of lists.

– Tom Hyslop


Tahoe Onstage (April 16, 2013)

Native sons Primer and Corritore finally join forces to make Chicago blues record

“Chicago blues just has a thing about it. It just gets down harder than other types of music. There is something about Chicago where the Mississippi roots are always showing, while at the same time it’s been adapted to the city’s location that is its home.”

These are the words of Bob Corritore who says his life changed when as a boy he listened to Muddy Waters records. Soon after, Corritore’s instrument of choice was the one played by Muddy’s partner Little Walter. When he grew tall enough, Corritore followed the music from the North Side ’burbs to the city’s South and West clubs. The drinking age was 19 in the 1970s when the aspiring harmonica player with a fake ID and relentless zeal gained entry to the world of the blues.

“It was a spectacular time,” Corritore said. “I was a sponge taking in everything I could. I couldn’t believe people were giving me the time of day, let alone letting me be the apprentice as they lectured me.

“So many artists were still growing. Sunnyland Slim was still putting out new records. Louis Myers kept growing as a guitar player and he also played all the great stuff he had played in the 1950s. He was one of those great students of the music in every way.”

John Primer made the scene, too. A gifted guitarist, he played in a Junior Wells band at a South Side club called Theresa’s. He later played with James Cotton and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He famously played in Muddy Waters’ last band.

Corritore left Chicago for Phoenix where in the 1980s he played with bands such as the Blues Connection and Janiva Magness and the Mojomatics. He teamed up with Louisiana Red at the Purple Turtle club, which Corritore took over in 1991, changing the name to the Rhythm Room, a still-thriving Southwest destination venue.

Corritore has collaborated with so many artists, in fact, it is a surprise he had never played with fellow Chicago native Primer. Never, that is, until now. On April 16, Delta Groove Music released John Primer and Bob Corritore “Knockin’ Around These Blues,” 10 tracks of blues as deep as Lake Michigan and as intense as the Hawk wind.

Primer and Corritore had a studio session after a weekend playing the Rhythm Room. The first song they did was “The Clock,” which is the album’s opening tune. The driving recording was the only take needed. Fresh arrangements of Little Walter’s “Blue and Lonesome,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Just Like I Treat You,” Lightnin’ Hopkins “Goin’ Back Home” and (Corritore mentor and “father figure”) Robert Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue” from that first of three sessions wound up on the record.
“We weren’t taking any prisoners,” said Corritore, who immediately set his sights on making an album. There was a Chicago session and a final get-together in Phoenix in February.

“John knew we had done something really great but hadn’t heard any playbacks,” said Corritore who asked Primer, ‘What do you think?’

“You know”, Primer answered, “There’s some natural playing right there. This is a good one.”

The players on the record are prominent Chicago bluesmen.

Barrelhouse Chuck was in on each session. A nominee for the 2013 Blues Music Award’s Pinetop Perkins Piano honor, Barrelhouse Chuck played and studied with Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Blind John Davis and, oh yeah, Pinetop Perkins. Corritore first worked with Barrelhouse Chuck last year on Mud Morganfield’s “Son of the Seventh Son.”
Morganfield is the oldest son of Muddy Waters, whose longtime drummer was Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Smith’s son, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, played on three “Knockin’ Around These Blues” tracks. “He’s a slightly different player but he has a lot of elements of his dad in there,” Corritore said. “Kenny right now is probably the greatest Chicago blues drummer around.”

Guitarist Billy Flynn has recorded with numerous Chicago greats, including Snooky Pryor, and now Primer and Corritore. “The guy is so deep in so many different styles that he can call upon at any point and time,” Corritore said. “At the same time he’s egoless, so he’ll play just the backing part but he does have a nice solo on the ‘Cairo Blues.’ ”

Chris James came to Chicago in the 1980s after Corritore had moved away, but they worked together on this album. James and his bassist partner Patrick Rynn played on seven of the tracks.

Primer is the lead singer and has a style reminiscent to that of Muddy Waters, but the esoteric Corritore hears Eddie King.

“There’s a language that goes on with Chicago blues that is unique to that subgenre of the blues,” he said. “So much of the Chicago blues has a definite leader but it is a very conversational music. Muddy Waters would lead it with his vocals, and the second leader, the co-star of that, would be the harmonica, Little Walter, James Cotton, and there were all these fantastic guitar and piano parts that went with it.”

Today’s blues, even in Chicago, is mostly driven by guitar. Primer’s musicianship on the guitar is as good as it gets, but the music on this record features the entire ensemble, an interactive call-and-response celebration of Chicago when it ruled the world of the blues. With “Knockin’ Around These Blues,” the reign resumes.

– Tim Parsons


It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (April 15, 2013)

Guitarist John Primer and harp master Bob Corritore team up for the first time on this session of raw Chicago blues, Knockin’ Around These Blues. It’s odd these two have never collaborated on a project, as Primer began playing the blues in the early ’70s at the famous Chicago club Theresa’s, while, at the same time, Corritore started hanging around the Windy City learning the harp from such legends as Walter Horton, Carey Bell, and Junior Wells. The ten-track program boasts gutsy, heartfelt cover versions of material by Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Robert Lockwood Jr. (“Little Boy Blue”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), and Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Rounding out the band are guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassists Bob Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums.

– Zorn


Keys And Chords (Netherlands) (April 13, 2013)

Net zoals vele van zijn mentors verhuisde ook John Primer uit het Mississippi gebied naar Chicago. Primer werd geboren in Camden, MS op 3 maart 1945. Hij speelde in Chi Town in de befaamde bluesclub Theresa’s tussen 1974-’80 en werd sterk beïnvloed door Muddy Waters en Sammy Lawhorn, die hem slidegitaar leerde pelen. 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 en 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 bluessound van de 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. Voor dit ‘Knockin’Around The Blues’ project vindt het duo backing bij een All Stars cast van Barrelhouse Chuck op piano, Billy Flynn en Chris James (gitaar) en bassisten Bob Stroger en Patrick Rynn. Achter het drumstel nemen afwisselend Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith en Bryan Fahey de honneurs waar. Primer graaft diep in de ruwe en heavy sound die de South Side van Chicago jarenlang kenmerkte. Corritore’s harp is een echo van Little Walter, Junior Wells en James Cotton. Naast twee originele tracks – Primer’s ‘When I Get Lonely’ en het instrumentale ‘Harmonica Joyride’ van Bob Corritore, bestaat de playlist verder uit een sessie covers uit de rijke songbooks van Jimmy Reed (‘The Clock‘), Walter Jacobs (‘Blue And Lonesome’), Melvin Jackson (‘Cairo Blues’), Robert Jones (‘Leanin’ Tree’), Robert Lockwood (‘Little Boy Blue’), Willie Dixon (‘Just Like I Treat You’), Robert Kelton (‘Man Or Mouse’) en Sam Lightnin’ Hofkens (‘Going Back Home’) De krachtige muzikale combinatie is voorzien van de fantastisch traditionele Chicago sound. De volumeknop gaat onverwijld naar het ‘distortion level’. Het album ‘Knockin’ Around These Blues’ bewierookt de hoogdagen van de Chicago Blues. Gewoonweg schitterend!This traditional blues style is fueling the fire of the great Chicago heydays! ‘Knockin’ Around These Blues’ is the real deal! Superb album….

5 out of 5 rating

– Philip Verhaege


BluesOnline.PL (Poland) (April 12, 2013)

Kiedy John Primer w 1970 roku mlody gitarzysta zaczynal kariere u boku Juniora Wellsa, w Theresa’s on Chicago South Side na widowni czesto zasiadal Bob Corritore. W 2013 roku harmonijkarz i gitarzysta wydali “Knockin’ Around These Blues” Wytrawni mistrzowie chicagowskiego bluesa startuja z kompozycja Johna Reeda “The Clock”. Wazna postacia w studiu byl Barrrelhouse Chuck, którego piano po czesci definiuje brzmienie piosenek. Ale najwazniejsze sa glos Primera i fantastyczna harmonijka Corritore. Tu gra w wysokich rejestrach – czysto i z bendingiem. Swoja gitara brzmienie wzbogaca Chris James. “Blue and Lonesome” – stary, powolny utwór Waltera Jacoba, to juz prawdziwy popis pianisty, haronijkarza i wrazliwosci Primera jako wokalisty. Oczywiscie James ma tez sporo taktów do wypelnienia, a poszczególni instrumentalisci dopowiadaja frazy. Prawdziwy chicagowski blues, jaki mozna grac bez konca. No i jest tez solo slide. Kolejny klasyk zaaranzowany w manierze Cadillac Records to “When I Get Lonely” Alfonzo Primera. I znów w polowie piosenki gitarzysci rozwijaja skrzydla, tyle ze w klasycznym chicagowskim stylu, praktycznie bez udziwnien. “Cairo Blues” Melvina Jacksona to spora porcja bluesowej optymistycznej energii. Niby zwykly shuffle, ale przeciez wlasnie takie muzykowanie wielu dodaje skrzydel. Tu Corritore i pianista idealnie sie uzupelniaja komentujac frazy Primera, który bryluje wokalnie. Umiarkowane tempo charakteryzuje “Leanin’ Tree” Roberta Jonesa. To wlasciwie niemal fizjologiczny rytm, idealny do bluesowego kolysania sie. John Primer spiewa z wielka dynamika, a przybrudzona harmonijka Corritore kontrastuje z wysokimi nutami, które gitarzysta wydobywa z gardla. A i sama aranzacja to klasyk bluesowej dynamiki. Swietna wersja. Zaledwie 2 minuty i 35 sekund trwa instrumentalna kompozycja harmonijkarza “Harmonica Joyride”. Swietne tempo i zwyczajnie przebojowe frazy. Kolejny klasyczny wolny chicagowski blues to “Little Boy Blue” autorstwa Roberta Lockwooda. Kometarze Corritore do bluesowych zaspiewów Primera i perfekcyjne nuty pianina tworza niemal chicagowski wzorzec bluesa. Niemal jumpowy “Just Like I Treat You” Willie Dixona to kolejna porcja przebojowej energii, jaka na przestrzeni ostatnich kilkudziesieciu lat wyplynela z Chicago w swiat. Solówka slide i szybkie patterny harmonijki po prostu raduja uszy. “Man or Mouse” ma zdecydowanie najzabawniejszy tekst na krazku. Stworzyl go Robert Kelton i oczywiscie facet czuje sie jak mysz przez kobiete. A caly zespól mu w tym sekunduje. To trzecia piosenka na krazku, w której slyszymy gitare Billy Flynna. Plyte konczy “Going Back Home” Sama Hopkinsa. To niemal osiem minut wolnego bluesa, gdzie kazdy z solistów ma okazje wygrac sie do woli, a jednoczesnie nigdy nie przekraczaja oni granicy grafomanii czy samouwielbienia


Blues Junction (April 9, 2013)

The latest Bob Corritore project again finds him backing another Chicago blues veteran; this time it’s guitarist and vocalist John Primer. The Delta Groove Music release entitled, Knockin’ Around These Blues again has this desert fox surrounding himself with an army of talent. Corritore waged his blues battle on two fronts as he recorded seven of the ten tracks in his adopted state of Arizona. On these tunes he and Primer are joined in the studio by guitarist Chris James, bassist Patrick Rynn and drummer Brian Fahey. The remaining three tracks were recorded in Chicago. That city’s blues tradition is where Corritore draws virtually all his inspiration. On these songs Billy Flynn handles the guitar duties, bassist Bob Stroger is on board and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith is heard on drums. Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano is heard throughout this CD. The Willie Dixon penned number, Just Like I Treat You, is an upbeat tune that I pulled from one of the Arizona sessions.

– David Mac


Kentucky Blues Society (April 9, 2013)

Got this album in from Delta Groove Records. Great looking package .. they do it up right. I dig this record .. they bill it as a Chicago blues masterpiece .. and I think they’re telling the truth. This is one of those records that could have been released on CHESS back in the 50’s, only with modern production standards. John Primer does vocals and guitar, Bob Corritore of Arizona does harp as well as produces this record. The drummer is Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith. 🙂
I give this one 4½ stars .. it’s damn near perfect ..


BLUESURIA (Italy) (April 8 2013)

Chicago Blues d’autore per una coppia sulla cresta dell’onda della notoriertà John Primer e Bob Corritore, grandi protagonisti dello scorso anno, pubblicano per la Delta Groove il loro disco “Knockin’ Around These” coinvolgendo Barrelhouse Chuck, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Billy Flynn, Bob Stronger, Kenny “Beedy” Eyes Smith e Brian Fahey.
La sessione comprende materiale ripreso dal repertorio di Little Walter, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed e Lightnin ‘Hopkins.


Midwest Record (April 7, 2013)

Back in the day, Primer was on stage and Corritore was in the audience with Primer inspiring Corritore to live the life of a bluesman. Many years and changes later, the two are finally recording together in a set of purist, south side Chicago blues. It’s certainly atavistic but with the cats playing from the heart backing a cat that was part of the original scene, it all works and it all cooks. In the pocket and in the tradition, this is a solid set of blooz what am. Check it out.

– Chris Spector


Star Blues (April 7, 2013)

John Primer played lead guitar for Muddy Waters – just consider the significance of that for a moment, lead player for the greatest of them all. John is still in cracking form and he’s with Bob Corritore (who we chose as our artist of 2012) for a brand new project on Delta Groove: “Knockin Around These Blues”. We were proud to premier it last night on STAR BLUES. Bob is great player with a knack for bringing out the very best in his partners and “Man or Mouse” is just one of the gems on offer.

– Gary Blue


Good Time Blues (Argentina) (April 1, 2013)

De la mano de uno de los más prolíficos sellos discográficos del Blues ( Delta Groove ), llega este 16 de abril, una muy buena producción de dos experimentados artistas del género. Nos referimos al siempre vigente John Primer ( músico que tocara con la crema del mejor “Chicago Blues” como Jr. Wells, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, y el recientemente fallecido Magic Slim ), acompañado de la excelente armónica de Bob Corritore ( quien además es un conocido “blues radio dj”, dueño de club y productor discográfico, entre otras tantas actividades ). El disco es una muy buena muestra del sonido tradicional de Chicago, con grandes y sentidas interpretaciones de Primer y Corritore en temas de Willie Dixon, Little Walter, Robert Lockwood Jr., así como alguno del tejano Lightnin´Hopkins. Acompañan a este dúo reconocidos artistas como Billy Flynn, Chris James, Barrelhouse Chuck, Bob Stroger, entre otros. MUY RECOMENDADO PARA LOS AMANTES DEL VERDADERO SONIDO DE LA CIUDAD DE LOS VIENTOS!!!

– Gustavo Rozenberg


Blues In Britain (April 2013)

Take one of the blues’ finest harmonica players and a Chicago blues great – add a musical cast that includes Barrelhouse Chuck, Billy Flynn, Chris James, Bob Stroger, Patrick Rynn, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” smith and Brian Fahey, and you have a band that were born to deliver a Delta Groove in vintage Chi-Town style – and that’s exactly what they do.

This isn’t music for blues wimps – this is “hard-core” vintage Chicago blues that would have Muddy, Wolf et al beaming – priding themselves on the legacy their talents left behind.

Primer is blessed with a great blues voice that melds the power and machismo of Muddy with the fragile emotiveness of Lurrie Bell to give him his own distinctive blues styling. Just listen to the cover of Jimmy Reed’s ‘The Clock’ to hear what I mean as Corritore lays down superb harp underpinned by rockin’n’rollin’ piano and Jimmy Rogers styled guitar. Little Walter’s ‘Blue And Lonesome showcases Corritore’s compelling harp whilst also demonstrating Primer’s slide guitar mastery – ‘Cairo Blues’ has a strong Carey Bell feel but the vocals are pure Muddy and Chuck’s piano resurrects the spectre of Otis Spann – whilst Sam Hopkins’ ‘Going Back Home’ is given a Chi-Town makeover replete with stunning Paul Oscher meets Junior Wells harp.

Add in Corritore’s ‘Harmonica Joyride’ showcase, and a Johnny Shines meets Big Walter influenced rendition of Robert Jr Lockwood’s ‘Little Boy Blue’ and you have a Chi-Town masterpiece – Enough said!

– Mick Rainsford


All Music Guide (April 2013)

Chicago blues guitarist John Primer and Arizona (by way of Chicago) harp master Bob Corritore team up for the first time on this session of raw Chicago blues, Knockin’ Around These Blues. It’s odd these two have never collaborated on a project, as Primer began playing the blues in the early ’70s at the famous Chicago club Theresa’s, while, at the same time, Corritore started hanging around the Windy City learning the harp from such legends as Walter Horton, Carey Bell, and Junior Wells. The ten-track program boasts gutsy, heartfelt cover versions of material by Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Robert Lockwood Jr. (“Little Boy Blue”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), and Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Rounding out the band are guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey on drums.

– Al Campbell


Bluebeat Music (April 2013)

Another solid effort from these two veteran players…… Primer plays it straight with a rough edge and Corritore always plays the right thing at the right time……. What more could you ask for?????????……….

– Charlie Lange


Rhythms (Australia) (October 2012)

Since he relocated to Phoenix, Arizona,harmonica player/club owner/radio DJ and record producer Bob Corritore has maintained his established links with the blues musicians of his former hometown Chicago, one such cohort being singer / guitarist John Primer, a former sideman in the bands of Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, James Cotton and Magic Slim. The music on this collaborative CD is invested with the spirit of those great blues artists as Primer’s vocal stamina and stirring guitar technique combine with Corritore’s acute sense of harp dynamics to lead a top tier band that includes pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, guitarist Billy Flynn, bass player Bob Stroger, drummer Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith and others through a gripping session. Primer’s ‘When I Get Lonely’, Jimmy Reed’s ‘The Clock’, Little Walter’s ‘Blue And Lonesome’, Robert Jr. Lockwood’s ‘Little Boy Blue’ and Willie Dixon’s ‘Just Like I Treat You’ bear the hallmarks of real deal Chicago blues. In much the same groove, Junior Parker’s ‘Man Or Mouse’ locks into a Memphis shuffle, Lil’ Son Jackson’s ‘Cairo Blues’ and Lightnin’ Hopkins’ ‘Going Back Home’ representing the south-west blues heritage. Replete with controlled singing,exploratory solos and spellbinding grooves, this CD affirms Primer and Corritore as prime custodians of the Chicago blues tradition.

– Al Hensley


Blues Breeker (Dutch) (May 15, 2012)

In hoeverre ben je als recescent geloofwaardig als je een recensie mag schrijven van een CD waar je van te voren al weet dat het de muziek is waar je van houdt? Je gaat er al extra voor zitten, de verwachtingen zijn hoog, de heren zijn van grote klasse en de muziek past in mijn straatje. Vooraf staat eigenlijk al vast dat dit een geweldige CD is.

Dus op enige objectiviteit kunt U in deze recensie niet rekenen, bij deze!

Toch maar eens gaan luisteren of ze wel zo goed zijn als ik vooraf denk.

Waar hebben we het nu over?, zult u denken.

Nou, de nieuwe CD van John Primer en Bob Corritore die in april 2013 op de markt is gebracht. 2 Mannen die nu voor de eerste keer samen een CD vol spelen terwijl ze toch allebei muzikaal zijn opgegroeid in Chicago. John Primer met zijn imponerende staat van dienst ( hij speelde oa. in de band van Willie Dixon, bij Muddy Waters en bij de Teardrops van Magic Slim) was jaren in het bluescircuit aan het werk. Bob Corritore zal hem ongetwijfeld vaak hebben zien spelen in een van de vele clubs die Chicago rijk is. Bob’s harpspel werd vooral beïnvloed door James Cotton, Little Walter en Junior Wells.

Dit is natuurlijk allemaal terug te horen op de CD die 2 originele tracks herbergt en verder covers uit het rijke bluesverleden. Dat het Delta Groove label achter de opname zit mag geen verrassing zijn. Ze slagen er toch maar weer in om het juiste pak mannen bij elkaar te zetten die samen het beste uit zichzelf weten te halen. Het duo vond de bassisten Bob Stroger en Patrick Rynn, Billy Flynn en Chris James op gitaar en Barrelhouse Chuck op piano maar al te graag bereid hun medewerking te verlenen. En niet zonder succes! De klasse druipt er van af, vanaf de eerste tonen is het genieten geblazen, letterlijk en figuurlijk. Het grootse “Harmonica Joyride” is een eigen nummer van de hand van Corritore, al duurt het met 2.5 minuut veel te kort. Gelukkig is er nog zoveel te genieten dat hun dit snel vergeven is, geen moment hoef en zul je je niet vervelen.

De hoogtijdagen van de Chicago Bluesscene komen voorbijgevlogen, nee fout, de hoogtijdagen zijn helemaal nog niet voorbij. Dat bewijzen beide heren in de 55 minuten die op “Knockin’ Around the Blues” zijn terechtgekomen.

Smaken verschillen al kan ik niet geloven dat er iemand in de bluesscene is die dit een slechte CD zal vinden. Vooraf stond al vast dat dit een geweldige CD is, en wat blijkt; ik had gelijk!

– Huub Houben


Blinded By Sound (April 16, 2012)

John Primer & Bob Corritore Create Instant Classic ‘Knockin’ Around These Blues’ Most would agree that the 1950’s were the golden era of Chicago blues, when giants such as Muddy and Wolf Dixon established the template – an ensemble sound, usually two guitars, harmonica and piano over bedrock bass and drums, dirty and distorted and loud enough to cut through a raucous and rowdy nightclub.

It’s not the most varied or variable of formats, but when done right it’s nothing short of magnificent. There’s a carnal ferocity and an elemental sexuality to the music itself, and at its best the parts form a seamless and seemingly unstoppable force. It’s also deceptive – it sounds simple, yet the blues are notoriously difficult to get right, with the correct combination of flair, finesse, and feel.

Both John Primer and Bob Corritore live and breathe this stuff, classic Chicago-style shuffles and grinders, guitar and harmonica leading the charge, with rhythm guitar and piano embellishing rock-solid grooves. Primer, who worked with Muddy as well as serving a long-term stint with Magic Slim’s Teardrops, is a bluesman’s bluesman who’s never strayed far from twelve-bar convention. Corritore, who seems to be everywhere lately, is a lifelong student of the harmonica, learning from the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and Little Walter while establishing his own significant chops.

They’re joined here by a ‘dream team’ band anchored by alternating bassists Bob Stroger (another Waters alumnus) and Patrick Rynn and drummers Kenny ‘Beedy Eyes’ Smith and Brian Fahey. Billy Flynn and Chris James trade guitar duties, while Barrelhouse Chuck handles piano throughout.

The playlist includes familiar fare like Little Walter’s “Blue And Lonesome” and Robert Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue” along with lesser-known numbers from Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”) and Willie Dixon’s jumpy “Just Like I Treat You.” Primer and Corritore contribute a tune each (the loping “When I Get Lonely” and the aptly-titled “Harmonica Joyride” respectively) to the ten-tune playlist, but there aren’t really any surprises to be found. Instead it’s about the execution – this is blue-collar, hard-working blues, the kind heard in smoky and not-too-savory bars, filling the dance floors with sweaty and exuberant expressions of sexual longing and loneliness, that still hit with an almost visceral force.

Primer, re-emerging after some health issues, is a relaxed and unassuming vocalist, and his guitar work is sharp and stinging. He never tries to be anyone but himself, but there are times when he sounds much like Muddy, in timbre as well as a similar command and authority in his delivery. Corritore is an absolute master of the tiny tin sandwich, buzzing and roaring and growling with endless invention. He echoes the likes of Walter, Cotton, and Junior Wells without resorting to imitation or repetition.

In the end, though, it all comes down to the sound of the band. Lead instruments are featured prominently, of course, but it’s the intricacy and inextricability of the support that drives each tune, and here it’s intuitive. The title, indeed, could describe the lives of every participant – Knockin’ Around These Blues, nothing fancy, just solid, old-style no-nonsense, meat-and-potatoes blues served hot and fresh.

An instant classic!

– John Taylor


About.Com (April 2012)

You can bet that this one is gonna rock! Veteran blues guitarist John Primer joins forces with noted harmonica wizard Bob Corritore for a cruise through the Chicago blues songbook, including covers of essential, historic, classic sides from folks like Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, and Willie Dixon as well as Lightnin’ Hopkins and Robert Lockwood Jr. Joining the pair on this wild ride are guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, pianist Barrelhouse Chuck, and drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey. Release date April 16.

– Rev. Keith A. Gordon


ABS Magazine (France) (Issue 38)

Après toutes leurs rencontres et jams diverses en clubs et en festivals, IL fallait que ces deux là réunissent enfin leurs efforts en studio. Avec un accompagnteur de choix comme Barrelhouse Chuck (p) et Des guests comme Le trio Billy Flynn – Bob Stroger – Kenny Smith sur 3 faces, Chris James (g) et Patrick Rynn (b) sur 7 faces, cela donne un superbe album de Chicago blues classique que l’on écoute et ré-écoute sans se lasser, la formule fonctionne du tonnerre de bout en bout Des Dix faces. Après plus de 40 ans à jouer avec la fine fleur Des grands noms locaux (Junior Wells, Muddy Waters, Magic Slim, James Cotton…) avant d’y aller en solo, John Primer a atteint une maturité artistique et un maîtrise unique en son genre tant au chant (The Clock) qu’ à la guitare (Blue andLonesome, Just like I Treat You); Corritore EST lui aussi à un niveau enviable (Harmonica Joyride, Going Back Home) et Barrelhouse Chuck a plus que du répondant (Leanin’ Tree, Little Boy Blue).

– Robert Sacré


Tahoe Onstage (April 16, 2013)

“Chicago blues just has a thing about it. It just gets down harder than other types of music. There is something about Chicago where the Mississippi roots are always showing, while at the same time it’s been adapted to the city’s location that is its home.”

These are the words of Bob Corritore who says his life changed when as a boy he listened to Muddy Waters records. Soon after, Corritore’s instrument of choice was the one played by Muddy’s partner Little Walter. When he grew tall enough, Corritore followed the music from the North Side ’burbs to the city’s South and West clubs. The drinking age was 19 in the 1970s when the aspiring harmonica player with a fake ID and relentless zeal gained entry to the world of the blues.

“It was a spectacular time,” Corritore said. “I was a sponge taking in everything I could. I I couldn’t believe people were giving me the time of day, let alone letting me be the apprentice as they lectured me.

“So many artists were still growing. Sunnyland Slim was still putting out new records. Louis Myers kept growing as a guitar player and he also played all the great stuff he had played in the 1950s. He was one of those great students of the music in every way.”

John Primer made the scene, too. A gifted guitarist, he played in a Junior Wells band at a South Side club called Theresa’s. He later played with James Cotton and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He famously played in Muddy Waters’ last band.

Corritore left Chicago for Phoenix where in the 1980s he played with bands such as the Blues Connection and Janiva Magness and the Mojomatics. He teamed up with Louisiana Red at the Purple Turtle club, which Corritore took over in 1991, changing the name to the Rhythm Room, a still-thriving Southwest destination venue.

Corritore has collaborated with so many artists, in fact, it is a surprise he had never played with fellow Chicago native Primer. Never, that is, until now. On April 16, Delta Groove Music released John Primer and Bob Corritore “Knockin’ Around These Blues,” 10 tracks of blues as deep as Lake Michigan and as intense as the Hawk wind.

Primer and Corritore had a studio session after a weekend playing the Rhythm Room. The first song they did was “The Clock,” which is the album’s opening tune. The driving recording was the only take needed. Fresh arrangements of Little Walter’s “Blue and Lonesome,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Just Like I Treat You,” Lightnin’ Hopkins “Goin’ Back Home” and (Corritore mentor and “father figure”) Robert Lockwood’s “Little Boy Blue” from that first of three sessions wound up on the record.

“We weren’t taking any prisoners,” said Corritore, who immediately set his sights on making an album. There was a Chicago session and a final get-together in Phoenix in February.

“John knew we had done something really great but hadn’t heard any playbacks,” said Corritore who asked Primer, ‘What do you think?’

“You know”, Primer answered, “There’s some natural playing right there. This is a good one.”
The players on the record are prominent Chicago bluesmen.

Barrelhouse Chuck was in on each session. A nominee for the 2013 Blues Music Award’s Pinetop Perkins Piano honor, Barrelhouse Chuck played and studied with Sunnyland Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Blind John Davis and, oh yeah, Pinetop Perkins. Corritore first worked with Barrelhouse Chuck last year on Mud Morganfield’s “Son of the Seventh Son.”

Morganfield is the oldest son of Muddy Waters, whose longtime drummer was Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Smith’s son, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, played on three “Knockin’ Around These Blues” tracks. “He’s a slightly different player but he has a lot of elements of his dad in there,” Corritore said. “Kenny right now is probably the greatest Chicago blues drummer around.”

Guitarist Billy Flynn has recorded with numerous Chicago greats, including Snooky Pryor, and now Primer and Corritore. “The guy is so deep in so many different styles that he can call upon at any point and time,” Corritore said. “At the same time he’s egoless, so he’ll play just the backing part but he does have a nice solo on the ‘Cairo Blues.’ ”

Chris James came to Chicago in the 1980s after Corritore had moved away, but they worked together on this album. James and his bassist partner Patrick Rynn played on seven of the tracks.
Primer is the lead singer and has a style reminiscent to that of Muddy Waters, but the esoteric Corritore hears Eddie King.

“There’s a language that goes on with Chicago blues that is unique to that subgenre of the blues,” he said. “So much of the Chicago blues has a definite leader but it is a very conversational music. Muddy Waters would lead it with his vocals, and the second leader, the co-star of that, would be the harmonica, Little Walter, James Cotton, and there were all these fantastic guitar and piano parts that went with it.”

Today’s blues, even in Chicago, is mostly driven by guitar. Primer’s musicianship on the guitar is as good as it gets, but the music on this record features the entire ensemble, an interactive call-and-response celebration of Chicago when it ruled the world of the blues. With “Knockin’ Around These Blues,” the reign resumes.

– Tim Parsons

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