Saturday, November 28, 2020

#473 : Bob Corritore’s “From the Vaults” Series


  • Dave Riley & Bob Corritore - Travelin’ the Dirt Road
  • The Kid Ramos / Bob Corritore – Phoenix Blues Sessions
  • Henry Gray & Bob Corritore Sessions - Vol: 2 Cold Chills

2020 – Vizztone  

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 28, 2020

I can’t express how excited I am about this new “From the Vaults” blues series from Bob Corritore on Vizztone.  The first three releases out of the gate pair the harmonica master with Dave Riley, Kid Ramos, and Henry Gray. 

Dave Riley & Bob Corritore’s 2007 album Travelin’ the Dirt Road consists not only of the original tracks, but has two additional previous unreleased songs as well.  Recorded over three sessions from 2005 to 2006, this album features Riley on guitar, Corritore on harmonica, Johnny Rapp on guitar, Matt Bishop on piano, Dave Riley Jr. on bass, and Tom Coulson on drums.   

The album nicely rolls the album in with “I’m Not Your Junkman”, a tune written by John Weston, Riley’s friend and former bandmate.  Warm vocals and a fascinating guitar performance capture my attention on “Let’s Have Some Fun Tonight”.  Corritore is such fabulous side-man.  His harp playing never takes a back seat, and in tracks like “My Baby’s Gone”, it completely makes the song.  This one sounds so great, especially with Bishop busting out his barrelhouse piano.  “Voodoo Woman, Voodoo Man” is a double dose of slow-brewed blues, and I love every bit of it.   

The Kid Ramos/Bob Corritore album Phoenix Blues Sessions is a collection of collaborations between the two from the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.  Originally released as a fund raiser during Kid’s cancer scare in 2012, this re-release features three previously unreleased songs, and an alternate take on “Natural Ball”.  With Ramos on guitar and Corritore on harp, Chico Chism take the reigns on drums with Paul Thomas as the bassist and Johnny Rapp on guitar or mandolin.  Vocalists consists of Nappy Brown (1929 – 2008), Henry Gray, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (1925 – 2014), Big Pete Pearson, and Dr. Fish.  Additional musicians consist of bassist Marrio Moreno and pianist Tom Mahon.

I love the twangy sound of Ramos’ guitar on “Come on In”.  This classic from Harum Scarums (Big Bill Broonzy, Mozelle Alderson, Thomas A. Dorsey) features Henry Gray on piano and vocals.  Corritore delightfully ushers Eddie Boyd’s “24 Hours” in on harp, with Dr. Fish delivering a timeless vocal performance.  I love the raw infectious groove on “No More Doggin’” with Chief Schabutti Guilliame commandeering the microphone.  This is absolutely fabulous.  Ramos’ slide guitar is captivating on Little Milton’s “Possum in My Tree”.  Featuring Big Pete Pearson on vocals and Mahon on piano, its such a terrific cover.             

Henry Gray & Bob Corritore’s Sessions Vol: 2 Cold Chills features recordings made between 1996 and 2016.  With Gray on piano and vocals, Corritore on harp, and guitarist Johnny Rapp on most of the songs, the list of musicians who are a part of this is rock solid.  A partial list of them include, Robert Lockwood Jr, (1915 – 2006) Bob Margolin, Eddie Taylor Jr. (1972 – 2019), Tail Dragger, Jimi “”Primetime” Smith, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame (1925 – 2014) , Illinois Slim, Johnny Burgin, Chris James, and Kirk Fletcher.   

Eddie Taylor Jr. brings his vocals and guitar prowess along with guitarist Illinois Slim for a wonderful cover of Jimmy Roger’s “Going Away Baby”.  This is what the blues is all about.  Corritore’s harp-playing is music for the soul.  “Steady Rollin’” Bob Margolin appears with guitar in hand on “Ain’t No Use”.  Gray’s piano performance is flawless and his vocal performance draws me right in.  Chubby Checker’s ‘The Twist’ is a big ball of fun, with Jimi “Primetime” Smith singing.  Bassist Troy Sandow and drummer Marty Dodson keep the party going on the rhythm section.  The Chief brings one of his own songs, “Javelina Jamboree” to the album in full-on shindig style.  Being from Arkansas, I’m more likely to refer to these gnarly beasts as a razorback.  Burgin tears it up on guitar while Gray pounds the hell out of the keys, and Corritore rips it up on harp.  It’s a good time for sure.  It’s so cool to hear the legendary Robert Lockwood Jr. play guitar on “Mother in Law Blues” too.                

This “From the Vaults” series is certainly one to keep your eyes on.  This is a must listen for serious blues fans.  These first three albums are an absolute treasure.  I honestly can’t wait to see what Corritore has in store next. 



For more information about the artist, visit this website :


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

#472 : Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws


2020 – Delta Blues Records

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 21, 2020

Hailing from North Little Rock, Arkansas, Billy Jones brings a boat-load of excellence and authenticity to his brand of blues.   As a child, wanting to be like B.B. King and Elmore James, he would sneak out and head to a dangerous juke joint nearby just to listen to the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Bobby Blue Bland.  These influences, along with his guitar prowess and soulful vocals, make for a refreshing, attention-grabbing combination.  His new album Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws boasts fifteen terrific songs totaling seventy minutes of musical brilliance.

Opening with “The One You Need”, Jones delivers a wonderful performance of slow, soul-blues.  Punched up with horns, and keys, the song shines bright.  From the first note, “Liar” bursts out the gate, I am gobsmacked.  Jones treats the listener with a ferocious bombardment of psychedelic blues guitar as he sings out a rhythmic serving of his poetic verse.  He’s such a badass on guitar, I enjoy hearing him tear it up on “Love Nobody Else” and “I’m Yo Freak”.  The funky Stax-influenced rhythm on “A Man and a Half” puts a big smile on my face.  This is definitely a feel-good song.   

Jones doles out a serious dose of delta blues on “Alligator Farm”.  It sounds great!  Accompanied with a side of organ, he brings it on a delightfully smooth downhome blues tune called “Biggest House in Town”.     

By all means, if you get a chance to check out the music of Billy Jones & Delta Blues Outlaws, give them a listen.  You won’t regret it all.



The One You Need

Saturday, November 14, 2020

#471 : Sonny Green - Found! One Soul Singer

2020 – Little Village Foundation

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 14, 2020

Sonny Green, a 77-year old soul singer based in the Los Angeles area, has been performing for over forty years.  He recorded eight 45’s in the Sixties and Seventies, however his latest recording Found! One Soul Singer is his first full length album, and it’s fantastic.  Recorded and produced by Kid Andersen, at his famed Greaseland Studios, the record features Andersen on guitar, Jim Pugh on B3, Chris Burns on piano, Endre Tarczy on bass, Ronnie Smith and D’mar on drums, Mariachi Mestizo on violin, and a stellar horn section comprised of Sax Gordon, Terry Hanck, Aaron Lington, Jeff Lewis, and Mike Rinta,  

As soon as the horns kick in, and Sonny’s smokey vocals roll out on “I’m So Tired”, I am all-in.  It’s certainly a rare treat to find music that stands out like this these days.  “If Walls Could Talk” is full of life and enriched with a funky rhythm and big band sound.  Andersen sweetens the song with his stylish guitar licks.  Sonny’s performance of Willie Nelson’s “Are You Sure” is dripping with pure emotion.  Settled in the blues and seasoned with funk, “Cupid Must Be Stupid” is fun and delightful.  Tarczy’s baseline is absolutely groovy, and I love Rinta’s trombone accompaniment.  I also dig the Seventies funky disco-vibe on “Back For a Taste of Your Love”.  Sonny’s vocal prowess shines as he peppers the song with high-pitched growls.  For bonus points, Alabama Mike makes a guest vocal appearance on “Trouble” to join Sonny in a slow, soul-blues duet.  Written by Alabama Mike, this is the first time the song had been recorded.  The blues absolutely pours out of Andersen’s guitar, and it sounds great.   

Found! One Soul Singer is a fabulous recording.  I’m so glad Little Village Foundation helped bring this album to fruition. 


Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.


Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

#470 : The Boxmasters - Light Rays

2020 – KeenTone Records

By Phillip Smith; Nov. 7, 2020

It’s always a delight to hear new music from The Boxmasters.  With Light Rays, the tenth release from J.D. Andrew and Bud Thornton, the band delivers a dozen fabulous brand-new songs.  Each of them, written and performed with a deep appreciation for the early years of rock and roll. 

Beginning as a song from Bud to his daughter, “Breath Easy” is a lovely and poppy, feel-good anthem dedicated to parenthood.  It is a great song to open with and segues quite nicely into “Satellite Guy”, which I absolutely adore.  “Satellite Guy” has a sort of REM meets Big Star vibe, filled with infectious guitar riffs.  The captivating beat sounds great with a fabulous dose of organ on the side.  Doused with the delectable twang of Andrew’s guitar, “Thirteen Days” becomes this heart-racing ballad about a looming deadline for love.  It’s such a terrific song.

There’s a definite air of ominousity about title-track “Light Rays”.  Innocently beginning with this stellar line, “Please keep the Beatles album that I gave you.  Just like me some night it might save you.”, this wonderfully dark crooner song, soon takes a delusional stalkery-like direction.  It’s one of my favorites.  “Drag” catches my attention quickly too, with its Blondie-esque intro.  It perfectly captures the inner feelings that surface when I’m around strangers in a formal setting.  I’m happy to meet them, but I’m also so very happy to leave.  Resurrecting the long-lost art of misfortunate love songs, Andrew and Bud bring us “Downey Girl”.  This tragic tale of a love lost in a helicopter crash, where lawnmower blades and ceiling fans spark haunted memories, is based on an actual event which happened in 1968.

Reminiscent of the variety of rock songs one would hear on AM radio in the Sixties, this record is a testament of the Boxmasters love for early rock.  Light Rays is such a splendid album, it truly shines. 



 For more information about the artist, visit this website :



Take a listen to the album on Apple Music, and if you decide to purchase it, use my special link.  This helps keep the PhillyCheeze site going.

Click on the link below to purchase this terrific album from the PhillyCheeze Amazon Store.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.