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