Baltimore Blues Society’s Bluesrag
Big City Blues
Blues Art Journal (Austria)
Blues Festival E-Guide
Blues News (Norway)
Dr. Blues CD Reviews
In A Blue Mood
Jazz & Blues Report
Juke Joint Blues & Soul (France)
Juke Joint Soul
La Hora Del Blues (Spain)
Magic City Blues News
Maine Blues Society Newsletter
MazzMusikas Free-Zine (Netherlands)/a>
Music City Blues Society
Nashville City Paper
Smoky Mountain Blues News
Southwest Blues Magazine
Supporting The Blues
Virus de Blues (France)
Big City Blues (August / September 2007)
This new CD produced in part by Rhythm Room proprietor Bob Corritore is packed with outstanding live blues, featuring a long list of performers compiled from 10 years of recorded performances at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ.
These tracks have to be some of the best material one could have picked. The Fabulous Thunderbirds are heard three times, from performances in 2001 and 2002. The fantastic ’02 recordings “Goin’ Away Baby”, and “Horsin Around” consisted of a cut band with guitar, bass, drums and the howl of Kim Wilson’s harp. The original T Birds are all together on “Rich Woman”. The quiet and sullen ballad “Long John Hunter’s Country Blues” takes it a little deeper as does Paul Oscher’s resonant chromatic harp and guitar on the instrumental “That’s It”.
A somber moment lies here with Floyd Dixon’s “Please Don’t Go”. Not that the song was sad, mind you. He lets it all hang out here, but this is one of the last recordings he made. His last CD was produced by Bob at the Rhythm Room in June of 2006. He passed away shortly after.
Big Pete Pearson lends his talents as a leader in the rough and raucous blues with “That’s All Right”. The Rhythm Room All-Stars with Bob on harp cover the music for Pete. Henry Gray appears twice on “Henry’s Houserocker” with Kid Ramos, and alongside the raspy vocals of Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, and the dynamic harp of Johnny Dyer on the laid back blues of “Monkey Meat”. The cool slide guitar of Sonny Rhodes comes to life on “My Bleeding Heart”, with a melancholy lyric yet revealing an upward tempo.
The jazzy, experienced guitar work of Robert Lockwood, Jr.’s “C.C. Rider” remains one of the all time pieces I will remember him for, and now there is another recording to add to it all. Finis Tasby and the Mannish Boys “Lonesome Bedroom” and Louisiana Red’s “Time Will Tell” are both deep rooted in the blues, and a great rendition of “Two Drinks of Wine” by Billy Boy Arnold closes out the CD. The music and performances on this CD are incredible. It’s good to know the old time blues can still be found out there, floating from town to town. I’m just glad they stopped by Phoenix.
– Dirk Wissbaum
Blues Festival E-Guide (August 24, 2007)
HOUSE ROCKIN’ AND BLUES SHOUTIN’! Celebrates 15 years of Phoenix, AZ’s Roots and Blues Concert Club, The Rhythm Room. The 14 tracks, recorded live, features The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Lockwood Jr., Floyd Dixon, The Mannish Boys (featuring Finis Tasby), Louisiana Red, Henry Gray, Billy Boy Arnold, Paul Oscher, Johnny Dyer, Kid Ramos, Sonny Rhodes, Big Pete Pearson and The Rhythm Room All Stars, Bob Corritore, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, and Long John Hunter represents highlights of performances at the club recorded between 1997 and 2006. Produced by harmonica player/club owner Bob Corritore, HOUSE ROCKIN’ AND BLUES SHOUTIN’! Takes you through a varied program of the many artists and shades of blues that can be heard nightly at The Rhythm Room. These sides capture the great blues artists interacting with great blues audiences and the magical moments that resulted.
MusicForAmerica.org (August 20, 2007)
If you want to blues live and in your face, then House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’! (Blue Witch) is what you’re looking for. This 14-track CD celebrates 15 years of music and good times at The Rhythm Room, a club in Phoenix, Arizona owned by Bob Corritore that has become THE hot spot in the Southwest for anything and everything that has to do with the blues.
The artists on the album represent the many who have played there over the years, and in these recordings, the crowds are very enthusiastic. All of the performances here, including those by The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Floyd Dixon, Long John Hunter, Louisiana Red, Billy Boy Arnold, Big Pete Pearson and Sonny Rhodes are exclusive to this CD, and when you hear Big Pete Pearson singing about his woman loving someone else, you hope that he’ll have some of the best pity sex around. As for the recordings, sound quality is excellent, nothing of bootleg quality, and you’ll truly feel as if you are eight feet in front of the stage, with beer in hand and hopefully a lover of interest close by, or alone and bummed out of your mind hoping the next thing that walks by is a scorcher. It’s blues at its best, performed live and in front of a crowd, raw and buttons loose.
House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’! will be released on September 11th, and will be available through Blue Witch Records.
– Da Bookman
In A Blue Mood Blogspot (August 24, 2007)
Congrats to 15 years of The Rhythm Room: Phoenix’s Rhythm Room has developed a reputation as a blues room, in part due to the efforts of Bob Corritore. Blue Witch Records has issued a lively celebration of its 15 years, House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’!, with 14 strong live performances for the Rhythm Room’s stage. This is scheduled to be released in September, 2007. Its a nice range of performances that give an indication of the breadth and eclecticism of real deal blues that play there, including performances by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Manish Boys, Long John Hunter, Floyd Dixon, Big Pete Pearson, Henry Gray, Sonny Rhodes, Paul Oscher, Chief Shabuttie Gilliame with Johnny Dyer and Henry Gray, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Louisiana Red, and Billy Boy Arnold. There are a number of highlights here, and no poor tracks. The three Thunderbirds tracks are each with different personnel supporting Kim Wilson, including Troy Gonyea’s guitar backing him on Jimmy Rogers’ “Goin’ Away Baby”, and the Little Walter-styled harp romp, “Horsin’ Around”, while Kid Ramos, Kirk Fletcher and horns provide support for the New Orleans groove of “Rich Woman”. Finis Tasby’s gravelly vocals graces The Manish Boys’ fine “Lonesome Bedroom”, while Long John Hunter is heard solo on “Long John’s Country Blues”. Piano blues fans will enjoy Floyd Dixon’s jumping “Please Don’t Go”, while Henry Gray’s “Henry’s Houserocker” is a solid shuffle with Kid Ramos’ guitar helping propel the boogie-woogie feature. Sonny Rhodes, playing lap steel guitar, interprets one of the lesser-known Elmore James numbers, “My Bleeding Heart”, while Paul Oscher is marvelous on guitar, harp and vocals on “That’s It”. The delightful performances come to a close with Billy Boy Arnold’s take on an old Sonny Boy Williamson recording (which actually dates back to pianist Charlie Spand), which is retitled and credited to Arnold, “Two Drinks of Wine”. It is the same song Junior Wells did as “Early in the Morning”. One can’t think of a better salute to this blues room than the compilation of fine recordings here, and Blue Witch is to be thanked for this collection. May the Rhythm Room celebrate another 15 years.
– Ron Weinstock
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (September 12, 2007)
The 12-bar blues best in a bar:
The best blues is usually live blues, performed for an audience, where a musical feedback loop of fans who appreciate the music and musicians who appreciate the fans combine to produce great music for those of us who weren’t there.
One of the best I’ve heard for a while is a CD of performances from 1997 to 2006 at the Rhythm Room, a blues club in Phoenix, Ariz.
It’s “House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin'” (Blue Witch Records).
First, the list of performers draws from a wide variety of blues styles, from Robert Lockwood Jr. to the Fabulous Thunderbirds (not so great a distance in blues miles, actually).
And by the way, remind me someday to talk about Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Robert Jr. Lockwood, as he was once known. I overheard someone at a concert recently disparaging a performer who used the Robert Lockwood, Jr. moniker.
But, as often is the case, BlueNotes digresses. Back to the CD at hand.
Performers like Louisiana Red, Floyd Dixon, Finis Tasby, Long John Hunter, Henry Gray and many more make this a group of sparkling tracks. It had to be easy to find 14 great tracks over ten years. On the other hand, if this represents the quality of shows at the Rhythm Room, it sounds like my blue heaven. And remember, the Arizona dry heat isn’t really all that hot.
Just for example: “Lonesome Bedroom” by Finis Tasby and the Mannish Boys (love that Muddy Waters reference) is crackling Chicago blues, “Long John’s Country Blues” by Long John Hunter is masterful dead-on down-home acoustic work, Floyd Dixon’s “Please Don’t Go” is tasty horn-fueled jump blues and elder-statesman piano-pounder Henry Gray and kid bluesman Kid Ramos romp deliciously through “Henry’s Houserocker.” And check out Chief Schabuttie Gilliame on “Monkey Meat” (“..don’t let no woman put sugar in your tea…”) and then Lockwood’s long, long instrumental intro to the classic “C.C. Rider” — not hard to understand why he was the guitar wizard that he was.
There’s not a false note on this CD, and there’s more fun than people should be allowed to have when they have to pay for it.
– Jim White
Phoenix NewTimes (September 20, 2007)
Who’d’ve thunk it? Along with windy Chicago and verdant Mississippi, Arizona is, in fact, a fertile environment for the blues. The proof’s in these two discs, with the commonality between them being Bob Corritore, boss harmonica player and owner of Phoenix’s Rhythm Room. On Travelin’ the Dirt Road, he co-leads a session with guitarist/singer Dave Riley; on House Rockin’ & Blues Shoutin,’ a collection of 1997-2005 live performances from the Rhythm Room, he serves as producer. Dirt Road captures the transitional period of Southern blues as it developed into the electrified urban styles that impacted the genre as a whole and eventually became a cornerstone of rock ‘n’ roll. Riley’s down-home lyrics and raspy, genial delivery represent the rural aspect of the blues — on some songs, he sounds as if he could be performing on a back porch (with bits of urban bravado slipping in). Corritore’s amplified, always-midnight harmonica echoes electric Chicago masters Little Walter and Walter Horton, and has such a scorching, searing quality it could be used to cauterize wounds. The production is bare-bones; you could almost feel the spaces between the sounds. If you yearn for rootsy, no-frills blues (with electricity), go no further: This is a winner.
House Rockin’ spans not only years, but approaches to the blues (leaning toward the modern, however). The spare, rural-based styles are represented by stark solo performances from Long John Hunter and Robert Lockwood Jr., while the contemporary bright lights/big city swagger comes courtesy of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and the Mannish Boys (featuring vocal ace Finis Tasby). For undulating boogie-woogie, there’s Henry Gray with dandy jazz-tinged guitar from Kid Ramos, and for stately, emotive ache, Big Pete Pearson and Billy Boy Arnold. Dive in.
– Mark Keresman
Baltimore Blues Society’s Bluesrag (September 2007)
Unfortunately, The Rhythm Room offers little in the relief from the nuclear Arizona sun. That’s because the performances inside the Phoenix club often blister with the same intense heat as the desert swelter outside of the air-conditioned blues oasis. From the harp-blazing Fabulous Thunderbirds to a white-hot merger of Finis Tasby with the Mannish Boys, this compilation celebrates the Room’s ongoing 15-year legacy of being a nightly source of House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’!. And since the blues are a dish best served live, prepare for a 14-course feast of string benders, piano pounders, harmonicats, and big, bad singers. They cover the map and provide a swatch of who’s been on the road over the past six years (aside from 1997’s growl-and-glide treatment of “My Bleeding Heart” by the lap-steeling Sonny Rhodes). The Chicago winds blow in Howlin’ Wolf’s piano kingpin Henry Gray, the harp-squeaking Billy Boy Arnold, and a solo Robert Jr. Lockwood. West Coaster Floyd Dixon jumps and swings all over the sax-blasted “Please Don’t Go” to offset Texas axeman Long John Hunter, who ruminates all alone and all electrified. And the hometown’s resident heroes demonstrate how the human voice is every bit a blues instrument. With The Rhythm Room All-Stars in tow, shouter Big Pete Pearson breaks on through “That’s All Right” with a holler that’s as deep as wide, while Chief Schabuttie Gilliame instead dips way down into the gutbucket in order to rasp out “Monkey Meat” through a throat full of razors. Kid Ramos, Louisiana Red, and Paul Oscher resoundingly complete the marquee.
– Dennis Rozanski
Magic City Blues News (October 2007)
Well Blues is this and Blues is that, but one thing most of all, playing and listening to the Blues should be fun and fun is what you get on this compilation CD, celebrating the best of The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, AZ. No player of the Blues, even if steeped in pain, started playing music to increase their pain (except maybe in their fingers). They played because it was fun and lots of folks wanted to hear it. The good times ooze out of this recording just like your little bad self was there while it was happening. Capturing the good times during a nine year span, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Floyd Dixon, Big Pete Pearson, Sonny Rhodes, Robert Lockwood Jr., Paul Oscher, Louisiana Red, Henry Gray & Kid Ramos, Mannish Boys w/ Finis Tasby, Long John Hunter, Billy Boy Arnold and Chief Schabuttie Gilliame w/ Johnny Dyer all make up this live album that showcases great Blues artists in an atmosphere of true appreciation and jubilation. The 14 track album consists of highlight performances recorded at the club between 1997 and 2006. The album was produced by the harmonica player / club owner, Bob Corritore. So the next time you feel a party coming on, check this CD out and get YOUR house rockin’!
– Carolyn Pocus
Maine Blues Society Newsletter (September / October 2007)
Phoenix-based Blue Witch Records has just released two new discs, the first a wonderful collection of live performances at the famed Rhythm Room in Phoenix. Club owner Bob Corritore, a producer, harmonica master and radio show host has assembled a selection of great live songs from artists like The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Finis Tasby, Henry Gray, Floyd Dixon and many other stars.
– Phil Whipple
Living Blues (Issue 192)
This CD draws from fourteen performances over a six-year period at the Phoenix nightclub the Rhythm Room, which has been host to many great blues and roots performers over the last several years. House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’ captures some of the best moments of the recent past.
The Fabulous Thunderbirds, with Kim Wilson fronting the band, make three appearances on this release, kicking it off with Goin’ Away Baby and then returning later with Rich Woman andHorsin’ Around.
The listener encounters some pretty abrupt transitions here, such as the jump from the Fabulous Thunderbirds’ high-energy opener to Finis Tasby, and then to Long John Hunter’s Country Bluesand Floyd Dixon’s swinging rendition of Please Don’t Go. But it is just that eclectic nature that makes this an engaging recording.
Henry Gray and Kid Ramos drop by to add some serious barrelhouse rocking to Henry’s Houserocker. Also notable is a rare stateside appearance by Louisiana Red in 2005 doing Time Will Tell.
Further contributions by Paul Oscher, Sonny Rhodes, Robert Lockwood, and Billy Boy Arnold are offered up here, further demonstrating the importance of the Rhythm Room in keeping live blues going out West. With solid production quality, House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’ does justice to the performances captured here.
– Dave Ruthenberg
The Scene (September 2007)
To celebrate the 15 anniversary of the Rhythm Room, club owner and CD co-producer Bob Corritore presents highlights of performances recorded at the club between1997 and 2006. Songs chosen from a ten-year period of concerts ought to guarantee a certain level of ability and presentation on the get-go and it’s great to report that this album always rises up to it, sometimes well above it. Further, the selections are a good mix of styles across the spectrum of the genre. The disc opens with the Fabulous Thunderbirds doing a Muddy Waters style, up tempo arrangement of Jimmy Rogers’ seminal classic, “Goin’ Away Baby.” Kim Wilson’s infectious harmonica drives the song; he does boss vocals as well. The unusual rhythm and fine horn arrangement of the T-Bird’s cover of Canned Heat’s “Rich Woman” is an R&B classic and a swing dancer’s dream. Kim Wilson puts on a jump-blues harmonica clinic on his original, “Horsin” Around.” Long John Hunter’s original, “Long John’s Country Blues” features his grand guitar riffs and top-notch vocals. This fine song typifies the slow, traditional style of early blues recordings. Big Pete Pearson’s lays down a great dose of slow urban blues on his cover of Jimmy Roger’s “That’s All Right.” Club owner/producer Bob Corritore moves the song along with some dandy harmonica. Among Chicago’s blues piano elite during the ’50s, Henry Gray teams with super guitarist Kid Ramos on the blowout original instrumental, “Henry’s Houserocker.” Sonny Rhodes’ slow blues gut ripper, “My Bleeding Heart,” features his outstanding slide on the lap steel guitar. Blues legend Robert Lockwood, Jr. plays tasty guitar and sings oh-so-sweet on his rich, mellow version of the timeless American folk blues song, “C. C. Rider.” On the slow acoustic blues tune, “Time Will Tell,” award winning traditional blues artist Louisiana Red is at his best as a sterling guitarist and vocalist. This disc is a gratifying release, a fine addition to the collection of any blues lover and a great introduction to the blues for first time listeners. Highest recommendation.
– Jim Shortt
Supporting The Blues on Myspace.com (August 29, 2007)
Blue Witch Records’ House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’! celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Phoenix’s legendary The Rhythm Room and its rich musical legacy. First opened in 1991, the club has offered stellar performances of tried and true greats like Floyd Dixon, Robert Lockwood Jr., Louisiana Red, Sonny Rhodes, Henry Gray, Billy Boy Arnold and Paul Oscher, as well as being the home of the legendary Big Pete Pearson, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, The Rhythm Room All-Stars, and club owner, producer, and blues harmonica great Bob Corritore. The Rhythm Room also gives voice to equally great contemporary blues artists like The Mannish Boys featuring Finis Tasby, Johnny Dyer, Kid Ramos, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Long John Hunter, just to name a few.
Over the course of this great disc, you’ll be treated to incendiary performances from an array of blues greats recorded between 1997 and 2006. It’s always a joy to hear the likes of Floyd Dixon, who lights up the real gone R&B belter “Please Don’t Go”, a masterful “Two Drinks of Wine” from harp wizard Billy Boy Arnold, superb lap steel guitar from Sonny Rhodes on a scorching cover of Elmore James’ “My Bleeding Heart”, along with three superb cuts from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, who contribute the mighty “Horsin’ Around”, along with the South Louisiana R&B workout “Rich Girl”, and a stomping cover of Jimmy Rogers’ classic “Going Away Baby”.
Other highlights here include the Chicago Blues shuffle, “Henry’s Houserocker”, from veteran pianist Henry Gray, along with a fine solo “Long John’s Country Blues” from Texas legend Long John Hunter that is one of the biggest suprises on this fabulous collection. Veteran Muddy Waters band harpman Paul Oscher contributes a mesmerizing “That’s It”, displaying his fine guitar and harp, while The Mannish Boys featuring Finnis Tasby deliver the incredible “Lonesome Bedroom”.
Co-produced by Corritore and Clarke Rigsby and featuring excellent sound, House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’! is a scorching collection that makes for a fine overview of the U.S. Blues scene of the past 15 years.
– Rob Lehrian
Jazz & Blues Report (October 2007)
It stands to reason that the better music venues around would be run by musicians and from the vibes given off by this collection, harmonica player Bob Corritore runs one of the Southwest’s best blues rooms. House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’! features in-person performance from Phoenix’s Rhythm Room. The acts include the late Robert Lockwood Jr., Floyd Dixon, Billy Boy Arnold. Louisiana Red, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Long John Hunter. The moods range from laid-back solo sets to bust out band romps and the crowd responses suggest that this is a joint a blues fan should not pass by when in Phoenix. Standout work includes that from Mannish Boys lead singer Finis Tasby and the Southwest’s best-kept secret, vocal powerhouse Big Pete Pearson. Further info can be found at www.bluewitchrecords.com.
– Duane Verh
Juke Joint Blues & Soul (France) (August 2007)
le label de Bob Corritore nous gâte avec 2 compacts qui méritent toute notre attention. Attendue depuis longtemps, la session avec Dave Riley voit enfin le jour et sera disponible des ce mois de Septembre , dans la même fournée est disponible un CD qui rassemble des enregistrements effectués dans le club The Rhythm Room qui appartient à l’ami Bob avec comme toujours, un casting époustouflant. De la belle musique comme on aime qui nous fera sagement patienter la venue de Bob et celle de Big Pete Pearson à l’occasion du Blues Festival de Lucerne en Novembre prochain.
– Jean Luc Vabres
Smoky Mountain Blues News (October 26, 2007)
House Rockin’ & Blues Shoutin’ – Celebrating 15 years at The Rhythm Room on Blue Witch Records is killer! There are 14 of the strongest cuts available on here with some blues luminaries that are hard to match. Go to www.bluewitchrecords.com to check it out. I don’t know where to start so I’ll just jump in with the opening cut. “Goin’ Away Baby” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Kim Wilson and the boys just tear it up. A 5:00 blues trip from the Thunderbirds. Next is “Lonesome Bedroom” by the Mannish Boys with Finis Tasby. Blazing guitar, hot rhythms, vocals from the “old school”. Just great. Cut #3 is Long John Hunter doing “Long John’s Country Blues”. This one may be my favorite. Country blues, electric style, live with crowd noise, the real thing. Just wonderful. Long John will drag the blood right out of ya’. Oh yea. Next is Floyd Dixon doing “Please Don’t Go”. Floyd on piano and vocals, Kid Ramos on guitar, and a backup horn section. Oh yea, Larry Taylor on bass. The real stuff here. So fine. Next is Big Pete Pearson & The Rhythm Room All-Stars doing “That’s All Right”. Real blues vocals, fine harmonica, a slow blues groover. Whew. Henry Gray & Kid Ramos do “Henry’s Houserocker” next. Boogie woogie piano at its best with Ramos on guitar, Steve Cushing on drums. A real toe tapper. Where’s Otis Spann? He’d love this one…me too. Next, we have another Fabulous Thunderbirds piece called “Rich Woman”. Kim Wilson on vocals, a huge band piece with three horns, piano, drums, bass, Ramos and Kirk Fletcher on guitar. What about that slinky horn section? Yea, I thought so. Sonny Rhodes is next with “My Bleeding Heart”. Sonny Rhodes is a lap steel player. Man is he ever! This is a slow blues and it does what a slow blues should do. Pulls you in to the center and before you know it you’re in the band too. Thanks guys. Paul Oscher, harp and guitar Icon plays “That’s It.” Not too many guys on planet earth can do them both at the same time this good. You will be amazed! Chief Schabuttie Gilliame with Johnny Dyer and Henry Gray spend over six minutes playing “Monkey Meat”. Killer blues song here with Dyer on harp, Henry on Piano and the Chief on vocals. Don’t let no woman put no sugar in your tea. Track #11 is the venerable, greatly missed, and wonderful human being Robert Lockwood Jr. doing “C.C. Rider” on his acoustic guitar. You can listen to him and know he learned a few things from Robert Johnson. I can just see the audience in the palm of his hand on this cut. Way, way, good for the Soul. Next is the Fabulous Thunderbirds with “Horsin’ Around”. Kim Wilson does his harp thing and is just mopping up the floor after slaying the people with his licks and chops. Really something. Louisiana Red next does “Time Will Tell”. I really like Louisiana Red and wish he would stop by my house and play a few hours. He just seems to be one of those special guys. Here he does a fine slow blues piece that causes your heart to beat slower. I like the speed of this song. Or maybe I should say, the lack of speed. He has all day to do this one, and it’s worth it. Time will tell, I’ll make it there some day. My kind of blues here. Now the last cut is Billy Boy Arnold playing “Two Drinks of Wine”. Billy Boy does vocals and plays harp here with an old favorite. Come see me late in the evening, after the sun has gone down. You know I’m just a stranger, I just got in your town. Now pay attention here. This is a most wonderful CD. As good a compilation as I have ever heard. Go out and get this one. Put it on the player and just lay back. It will work over any blues occasion, and the later the day, the better it sounds. I told you so, and I won’t lie.
– One love, Blue Barry
Dr. Blues CD Reviews (November 26, 2007)
Phoenix, AZ has a home for the blues and the Rhythm Room is it. Over the past 15 years, every great player to cross the Southwest has made it to this stage. Powered by the insatiable blues energy of Bob Corritore, the Fab T’s, Long John Hunter, Sonny Rhodes, Paul Oscher, Robert Lockwood Jr., Louisiana Red, and Billy Boy Arnold have torn it up and ripped it down, bringing down home to downtown. Backed by an active blues community, these shows demonstrate what can happen when cohesive and like minded people work together. From the sheer historical aspects, almost every shade of blues vibrates with azurous intensity from electric Chicago and West Coast swing to Texas boogie and Memphis grind. There’s something cerulean, indigo and aquamarine for everyone. The hottest cuts from the desert include Floyd Dixon’s swinging “Please Don’t Go” and some of Henry Gray’s cooking boogie piano and the axe of Kid Ramos in “Henry’s Houserocker”. Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds destroy a whole stable of Hohner’s best in “Horsin’ Around” and Billy Boy Arnold ends it with “Two Drinks of Wine”. This is some tasty stuff. FOUR STARS.
– Mark Gretzer
Blues Source (November 2007)
Featuring 14 tracks cut live at the venerable Phoenix blues institution, the Rhythm Room, between 1997 and 2006 this disc is a cornucopia of delights for blues fans. While The Fabulous Thunderbirds step into the spotlight on three of the fourteen tracks this release is not limited to their rocking style of the blues and features nods to enough different blues styles to have something for almost any blues fan. The Mannish Boys give a lesson in hard slashing guitar oriented blues on “Lonesome Bedroom” while Long John Hunter digs deep into classic delta blues with “Long John’s Country Blues”. Elsewhere, as on Floyd Dixon’s “Please Don’t Go” and on Henry Gray’s “Henry’s Houserocker”, listeners are treated to greasy horns and rollicking piano. Those looking for the sweet, yet stinging, sound of the steel guitar will find comfort in Sonny Rhodes’ “My Bleeding Heart” while those with blues tastes that stop off at Chicago’s south side blues bars will find a fellow traveler in Louisiana Red as he works his way through “Time Will Tell”. As befitting club owner Corritore’s jones for the harmonica (he’s an accomplished player in his own right as evidenced on “That’s All Right”), a number of the tracks feature ample doses of the “Mississippi Saxophone” compliments of Kim Wilson of the T-Birds on “Goin’ Away Baby” and “Horsin’ Around”, Paul Oscher on “That’s It”, Billy Boy Arnold on “Two Drinks of Wine” and Johnny Dyer on “Monkey Meat”. While there is certainly nothing groundbreaking here, this disc serves as a reminder that when it comes to the blues you don’t have to lay down a hundred bucks to get a good night of live music. If you can’t make it to Phoenix for a night at the Rhythm Room this is the next best thing.
– Mark Smith
MazzMusikaS Free-zine (Netherlands) (November 5, 2007)
Bob Corritore’s Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona, is op amper tien jaar tijd uitgegroeid tot één van de belangrijkste bluesclubs in de States en dit verzamelcd’tje met live opnamen moet daar het bewijs van leveren. De makers concentreerden zich vooral op de jaren na de eeuwwisseling met enkel één uitzondering; Sonny Rhodes (’97) die een sterk My Bleeding Heart neerzet. Verder is het mengeling van ouderwets en hedendaags met namen zoals The Fabulous Thunderbirds (drie maal in twee verschillende bezettingen) en The Mannish Boys (Kid Ramos staat op scherp in Lonesome Bedroom), een intieme Robert Lockwood Jr., Floyd Dixon, Henry Gray (rockend met alweer de Kid), Billy Boy Arnold en Louisiana Red. Naast al deze bekende namen ook nog twee minder in het oor klinkende mensen zoals Big Pete Pearson met een gedegen That’s All Right en Chief Schabuttie die in het gezelschap van Johnny Dyer en Henry Gray een stevig stuk Monkey Meat afbijt. Een onontbeerlijk cd’tje kan dit zeker niet genoemd worden maar in al z’n variatie aan stijlen luistert het wel lekker weg en het is zonder meer een prima staalkaart van wat die club zoal te bieden heeft.
Virus de Blues (France) (November 2007)
Bob Corritore nous refait le coup de la compil all star, et on l’en remercie, en applaudissant des deux mains (plus facile à faire qu’avec une seule) par dessus le marché. Parce que c’est le genre de chose que l’homme sait faire. Bien sûr, il partage le mérite avec tous les artistes venus enregistrer live entre 1997 et 2006 au Rhythm Room, son club de Phoenix, Arizona, pour finir sur ce CD qui célèbre les 15 ans de l’endroit. Ça commence fort avec les T-Birds, avec Troy Gonyea à la guitare, puis ce sont les Mannish Boys avec Finis Tasby en leader, suivis de Long John Hunter seul avec sa guitare (que devient-il ?), le regretté Floyd Dixon avec la crème de l’écurie Delta Groove augmentée d’une superbe section de cuivres, Big Pete Pearson accompagné du Rhythm Room All-Stars dont Corritore lui-même à l’harmonica, puis Henry Gray et Kid Ramos s’associent le temps d’un instrumental avant que ne reviennent les Fabulous Thunderbirds, cette fois avec Ramos et Fletcher aux guitares et deux sax dont Doug “Mr Low” James, avant que Sonny Rhodes n’invite Leon Blue. Paul Oscher nous la joue solo, puis c’est Chief Schabuttie Guilliame qui récupère Gray au piano, suivi de feu Robert Lockwood Jr en solo qui précède les T-Birds version Gonyea à nouveau. Louisiana Red en petit combo leur succède avant de céder la place à Billy Boy Arnold aidé d’une formation un peu plus étoffée. Bref que du beau linge ! Tout le monde s’en donne à cœur joie pour le plus grand plaisir du public d’abord, du possesseur du CD ensuite. Y’a pas, le blues est bien vivant à Phoenix, et le Rhythm Room de Bob Corritore n’y est pas pour rien.
– René Malines
Music City Blues Society (June 11, 2008)
The Phoenix, AZ, blues scene is as hot as the weather out there. The premier blues club in that area is run by harmonica whiz Bob Corritore, The Rhythm Room and Bob have brought in some of the best blues talent on the planet to play there. House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’ is a live, fourteen-track overview of the famous players that have graced that stage over the last fifteen years, and many of today’s most popular artists are presented herein.
The earliest cut is a sweet slow blues from lap steel guru Sonny Rhodes, “My Bleeding Heart”, featuring keyboard work from Leon Blue. The Fabulous Thunderbirds are represented on three cuts fueled by frontman Kim Wilson’s soulful vocals and harp. Long John Hunter, Paul Oscher, and the late Robert Lockwood, Jr., all turn in fine solo performances as well.
The “house band” at the Rhythm Room, led by Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Matt Bishop on piano, and Brian Fahey on drums back Big Pete Pearson on “That’s All Right”, and Billy Boy Arnold on “Two Drinks Of Wine”. Louisiana Red brings his searing slide to the stage in a blistering “Time Will Tell”.
As one can see, this set is literally full of highlights, but one cut stood out to us. Johnny Dyer’s harp and Henry Gray’s piano rock out on Chief Schabuttie Gilliame’s odd tale of “strange cravings”, entitled “Monkey Meat”!
This set was nominated for a 2008 Blues Award for Album of the Year, and with a lineup of guests and songs as strong as these, it’s easy to see why. Plus, Bob Corritore, as great a player as he is, seems to get more joy out of spreading the good word of the blues to the masses, which he has so artfully done with House Rockin’ And Blues Shoutin’!! This is another set that we feel is “keepin’ the faith.”
– Sheryl and Don Crow
BluesWax (February 28, 2008)
Here’s To The Next 15 Years
Phoenix’s Rhythm Room is celebrating fifteen years and Bob Corritore has put together fourteen live recordings from his club to reminisce and share with the fans. Corritore’s Rhythm Room is a “must stop” for almost any Blues band traveling through Arizona. As many clubs struggle, this is one club that has been and will continue to strive for a long time. The schedule is constantly packed with Blues musicians. This is a snapshot of performances that were all done after 2000 with the exception of Sonny Rhodes’ 1997 track.
This album doesn’t play out as a compilation of artists. The sound quality is great and the song and artist selection keep the album flowing smoothly. Many of the same musicians back the main performers with Kid Ramos who makes many appearances, but no musicians overshadow anybody here.
I like the fact that the Fabulous Thunderbirds are on here three times, with Troy Gonyea on guitar on two of the songs and Kid Ramos and Kirk Fletcher on the other. That group has gone through changes of personnel while keepin’ the same butt-rockin’ practices. Kim Wilson is all that’s left of the original group and continues to lead this group into the future. Just take a listen to the harp on “Horsin’ Around”.
Sonny Rhodes has never quite been recognized properly and his lap steel and raspy vocals are beautiful here. Robert Lockwood, Jr. plays a sweet “C.C. Rider”. You can never get enough Lockwood. There is a solo piece by Long John Hunter that really allows his vocals to shine. Billy Boy Arnold closes the disc with his smooth harp and vocals on “Two Drinks of Wine”.
There are no bad selections on the disc. This collection is a nice addition for die-hard fans of the music or of the artists represented. There are also a few songs from musicians that have passed, so it is always a welcome addition to their catalogs.
If you want a glimpse into the modern scene with some of the real Blues performers, this is a great collection. This album does a wonderful job of possibly attracting new listeners while adding to some of the older artists’ recordings. Thanks to the Rhythm Room for staying open for fifteen years and congratulations for havin’ such a house rockin’ and Blues shoutin’ venue!
– Kyle M. Palarino
Southwest Blues Magazine (December 2007)
The names Bob Corritore and The Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona, are both synonymous with the blues. Bob has been playing and recording blues music for many years. This latest release celebrates 15 years of the Rhythm Room. The first track belongs to The Fabulous Thunderbirds with Kim Wilson. Troy Gonyea is an up and comer playing on guitar. Not a rock version, but rather a dripping; sweaty romp of a Jimmy Lane’s tune “Goin’ Away Baby”. Kim’s harp is well forward in the mix as it should be. The Mannish Boys with featured vocalist Finis Tasby are next with their take of “Lonesome Bedroom” with Kid Ramos and Paris Slim on guitars. Track three is none other than Long John Hunter. His “Long John’s Country Blues” is swampy and very accessible. Floyd Dixon plays piano and sings on “Please Don’t Go”, while Kid Ramos, Larry Taylor and Richard Innes accompany him on this blues excursion.
On track six Henry Gray and Kid Ramos play out “Henry’s Houserocker”. The halfway point of this recording is the Fabulous Thunderbirds with “Rich Woman” and Kid Ramos and Kirk Fletcher on guitar. Sonny Rhodes always wears his turban, but it’s his unique lap steel guitar approach that you soon recognize. Listen for it on, “My Bleeding Heart”, it’s an awesome sounding. Track nine is Paul Oscher alone with just his harmonica and guitar. On track 11 Robert Lockwood, Jr. slays us with his version of “C.C. Rider”. Track 12 revisits The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Troy Gonyea for a good track called “Horsin’ Around”. Louisiana Red does his very best to lay the blues on you with “Time Will Tell”, and the collection ends with Billy Boy Arnold and the good “Two Drinks Of Wine”.
Like the previous Rhythm Room recording, the integrity is still there. After listening to this recording, you wish you were there in the crowd for part of such a furious collection of recordings of the blues. Thanks to Bob Corritore for again bringing us one of the best recordings of 2007.
– Big Daddy Hal
La Hora del Blues (Spain) (2008)
Para celebrar los since años de existencia del “Rhythm Room”, uno de los clubs más afamados de Phoenix, Arizona, su propietario, el armonicista, productor, crítico, DJ, y verdadero blues ‘lover’ Bob Corritore, ha producido un disco exuberante y variado, con una serie de grupos y músicos de una calidad realmente impresionante. Son catorce canciones grabadas en directo desde su club entre los años 1997 y el 2006 y la selección es inmejorable: The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Mannish Boys con Finis Tasby, Long John Hunter, Floyd Dixon, Big Pete Pearson acompañado por la banda de la casa, The Rhythm Room All-Stars entre los que figuran el propio Bob Corritore, Henry Gray con Kid Ramos, Sonny Rhodes, Paul Oscher, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame con Johnny Dyer, Robert Lockwood Jr., Louisiana Red y Billy Boy Arnold. Un gran álbum donde se respira y se captura toda la esencia y el ambiente más puro y más profundo del verdadero espíritu del blues. IMPRESCINDIBLE.
Rhythm Room club in Phoenix, Arizona is one of the most famous blues clubs of that area. To celebrate its fifteenth anniversary, his owner, harmonica player, producer, reviewer, DJ, and real blues lover. Mr. Bob Corritore, has produced a cool lush album including a variety of high quality impressing musicians. Fourteen songs recorded live at the club between 1997 and 2006 on an amazing selection: The Fabulous Thunderbirds, The Mannish Boys with Finis Tasby, Long John Hunter, Floyd Dixon, Big Pete Pearson backed by the home band, The Rhythm Room All-Stars, where you will find Bob Corritore himself, Henry Gray and Kid Ramos, Sonny Rhodes, Paul Oscher, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame with Johnny Dyer, Robert Lockwood Jr. Louisiana Red and Billy Boy Arnold. An unbelievable album that captures the whole atmosphere and deep real feeling of blues. ESSENTIAL.
– Vicente “Harmonica” Zumel
Blues Art Journal (Austria) (September / October 2008)
The Various Artists set next. I could just list the artists, but that would be the easy way out. This set has the subtitle ‘Celebrating 15 Years Of The Rhythm Room’ and some party it is. The Fabulous Thunderbirds open with a lovely down-home stomper (the first of three offerings they have here) and we’re off – through offerings from the likes of local artists such as Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (with harpman Johnny Dyer and pianist Henry Gray) through well-known and highly respected blues acts such as Louisiana Red, Long John Hunter (solo and revealing his Lightnin’ Hopkins roots), Sonny Rhodes and his wailing lap steel turning in a soulful Elmore James cover, a solo Robert Lockwood Jr., the romping jump-blues of Floyd Dixon, and Chicago’s Billy Boy Arnold as impressive as always, and on to the wonderful mixture of blues originals and revivalists as The Mannish Boys with Finis Tasby (and I haven’t mentioned Big Pete Pearson or Paul Oscher yet, whilst Henry Gray also has a fine boogie-woogie, in which Kid Ramos takes a memorable guitar solo). Again, the collective backing includes such talented musicians as the renowned Bay Area bassist Henry Oden, pianist Leon Blue and the Rhythm Room All-Stars again. This CD should be sold by the Phoenix, Arizona tourist board – it’s enough to make me want to buy a plane ticket there right now!
– Norman Darwen
Blues News (Norway) (September 2008)
14 låter live av så forskjellige artister som T-Birds, Robert Lockwood Jr., Mannish Boys m/ Finis Tasby, Floyd Dixon, Lousiana Red, Henry Gray, Billy Boy Arnold, Paul Oscher, Johnny Dyer, Kid Ramos, Sonny Rhodes, Big Pete Pearson, Bob Corritore, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame og Long John Hunter, kan det overhode bli noe annet enn en ren inner-tier? Nei, det kan ikke det, tenk! Og burdagsselskapet til Bob Corritores “Rhythm Room”i Phoenix, Arizona, som består av live-innspillinger fra de nevnte artister, spilt inn over denne 15 års-perioden (1997-2006), er en utrolig flott affære. Live blues, så mange-fasettert som bare blues kan være, fremført av sjangerens absolutte enere. Det blir et ”løp-og-kjøp”-prosjekt, dette – og så kan man bare sitte der henført og lytte, og studere på hvordan man skal komme seg til Arizona en tur og besøke dette fantastiske stedet. Som jeg kan klare å tolke dette her fra den andre siden av verden, er House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin’! intet mindre enn et dokument på hvor levende bluesen fremdeles er.
– Bjørn Wiksaas
Nashville City Paper (November 25, 2008)
Phoenix’s Rhythm Room has been a prime stop for hard-rocking blues, R&B and soul types over the last 15 years, and House Rockin’ and Blues Shoutin! – Celebrating 15 years of The Rhythm Room(Blue Witch) honors that tradition.
Co-produced by the team of Bob Corritore and Clarke Rigsby, the 14-cut set includes stomping fare from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, booming piano boogie from Floyd Dixon, confrontational and combative tunes done by Sonny Rhodes and Louisiana Red, plus memorable outings from recently deceased immortals like Robert Lockwood, Jr. and Henry Gray (for that matter Dixon as well). There’s also exciting numbers by Long John Hunter, Billy Boy Arnold, Paul Oscher, and the Mannish Boys featuring Finis Tasby in a first-rate set that makes you want to head for Phoenix immediately and maybe catch some of these people in concert.
– Ron Wynn
Juke Joint Soul (December 2009)
Bob Corritore wanted to bring the blues with him when he moved out West. Raised up on the mean streets of Chicago, Corritore’s appreciation for blues has made him a worldwide ambassador through his glorious radio show in Phoenix and through his live music night club, The Rhythm Room. This set celebrates 14 great live performances from some of the blues living legends that have made the little trip to the club out in the desert. The album brings together some great live shots of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Finis Tasby with The Mannish Boys, Long John Hunter, Billy Boy Arnold, and Sonny Rhodes. The album is also a fine tribute to two very missed legends – Floyd Dixon and Robert Lockwood, Jr. There’s not a bad track on this disc so I won’t even go into any details on any of them except that they are all good. Blue Witch is one of the finest little tradtional blues labels around and, if you’re ever in Phoenix and want an all night blues party – check out Bob Corritore’s Rhythm Room and his Rhythm Room All Stars. They never disappoint!
– Al Basile