"Primetime" Smith & Bob Corritore
The World In A Jug
SWMAF / VizzTone
"Primetime" Smith has been on the Phoenix blues
scene for around seven years since relocating from
Minneapolis, with his musical roots stretching back to
both the Twin Cities and Chicago. His music has been
heard on several of the compilations put out by musical
partner Bob Corritore, but we now have a full
album in The World In A Jug (SWMAF / VizzTone).
Smith handles guitar and
vocals on all ten cuts and Corritore provides his usual exquisite
harmonica accompaniment. They are backed by a host of the usual session
cats that Corritore brings into the studio, with these recordings taken
from four sessions done between 2017 and 2020, with the exception of two
numbers recorded live at Corritore's landmark blues club, The Rhythm
Opening the album is the
title cut, an up-tempo 12-bar blues with good harmonica by Corritore and
piano from Fred Kaplan. This one was written by Smith's blueswoman
mother, Johnnie Mae Dunson Smith. Up next is the Freddy King blues
classic, "Love Her With A Feeling," with Smith pumping plenty of emotion
through his vocal chords. Smith then does his best Jimmy Reed imitation
on his own composition, "You For Me," a mid-tempo shuffle with Corritore
playing his harp notes in the higher register of the instrument, while
the recently-departed Henry Gray provides a hot piano solo.
Another Smith original,
"Blinded," may be the hit of the album. It's an up-tempo B.B. King-style
blues shuffle, with strong guitar from Smith and a dirty harmonica solo
from Corritore. Another original, "In A Spin," is a slow, jazzy blues
with Corritore switching to his chromatic harmonica and Smith laying
down an appropriately tasty guitar solo.
Feeling hungry right now? If
not, you will be when you hear "Soul Food," as Smith sings about
everything he wants to eat while backing singers Celia King and Eboni
McDonald egg him on. This one has kind of a Five Royales feel to it, at
least until Corritore's harp playing and the sax work of Doug James
gives off the mood of a Chicago blues club in which someone is cooking
barbeque and collard greens in the back room.
Smith-penned song, is a mid-tempo shuffle that's highlighted by a very,
very hot slide guitar solo, before the beat slows down for another song
by Smith's mother, the Jimmy Reed-style "We Got To Stick Together." That
leads into Smith's own "Southbound," an up-tempo 12-bar blues with the
whole band giving off more of a jangly sound.
The World In A Jug
concludes with one more Smith original, "Fire And Ice," a slow blues in
the style of Muddy Waters, with our star capturing the mood quite well.
Smith gets the Muddy vocal style down right, and he and Corritore trade
instrumental breaks throughout, with the harmonica parts being
It's been a long wait for
Smith to step to the front with his own recording, with A World In A
Jug being just what the blues doctor ordered. He's still young
enough for at least another ten or so albums, so this is a good start.
--- Bill Mitchell