CD: 12 songs; 44:36 Minutes
Styles: Contemporary and Traditional Blues Instrumentals
Chicago native, now Phoenix resident, Bob Corritore is perhaps the world’s most prolific ambassador of blues music today. According to his website, not only is he one of the top blues harmonica players on the scene, but also the owner of the Rhythm Room, the radio show host of “Those Lowdown Blues” on WJZZ, founder of the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation, and even a Grammy-nominated harmonica player and producer. Bob’s been involved with this genre for over three decades, beginning with production credits on Little Willie Anderson’s “Swinging the Blues” in 1979. Twenty years later he put forth his “All-Star Blues Sessions,” featuring Pinetop Perkins and “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin.
Nothing is “Taboo” for this living legend, including releasing a completely-instrumental CD. Some blues fans may doubt its appeal and consider it ‘artsy-fartsy’ before listening to one song, but this would be a colossal mistake. All of the tracks are either contemporary or traditional blues, never losing their Windy City roots. Accompanying Corritore are such stellar guests as guitarists Jimmie Vaughan and Junior Watson, Doug James on saxophone, Kedar Roy on acoustic bass, organists Fred Kaplan and Papa John Defrancesco, and multiple drummers and percussionists such as Brian Fahey. Of twelve songs, only two are covers (Willie Egan’s “Potato Stomp” and the title track, a 1934 Cuban hit by Lecuona, Russell and Arps). However, each is a work of genius without words. Witness these three in particular:
BEST GUITAR: Track 02: “Many a Devil’s Night” – The blues has often dealt with the darker side of human nature: man’s vices instead of his virtues. This minor-key masterpiece calls to mind the barroom, brothel, casino, and dark alley all at once. Junior Watson’s guitar is sweetly understated here, relying on notes that fall like raindrops at midnight rather than desert-hot riffs – especially in the intro. Co-written by Corritore and Watson, it’s a surefire radio hit.
BEST KEYBOARDS: Track 04: “Harmonica Watusi” – Fred Kaplan’s bouncy “boop-boop-boop-boop” beat on the piano and organ is guaranteed to get live crowds out of their seats and on their feet. Those who remember how to ‘do the Watusi’ might strut their stuff with abandon, while dancers who’ve never heard of that famous 1960’s groove have a chance to learn it – or simply jump up and down. Regardless, this song was absolutely made to be played at parties.
BEST HARMONICA AND SAXOPHONE: Track 01: “Potato Stomp” – Bob Corritore and Doug James set a high benchmark for the rest of “Taboo’s” instrumentation in its opening number. They know that many casual listeners will either be hooked or lost from the first song on any musical album. Thus, they both pull out all the stops on “Potato Stomp.” It’s as tasty as a fresh batch of French fries seasoned with a sauce far hotter than ketchup – classic Chicago blues.
Bob Corritore’s innovative instrumentals should never be “Taboo” on one’s next playlist!