The Kid Ramos/Bob Corritore – Phoenix Blues Sessions
Originally hurriedly released as a fund raiser for Kid Ramos in 2012, this revised and remastered version is now commercially available and represents Ramos’ and Bob Corritore’s collaborative efforts from the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Featuring a host of great seasoned singers fronting the band, we get some classic old tunes reimagined for us. Three of the tracks are previously unreleased and one is an alternate take.
Ramos handles the guitar on all tracks as Corritore plays the harp. Chico Chism plays drums throughout and sings on one track. Henry Gray plays pinao on 5 cuts and sings on four of them. Nappy Brown fronts the band for a pair of tunes as does Chief Schabuttie Gilliame and Big Pete Pearson. Dr. Fish also sings on one. Johnny Rapp adds guitar and/or mandolin on all but one track and Paul Thomas plays bass on all but the opening track (Mario Moreno fills in there). Tom Mahon handles the piano on 6 other tracks.
Nappy Brown sings on “Aw Shucks Baby” and “Baby Don’t You Tear My Clothes.” Corritore blazes on harp as the band sets a nice beat behind the legendary singer in the first cut. The band again lays down a groove and Corritore shines on harp again. Brown begs his woman sweetly to do anything she wants (but not to tear his clothes) in his deep baritone. Henry Gray sings and plays piano on “Come On In,” “I Held My Baby Last Night,” “They Raided The Joint” and “Talkin’ Bout You.” Gray sings with his seasoned passion. Ramos’ guitar stings on “Come On In” Gray’s piano plays a big and cool role in “I Held My Baby Last Night” in a pretty, slow blues. He shouts and romps on the keys on “They Raided The Joint” and “Talkin’ Bout You.” “24 Hours” features Dr. Fish fronting the band in a passionate and slick slow blues. Chief Schabuttie Gilliame growls out the leads on “No More Doggin’” and “Snakes Crawl At Night.” Ramos bangs out some nice and dirty licks and Tom Mahon on piano does a fine job, too, as does Corritore. Both are down and dirty slow blues done in fine style. Big Pete Pearson sings for us in “Natural Ball” and “Possum In My Tree” and provides some swinging good blues in the prior and excellent slow blues in the latter for us to enjoy. Ramos’ guitar work in the latter is also primal and cool. The last singer to note is Chico Chism on “Mother In Law Blues.” The pace is slow and the band plays with restraint as Chism sings emotionally and Ramos plays with thoughtful restraint and feeling to match the mood.
All in all, it’s a great album featuring some classic old front men doing what they do best. What’s a little lacking is how much Kid Ramos is featured. There are few solos and cuts where his guitar takes center stage. What’s there is great, but I kind of expected more of Kid Ramos’ guitar virtuosity, but all in all it’s a great album anyway. Kudos to Mr. Corritore for giving us a dozen savory treats for us to enjoy!