Sometimes, when you want to hear some blues, you want to hear some blues.
That’s when musicians like harpmeister Bob Corritore and some of his old-school friends come in handy. Corritore has spent decades recording some of the best traditional blues artists, and often pulls those sides from his copious musical vaults to produce excellent albums.
For his latest release, “You Shocked Me,” Corritore put together the best of 12 recording sessions between 2018 and 2022, featuring 10 stalwart blues talents on 17 tracks (Yes, 17 songs on a CD! Too often, CDs don’t have much more music than two sides of an LP).
Those stalwart blues talents include vocalists Alabama Mike (with four songs), John Primer, Johnny Rawls, Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, SugaRay Rayford, Diunna Greenleaf, Jimi “Primetime” Smith, Oscar Wilson, Bob Stroger, Francine Reed, and Willie Buck.
Corritore underlines the music of all these fine artists with his considerable harp talents, blending magically into every song and style.
The album kicks off with John Primer’s tough “Hiding Place,” with fierce guitar and deep-blue vocals. That’s followed by another scorcher, “Squeeze Me Baby,” from Alabama Mike. The title track follows, a bluesy explosion from a supercharged vocal by Diunna Greanleaf.
Johhny Rawls offers a soulful take on the socially prescient “The World’s In A Bad Situation,” and a couple of softer blues offer a respite from the raw toughness on many tracks: “That Ain’t Enough” by Willie Buck and “Blue Blue Water,” a plaintive slow blues from Oscar Wilson a,re good examples.
One of my favorites is a lyrical play on the “down at the crossroads” and hellhound on my trail” themes: “Back to the Crossroads” from Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry turns it all around as he hunts for relief — “Goin’ back to the crossroads to try to reverse my deal, you can never be happy when hellhounds are on your heels….”
That’s just a handful of the fine tracks included here. There’s more of the same throughout. Gritty blues, soulful vocals, tough music-making all around.
The words “real deal” are overused to the point of being trite — but I think they apply here. If this isn’t a satisfying package of real-deal blues, I don’t know what is.
“The World’s in a bad Situation” by Johnny Rawls:
1 Hiding Place (feat. John Primer)
2 Squeeze Me Baby (feat. Alabama Mike)
3 You Shocked Me (feat. Diunna Greenleaf)
4 The World’s In A Bad Situation (feat. Johnny Rawls)
6 Somebody Stole My Love From Me (feat. Alabama Mike)
7 Blinded (feat. Jimi “Primetime” Smith)
8 Josephine (feat. Sugaray Rayford)
9 Blue Blue Water (feat. Oscar Wilson)
10 Train Fare (feat. Bob Stroger)
11 Don’t Need Your Permission (feat. Francine Reed)
12 That Ain’t Enough (feat. Willie Buck)
13 Soul Food (feat. Jimi “Primetime” Smith)
14 Back To The Crossroads (feat. Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry”)
15 Work To Be Done (feat. Alabama Mike)
16 Sunny Day Friends (feat. Diunna Greenleaf)
17 Blues For Hippies (feat. Alabama Mike)