Bob Corritore – Spider In My Stew
Vizztone Label Group – 2021
14 tracks; 56 minutes
Here is another strong set from Bob Corritore’s recording sessions with musicians passing through Phoenix, Arizona, often to play at Bob’s club, The Rhythm Room. These tracks were all recorded between 2018 and 2020 and almost 40 musicians are involved overall! That long list includes singers Alabama Mike, Oscar Wilson, Sugaray Rayford, Diunna Greenleaf, Francine Reed, Shy Perry, Michael Reed and Willie Buck; guitar and vocals come from John Primer, Lurrie Bell and Johnny Rawls; guitarists Bob Margolin, Junior Watson, Kid Ramos, Bill ‘Howl-N-Mad’ Perry, Johnny Main, L.A. Jones, Jimi ‘Primetime’ Smith, Johnny Rapp and Tony Tomlinson; keyboards come from Fred Kaplan, Bob Welsh, Doc Holiday and Shea Marshall (who also plays sax on one number, as does Doug James); bass duties are shared between Troy Sandow, Kedar Roy, Adrianna Marie, Yahni Riley, Mike Hightower, Blake Watson, Bob Stroger and Patrick Skog, drums between Brian Fahey, Andrew Guterman, Alan West, Marty Dodson and June Core.
The material is mainly straight-ahead Chicago blues and fans of Bob’s harp playing will know how brilliantly he plays both on featured solos but also in accompanying mode: check out how he drives “Mama Talk To Your Daughter”, getting a wonderfully energized performance from John Primer, making this one of the best versions of the old warhorse heard in a long time, or how he weaves elegantly around Francine Reed’s vocal and Kid Ramos’ shimmering guitar on Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released”; Francine and Kid also feature on The Staples Singers’ “Why Am I Treated So Bad”.
Bob takes his time on chromatic harp on an extended examination of the title track, one of three Willie Dixon classics revisited here: Doug James (on both tenor and baritone) is behind Diunna Greenleaf’s impressive vocal on “Don’t Mess With The Messer”, a lesser-known Dixon tune. Indeed, much of the material comes from familiar sources like St Louis Jimmy Oden whose “Soon Forgotten” was recorded by Muddy Waters, Willie Buck sounding uncannily like Muddy here. Oscar Wilson handles the vocals on opening cut “Tennessee Woman” (Fenton Robinson) and Alabama Mike features on three tracks, the pick being a short but sweet take on “Drop Anchor”, an obscure track by Harmonica Slim. There are also a couple of originals brought along by ‘friends’ like Sugaray Rayford whose “Big Mama’s Soul Food” sounds very tasty indeed (not least when Kid delivers a stinging solo!) and Johnny Rawls who gives us a superb “Sleeping With The Blues”, a slow, soulful tune with elegant guitar/harp ensemble work. Lurrie Bell’s unmistakeable vocals and guitar work are on two tracks, including Lurrie’s original “I Can’t Shake This Feeling”.
There is not a weak track here and this disc should be a must-have for fans of classic blues. Quite deservedly, Spider In My Stew features in this year’s Blues Blast nominations for Best Traditional Album.