Primer & Bob Corritore
The Gypsy Woman Told Me
SWMAF / VizzTone Label Group
I so look forward to every new release being put
by Phoenix blues impresario Bob Corritore,
who joins forces with veteran Chicago guitarist
/ singer John Primer for another
outstanding album, The Gypsy Woman Told Me
(Southwest Musical Arts Foundation / VizzTone).
I've been a big fan of Primer ever since seeing
him in Chicago back in the 1980s, around the
time he was playing with Magic Slim & the
Teardrops as well as doing his own thing. I've
seen Primer quite frequently since then and have
never been at one of his shows that wasn't first-rate.
That pretty much describes the music on this
collaboration with Corritore. It's just solid,
no frills blues. It's hard to pick a favorite
cut among the dozen songs on the album, because
they're all outstanding.
The music on The Gypsy Woman Told Me came
from two different sessions --- one at Kid
Andersen's Greaseland facility in northern
California and the other at Clarke Rigsby's
Tempest Recording in Arizona. The backing musicians vary
depending on the session, with some great blues
The album kicks off with Primer playing Elmore
James-style guitar on the Chuck Willis classic,
"Keep A-Driving," and we get some mighty fine
piano playing from Bob Welsh. The title cut, a
Muddy Waters cover, comes next, with Welsh again
tickling the ivories and Primer laying down some
really nice guitar licks. But the best part of
this song is the deep blues harmonica solo from Corritore.
Primer is now well into his 70s but his voice
still carries plenty of power, which we get to
hear on the up-tempo blues, "Knockin' On Your
Door." Primer and Corritore then head into the
country for a duet on their version of Lil' Son
Jackson's "Gambling Blues." It's easy to
envision the pair of musicians playing this song
while sitting on a back porch somewhere in the
rural south; it's got that kind of feel to it.
Drummer June Core drives a propulsive beat on
the up-tempo "Little Bitty Woman," a Primer
original on which the star of the show plays
some blazing slide guitar. The tempo slows
considerably on the next number, a very hypnotic
version of "Walking The Back Streets And
Crying." Jimi "Primetime" Smith joins in on
guitar on the funky mid-tempo JJ Cale cover, "I
Got The Same Old Blues," with Corritore taking
over partway through with a monster harmonica
Corritore and Welsh share the spotlight on Rice
Miller's mid-tempo shuffle, "My Imagination,"
followed by a driving version of Jimmy Reed's
"Let's Get Together." Jimmy Rogers fans will be
pleased to hear the slow blues, "Left Me With A
Broken Heart," which has Corritore summoning his
inner Little Walter with some very expressive
"Walked So Long" is another Primer original,
this one an eerie country blues with echo in the
vocals and Corritore making his harmonica cry
out the notes. Closing the album is a hard
driving blues shuffle, "Ain't Gonna Be No Cuttin'
Loose," with Primer again sounding a lot like
Elmore James on hardcore Chicago blues guitar as
well as putting plenty of power into his voice.
Billy Flynn also joins in on guitar,
doubling the pleasure we get from the song. This
one just makes me say, "Wow!"
The Gypsy Woman Told Me is an enjoyable
gem from start to finish. Primer shows us that
he's not slowing down ... not one bit. It's an
early candidate for blues album of the year.
--- Bill Mitchell