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 :


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