Most of the time when I am fortunate enough to receive a new CD to listen to, there’s a little gap between when I hear it and when I write a review. I do write the reviews while listening to each song, it wouldn’t be fair to trust my Swiss Cheese Memory (SCM) to be able to remember all the salient details.
Sometimes though, when it’s an artist (or artists) whose work I particularly admire, I want to jump on the CD immediately, consume it, and comment on it here on this blog.
Such is the case of a package I received from Delta Groove this afternoon. After opening it, I was stoked to discover it was from the duo of John Primer and Bob Corritore, two of my favorite performers of all time, teaming up again (the last time was 2013, I believe) on an album entitled Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!
Both Primer and Corritore have been featured prominently on Time For The Blues over the years. Primer was on one of our first shows and Corritore has been featured several times, as both the featured performer and a back up player for other musicians.
Primer and Corritore are artists who are at the top of their game. Primer’s guitar playing is among the best I’ve ever heard, and so is Corritore’s harp skills. Together, they make a powerful force.
On this album, they are joined by two outstanding piano players, Henry Gray (three songs) and Barrelhouse Chuck (seven songs); two solid guitar slingers, Big Jon Atkinson (three songs) and Chris James (seven songs); Troy Sandow (three songs) and Patrick Rynn (seven songs) on bass; and Brian Fahey on drums.
I haven’t been able to confirm that these are the last recordings to feature Barrelhouse Chuck, but as he passed away at the end of 2016, they are certainly among the last sessions he ever did, and the album is dedicated to his memory.
With a lineup like this, you know they are coming out swinging. Poor Man Blues has some serious bounce to it and Primer is in good voice. This is that Chicago sound that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It’s high energy, the lyrics have depth, and it’s a great way to kick off what has the potential to be a great album.
The Sonny Boy Williamson number, Elevate Me Mama, is next. This is a slow blistering tune that continues that great sound and adds a little intensity to the proceedings. The players on this album are versed in just about every style of blues there are, so you know they can handle this song with the greatest of ease. Corritore does an outstanding job on the harp. Got to love it.
Primer and Corritore and their cadre of blues greats then tackle Snooky Pryor’s Hold Me In Your Arms. There’s more old-school that sounds so fresh. Anyone who loves that Chicago sound will go crazy for this album. So far, each of the songs is a strong testament to the blues. Those who weren’t fans of the genre before, just might start to find something that speaks to them. Those of us who are already members of the Church Of The Blues will raise our hands high and exhort them to keep preaching!
For the next track, Big Leg Woman, we’re deep into that honkytonk style that just drives a crowd wild. Primer is in terrific voice, alternating his cadence with some shouting and even though the only audience present is whomever is listening to the album, he’s working the crowd like a master.
Gambling Blues has a nice swing beat. It’s a fun blues number that would easily move an audience to get up and shake whatever they’ve got. It’s a solid number and could see its share of airplay. The one song on the album written by Corritore is Harmonica Boogaloo. As you might guess, it’s harp heavy and a swinging instrumental. Corritore, who is well versed in the Chicago Sound, also brings some West Coast chops to the mix. His breath control is amazing and as a harp aficionado, this is one of my favorite songs on the album.
The title track, Ain’t Nothing You Can Do, is also the longest song on the album at just over seven minutes. It’s a slower smoking number that dials up the intensity level to eleven. Primer delivers some of the best vocals on the album, while Henry Gray’s piano and Big Jon Atkinson’s guitar adds so much to the music.
They follow up with For The Love Of A Woman, the story of just what a man would be willing to do for the love of a woman. It’s a bouncy song (thanks in no small part to Corritore’s harp) that explores that oft visited territory.
Howlin’ Wolf’s May I Have A Talk With You, is next and Primer’s guitar takes the spotlight. Primer’s vocals are dead on and the song is full of Elmore James style riffs before giving way to Corritore’s harp. It’s a solid treatment of a great song.
The album comes to a close with When I Leave Home. This one belongs to Primer as his vocals and guitar playing leave the deepest impression. The combination of Primer with Corritore and the other players on this fine album creates one of the best albums so far of 2017.
Without a doubt, this is an album that should satisfy just about every blues lover out there. These are master players working at the highest levels. They kept the sound stripped down and it sounds just like a Chicago nightclub would have sounded at the height of the blues.
I can’t praise Ain’t Nothing You Can Do highly enough. With the demands on the time of both Primer and Corritore, I can’t imagine they will be able to get together often to tour, but it might be possible to catch them sitting in with each other somewhere down the road.