Blues Bytes


June 2018

Bob Corritore & Friends
Don't Let The Devil Ride!
SWMAF Records / Vizztone Label Group

Bob Corritore

Phoenix area harmonica player, club owner and general all-around blues entrepreneur Bob Corritore has spent the last couple of decades taking various local and visiting musicians into the studio, with quite a few solid downhome blues albums to his credit. The latest, Don't Let the Devil Ride! may be the best one yet.

The opening cut, "Went Home This Morning," starts things out right with Corritore's Jimmy Reed-style harp nicely complementing the vocals of Willie Buck on the mid-tempo blues shuffle while Brian Fahey pushes the song along with his steady drumming. The pace then picks up considerably on the Little Walter classic, "Tell Me Mama," with Cashbox Kings singer Oscar Wilson's tastefully raw vocals and Henry Gray's always superb piano accompaniment supporting the best harmonica playing I've heard from Corritore in the nearly 30 years I've known him.

San Diego-based Sugaray Rayford handles the vocals on "The Glide," a slower shuffle about his three-legged race horse that he calls The Glide. "... He can run with the big dogs, even though he's only got three feet ..." Junior Watson and Fred Kaplan make guest appearances on guitar and piano, respectively. Big Jon Atkinson starts off the slow blues classic "Laundromat Blues" with some stinging guitar riffs before Alabama Mike comes in on shouting, pleading vocals.

Wilson returns to handle the the country blues vocals on a Corritore original, "Fork In The Road," a slow moving shuffle that again gives Bob a chance to show off on harmonica while Gray makes another appearance on piano. Alabama Mike picks up the tempo on "Lovey Dovey Lovey One" featuring very fine guitar by Bob Welch and some powerful harmonica blowing by Corritore. More soaring vocals from Alabama Mike follow on the snaky, gospel-ish "Don't Let The Devil Ride," also including haunting guitar accompaniment from Atkinson that is further back in the mix to good effect. This one will run chills up and down your spine every time you hear it.

Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry, a new name to me, makes his lone appearance with raspy, in-your-face blues vocals on "Willie Mae," with subtle harp accompaniment by Corritore nicely complementing Perry's raucous singing. We then get one more cut featuring Rayford, "Steal Your Joy," a mid-tempo shuffle with Sugaray's powerful vocals bursting through the microphone.

Local blues/soul fave George Bowman steps to the mic for a slow blues, "I was A Fool," an original composition that will hopefully show the rest of the world what we in Arizona have known for years --- that Bowman is a dynamic singer who should be better known outside this area. Corritore comes in halfway through the song with a killer harmonica solo. Well done, George!

Alabama Mike gets one more time in the spotlight as he shouts out the vocals on a mid-tempo tune,  "Blues Why You Worry Me?," that threatens get out of control at times as Mike just keeps refuting any advice or rejection coming from his woman. Great guitar here from Atkinson, one of the better young artists on the scene today. The legendary Tail Dragger makes his lone appearance on the closing cut, the slow blues "Thundering And Raining," with his raspy, rough-hewn vocals coming in strong over Gray's piano and the tasty guitar of Rockin' Johnny and Illinois Slim. A great way to finish this album.

Just hitting retail outlets now, Don't Let The Devil Ride! will rank as one of the best albums of the year and hopefully will likely garner plenty of support for best blues album of the year. Don't miss out on this one, folks!

--- Bill Mitchell



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