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May 2021

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Bob Corritore & Friends
Spider In My Stew

Southwest Musical Arts Foundation / Vizz Tone

Bob Corritore and FriendsOn the heels of the equally outstanding collection of various artists recorded by Bob Corritore when they come through the Phoenix area, 2019 release Do The Hip Shake Baby!, here comes another blockbuster in Spider In My Stew, billed to Bob Corritore & Friends. The friends include an impressive array of blues standouts, including Lurrie Bell, Francine Reed, Alabama Mike, John Primer, and many more. The risk of an album with so many different artists is that it won't have a cohesive sound, but the tracks are arranged so that they flow seamlessly from one to the other despite the differences in the headline artists. With 14 cuts, Spider In My Stew is an immediate classic.

Kicking it off is a wonderful blues standard, "Tennessee Woman," with the impressive vocals of Oscar Wilson, most often known as a singer with The Cash Box Kings. That leads into the appetite-inducing "Big Mama's Soul Food," with the raspy vocals of Sugaray Rayford going through a Hall of Fame-worthy lineup of soul food dishes. These two cuts are the lone contributions of those two singers, but they set the stage for the smorgasbord ahead.

Alabama Mike takes the lead on three different tunes --- the straight-ahead blues of "Whatcha Gonne Do When You Baby Leaves You," "Drop Anchor," an up-tempo shuffle with a real retro vibe, and "Look Out," a fast burner that features Junior Watson on guitar and Fred Kaplan on piano. Alabama Mike shouts out the vocals, and while he doesn't have the deep booming voice like most shouters his vocals are effective nonetheless.

Veteran Chicago guitarist Lurrie Bell shows up two times, most notably on Willie Dixon's slow blues number, "Spider In My Stew," with Bell and Bob Margolin both contributing monster guitar solos and Corritore setting the mood with heavy harmonica riffs. Bell encores later in the disk with his own mid-tempo shuffle, "I Can't Shake This Feeling," again featuring Margolin sharing the guitar duties.

Houston singer Diunna Greenleaf shouts up a storm on the Willie Dixon stomper, "Don't Mess With The Messser," while Johnny Rawls is featuring singing and playing the guitar on his own composition, the slow blues "Sleeping With The Blues." One of my favorite numbers has Shy Perry on vocals and Bill Perry on guitar performing a frantic version of Dixon's classic "Wang Dang Doodle."

A couple of long-time Chicago blues cats, John Primer and Willie Buck, get one song each. Primer covers J.B. Lenoir's blues classic, "Mama Talk To Your Daughter," giving Corritore one of many opportunities to shine on the harp while Bob Welsh lays down some extremely tasteful piano. Buck does a slow blues from the Jimmy Oden songbook, "Soon Forgotten," with Corritore again standing out for his harmonica solos.

Phoenix area blues/soul/jazz legend Francine Reed is featured on a pair of ready-made classics, her strong vocals carrying the Staples song, "Why Am I Treated So Bad," with Kid Ramos helping out on guitar. Reed then infuses a more swampy blues sound to Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" that closes the album.

The 14 recordings on Spider In My Stew were recorded at nine different sessions from 2018 to 2020. The music is all top-notch, with so many session musicians participating that it would be hard to list them all. But don't fear, because the session details are tirelessly documented in the album liner notes, which is a reason to buy the physical disc instead of downloading the mp3 files.

Blues fans, albums like this are what we live for. It's all high quality blues from the heart. Spider In My Stew should without a doubt be your next blues purchase.

--- Bill Mitchell

 

 

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