Blues Harp Master Bob Corritore Enlists No Fewer Than 38 Guests/Musicians On Snappin’ “Spider in my Stew” (ALBUM REVIEW)

This template is for a full-size CD Digi Tray Pack (5.5" x 5"). 4-panel CD Tray Pack Final size: 5.53” x 5” x 0.25“ 0.125” bleed required CMYK offset printing with aqueous varnish CD Digi Tray Pack Grandeur final: 5.53” x 5” x 0.25“ Fond perdu de 0.125” Procédé offset CMJN avec vernis AQ

We should be used to this by now. As mentioned, a few times on these pages, blues harp master Bob Corritore essentially has his “pick of the litter.” As proprietor of Phoenix’s premier blues club, The Rhythm Room, he can sit in with any of the acts he books, and in this case, lure them to a nearby studio for recording. After all, who will say no the one who is paying you. His latest collection of such recordings is Spider in My Stew with a list of performers that reads like a who’s who of traditional blues, some 38 in all, a dozen of whom are called out in caricatures sprinkled across the cover and inset. They are Lurrie Bell, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin, Alabama Mike, Shy Perry, Sugaray Rayford, Francine Reed, John Primer, Bill Howl-N Mad Perry, Diunna Greenleaf, Oscar Wilson, Johnny Rawls, and Willie Buck.  Okay, you’re already dizzy so we will stop there for now.

There are 14 selections. Most of these are well-known classics written by the likes of Willie Dixon, Chuck Willis, Fenton Robinson, Pops Staples, J.B. Lenoir, and others. Two of the Dixon tunes, among the best in the set, feature female vocalists with Diunna Greenleaf stepping in for “Don’t Mess With The Messer” and Shy Perry taking the venerable “Wang Dang Doodle” up a level in tempo and rendering it in true Koko Taylor fashion. The title track, just shy of seven minutes, is the longest cut, with Lurrie Bell on an amazingly gritty vocal and sizzling guitar to match, with Corritore on an extended chromatic harp solo.  These are some of the best vocalists on today’s blues scene and all performances emit a powerful, sweaty take.  Most vocalists have one track, but Alabama Mike has three and Bell takes two. 

Yet, arguably the major highlights are when the vocalist delivers an original tune, for which we have many examples. BMA Blues Entertainer of the Year Sugaray Rayford kills his “Big Mama’s Soul Food,” and Bell does the same for his “I Can’t Shake This Feeling.” While the vocalists and the leader’s harp playing may get most of the attention, this set features a host of seasoned guitarists, keyboardists, and horn players who solo as well. (yes, we’ll refrain from another lengthy list). 

Johnny Rawls steps away slightly from his usual soul mantra and into some deep slow blues on his own “Sleeping With the Blues,” aided by background vocalists. Primer takes J.B. Lenoir’s “Mama Talk To Your Daughter,” likely an outtake from one of the Corritore/Primer albums recorded, as the only one here, at Kid Anderson’s Greaseland Studios. Francine Reed (Asleep at the Wheel) gets support from guitarists Kid Ramos and Johnny Main on a fervent take of Pops Staples’ “Why I Am I Treated So Bad.” Each will have their own preferences in the high caliber menu here but this writer, as you might guess, favors the two best traditional blues singers/guitarists today, Lurrie Bell and John Primer. Bell’s “I Can’t Shake This Feeling” comes late, appearing as #12 in the sequence. Be sure to hang in for it as it’s a classic slice of Chicago blues with those requisite ingredients of slicing guitar, howling harp, and commanding vocals.

You just can’t go wrong with Corritore. He is a traditionalist, a purist, and a tastemaker. Bring yourself to his table.


Related Content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

New to Glide

Keep up-to-date with Glide