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May 2013

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John Primer and Bob Corritore
Knockin' Around The Blues
Delta Groove

John Primer and Bob CorritoreIt seems like John Primer and Bob Corritore should have crossed paths musically before now. Primer was beginning to play the clubs of Chicago in the ’70s, as part of Junior Wells’ house band, while young Corritore was taking in the blues from the audience about the same time. Primer paid his dues in the Windy City backing Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters (in his last band), James Cotton, and Magic Slim (a 13-year partnership) before striking out on his own, while Corritore ended up in Phoenix, where he became one of the driving forces behind that city’s blues scene as a master harmonica player, club owner, DJ, and record producer.

Anyone who calls themselves a fan of Chicago blues had to get a little hop in their step when they first laid eyes on Knockin’ Around The Blues (Delta Groove), Primer and Corritore’s first collaborative effort. Hopefully, it won’t be their last. Backed by a powerhouse unit that includes piano man Barrelhouse Chuck, guitarists Billy Flynn and Chris James, bassists Bob Stroger and Patrick Rynn, and drummers Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith and Brian Fahey, the pair tear through a classic set of blues standards.

In addition to tunes from Chicago icons like Little Walter (“Blue and Lonesome”), Jimmy Reed (“The Clock”), Willie Dixon (“Just Like I Treat You”), and Robert Lockwood (“Little Boy Blue”), Primer and Corritore also tackle tunes from Bob Jones (“Leanin’ Tree”), Robert Kelton (“Man or Mouse”), and Texas bluesman Lightnin’ Hopkins (“Going Back Home”). Primer is in excellent voice and his guitar work is as stinging and concise as ever. Corritore is always a pleasure to listen to, whether backing Primer or out front, as on his own aptly titled “Harmonica Joyride,” and both are well-versed in the traditional Chicago blues sound.

Over the past year or so, there have been some excellent traditional Chicago blues recordings released, and Knockin’ Around The Blues is as good or better than any of them. It’s sad that we had to wait so long for John Primer and Bob Corritore to get together, but boy, did they make up for lost time.

--- Graham Clarke



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