Guest writer Bob Corritore

Posted on 2/20/2010 by Monica Yasher

It's been a while since we had Bob's writings on our site. There is a lot of catching up to do. So, let's get started:

Dave Riley / Bob Corritore to appear at The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival! This just in: Dave Riley & Bob Corritore will appear on July 4th at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, in Davenport, Iowa. The three day festival, now in its 26th year, takes place each 4th of July weekend, and brings in top blues entertainment to perform on numerous stages and workshops. More information and a full festival lineup will be forthcoming.

Vintage Phoenix Blues Anthology now available! The Southwest Musical Arts Foundation has released a complilation of Phoenix Blues from the 1950s and 60s! Though Phoenix is not often celebrated as a town with a rich blues history, but this release will remedy any misconceptions. This limited edition, collectors issue is titled Flyin' High, A Collection Of Phoenix Blues, Rhythm, and Spirit from the 1950's and 60's. The CD's 27 tracks include Big Pete Pearson's first recordings, Reverend Louis Overstreet, J.C. Arline, The Lone Wolf, Duke Draper, Maxine Johnson, John "Oklahoma Zeke" Lewis, Dumas King, Roosevelt Nettles, Budd Spudd & The Sprouts, Jimmy Knight, Baby Jean, the Curtis Gray Combo, and more. Look for this release in early 2010. This CD is currently available only through Bluebeat Music. Proceeds from the sales of this CD will go to the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation who are planning more historically important blues releases.

Music Maker Foundation Artists on YouTube! The Music Maker Relief Foundation is one of the modern miracles of blues philanthropy. Headed by Tim Duffy, and based in Hillsborough, NC, the Music Maker Relief Foundation has provided financial assistance and recognition for some of the nearly forgotten, veteran heroes of the blues, particularly from the southeastern area of the United States. Here are a few filmed examples of the artists they have helped: Adolphus Bell's Public Service Announcement. Adolphus Bell performing "Pawn Shop Blues", Captain Luke with Tim Duffy Public Service Announcement, and John Dee Holeman performing "One Black Rat". Thank you MMRF for your great service to the blues!

Art Tipaldi New Editor Of Blues Revue! Art Tipaldi is known throughout the blues as a writer, reviewer, educator, emcee, photographer, and an active Blues Foundation participant. He now adds editor of Blues Revue magazine to his long list of credentials! Art succeeds editor Ken Bays as the next in the grand tradition of this noble magazine. We congratulate and welcome our friend Art Tipaldi as he takes on another great service to the blues.

Eddie Taylor honored with Mississippi blues Trail Marker! The late Eddie Taylor was a spectacular blues guitarist, best known for his sensitive accompaniment on the Vee Jay recordings of Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker. Eddie was also a great singer and his recordings such as "Bad Boy", "Big Town Playboy", and "Stroll Out West", show him to be a star in his own right. Though Eddie Taylor's work has helped to define Chicago blues, he always brought forth the feel of his native Mississippi. Clifford Antone, of Antone's records, once referred to Eddie as "the greatest guitar player in the world". Eddie will be honored with a Mississippi Blues Trail Marker in his hometown of Benoit, Mississippi. The unveiling ceremony took place on Monday, February 1st, 2pm, at the intersection of Highways 1 and 448 in Benoit. Thanks to Leigh Portwood and everyone involved in recognizing this legendary artist.

More Big Walter information. In the last newsletter, we reported that a new Big Walter Horton reissue had come out called King Of The Harmonica Players. Since then, we have been notified by Clas Ahlstrand of the Scandinavian Blues Association, who recorded some of these wonderful sides on a portable recorder while visiting Chicago, that this is not a licenced release. Clas also reports that eight of these sides are available as free downloads on the Jefferson Magazine site. Along with the downloads are the story and photos of the journey to Chicago and the home recording sessions with Big Walter. Thank you Clas for this additional information, and for recording these great sides for the world to enjoy.

Wolfgang's Vault releases Muddy Waters solo appearance at Newport in 1969, and Willie Dixon with Big Walter Horton from 1972! Wolfgang's Vault is a website devoted to Rock & Roll Memorabilia and downloadable concerts. Along with their featured rock music offerings are numerous blues nuggets, of which the latest two are very exciting. In July of 1969, both Muddy Waters and his mentor, Son House were scheduled to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. When word came that Son would not be able to make his appearance, Muddy Waters graciously stepped in to cover for his friend, and he performed an impromptu solo acoustic set. Six songs from this set are now available. In 1972, Willie Dixon brought his Chicago Blues All-Stars to the Ash Grove in California. The band on that show included Big Walter Horton, Buster Benton, Lafeyette Leake, and Frank Swann. Seven songs from this concert are now available. Special thanks to Jim Themelis for the tip.

Etta James Hospitalized. The legendary Etta James has been hospitalized in California after suffering various ailments including blood infection. Etta has had numerous health issues over the years, but has always come through them to warm our hearts with her amazing performances. The latest word is that she is slowly recovering.

Nick Curran Diagnosed With Tongue Cancer. This sad news came from Harry Turner; 31 year old singer / guitarist Nick Curran has recently been diagnosed with tongue cancer and will be undergoing radiation treatments. Though still a young man, Nick is a road veteran, having worked with various, blues, rockabilly, and roots rock acts including The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Ronnie Dawson, Kim Lenz, and his own band Nick Curran and the Nitelifes, Nick has a new CD just out on the Eclectro Groove record label, and was to have numerous national and international tours that are now all postponed. Prayers to Nick, as he fights this battle.

RIP Lil' Dave Thompson - May 21, 1969 - February 14th 2010. It is with great sadness that we report that Mississippi blues guitarist Lil' Dave Thompson died yesterday from an auto accident outside of Augusta, Georgia, while touring with his band. His van overturned and Dave was thrown from the vehicle and pronouced dead on the scene by the paramedics. Other members of the group were reportedly not seriously injured. Dave was born in Hinds County, Mississippi and was greatly influenced by musicans from that area. He made his first record for Fat Possum in 1995, and subsequently had two beautiful releases for Electro-Fi. In the last few years he had toured extensively as he built his career. He had developed into a spectacular singer and a fine, modern blues guitarist. Rest In peace Lil' Dave.

RIP Arnie Caplin, May 8, 1929 - December 25th, 2009. Arnie Caplin, the founder of Biograph Records, died on Dec 25th, at a nursing home in Massachusetts. He was 80. Arnie was a jazz drummer and artist before starting his Biograph Records in 1967. The Biograph label would release over 250 titles in the genres of blues, jazz, ragtime and folk music. Blues releases included Bukka White, Skip James, Reverend Gary Davis, Furry Lewis, Robert Wilkins, Son House, Leadbelly, and more. In addition to his blues work, Arnie had a major influence in bringing forth the ragtime music of the now famous Scott Joplin. Though a behind the scenes force in the blues, the importance of Arnie Caplin can not be overemphasized. Thank you Arnie for your great work.

RIP Teddy Pendegrass, March 26,1950 - January 13, 2010. Best known for his stirring, romantic soul songs of the 70s, Pendegrass rose to popularity as lead singer of Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, before creating a string of his own hits. Pendegrass' life was severely altered in 1982, when a tragic auto accident left him paralyzed. Despite his crippling injury he remained active in music throughout his life. He also created the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a foundation that helps those with spinal cord injuries. He died in Philadelphia on Wednesday of complications from colon cancer. He was 59. He will be remembered as a superstar of the highest degree.

RIP Bobby Charles, February 21, 1938 – January 14, 2010. Louisiana Singer and Songwriter Bobby Charles Guidry, AKA Bobby Charles, is best know for being the writer of Fats Domino’s “Walking to New Orleans,” Bill Haley and the Comets’ “See You Later, Alligator,” and Clarence Frogman Henry’s “But I Do,” Charles died Thursday at his home in Abbeville, Louisiana at age 71, after a struggle with diabetes and cancer. He had recently completed an album called Timeless, which was co-produced by Dr. John and dedicated to Fats Domino. His beautiful songs helped to define the music of Louisiana, and will live on forever.

Passings. Always so hard to say goodbye to the many great blues people that passed away. Here is the list of those who have left us in 2009. There may be some that I have missed: James Odell Johnson Jr. (of the Whispers), Ray Topping (of Ace Records), Sam Taylor, Claude Joseph Johnson Jr. (of Ray Charles Band), Reverend Leroy Taylor (of the Soul Stirrers), Leroy Cooper, Leslie Carole Johnson (of Mississippi Rag Magazine), Al Harris, David "Fathead" Newman, Hank Crawford, Piney Brown, Snooks Eaglin, Mark Sallings, John Cephas, Willie King, Lester Davenport, Eddie Bo, Mel Brown, Manuel Arrington, Michael "Dr. Mike" James, Ted Jarrett (songwriter "You Can Make It If You Try"), Roosevelt Dean, Rocky Hill, Pee Wee Moore, Stephen Bruton, Ashton Savoy, Koko Taylor. Sam Butera, Nick Holt, Wesley "Junebug" Jefferson, Betty Miller (Southern California Blues Society), Billy Lee Riley, Les Paul, Jim Dickinson, Johnny Carter (of the Flamingos and the Dells), Marie Knight, Jesse Fortune, Kenny Martin, Doris Carr, Sam Carr, Willie "Big Bo" Thomas Jr., Freddie Robinson, Alex "Easy Baby" Randle, Johnny Jones, Dennis Brooks, Luther Dixon, Norton Buffalo, Terry Scott (VP of the Phoenix Blues Society), Sara Moore (Sara's Kitchen), Big John Evans, Alvin Short, Cam Waters and Earl Gaines. Please forgive me if I left anyone out of this list. Each of these people are remembered warmly for their contributions to the blues.

Here is the previous Bob Corritore Newsletter.


Bob Corritore is one of the most active and highly regarded blues harmonica players on the scene today. His style passionately carries forward the old school of playing that Corritore learned as a young man directly from many of original pioneers of Chicago Blues. His sympathetic, yet fiery harmonica playing is featured on over 25 releases to date, on labels such as HighTone, HMG, Blue Witch, Blind Pig, Earwig, Putumayo, Random Chance, and the VizzTone Label Group. Many of these acclaimed releases have been nominated for various Handy, Grammy, and Blues Music Awards. Bob is also widely recognized for his many roles in the blues, as band leader, club owner, record producer, radio show host, arts foundation founder, and occasional writer. His amazing website and his weekly e-newsletter reflect a life thoroughly invested in the blues.

Born on September 27, 1956 in Chicago, Bob first heard Muddy Waters on the radio at age 12, an event which changed his life forever. Within a year, he was playing harmonica and collecting blues albums. He would see blues shows in his early teens, including attending a Muddy Waters performance at his high school gymnasium. He would cut his teeth sitting in with John Henry Davis on Maxwell Street until he was old enough to sneak into blues clubs. He hung around great harp players such as Big Walter Horton, Little Mack Simmons, Louis Myers, Junior Wells, Big John Wrencher, and Carey Bell, and received harmonica tips and encouragement from many of them. He would regularly see the Aces, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Billy Boy Arnold, John Brim, Sunnyland Slim, Smokey Smothers, Eddie Taylor, and in many cases became personal friends with these blues veterans. Corritore worked with Tail Dragger, Big Moose Walker, Willie Buck, Louis and Dave Myers, and Eddie Taylor in the late 70s and early 80s. He also produced his first recordings during that time, taking unheralded harmonica greats such as Little Willie Anderson and Big Leon Brooks into the studio to produce their now classic debut albums.

In 1981, Bob ventured southwest to live in Phoenix, Arizona. Within months, his Chicagoland friend Louisiana Red joined Bob, and the two played together around Phoenix for about a year until Red went to live in Germany. Bob quickly joined up with Big Pete Pearson, who was and is the reigning King of Arizona Blues in a musical relationship that continues to this day. He also worked around the southwest with Buddy Reed, Tommy Dukes, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, and an emerging Janiva Magness in one of her earliest bands. In 1984, Bob supplemented his performances with a blues radio show called Those Lowdown Blues on KJZZ, which is still going strong. In 1986, former Howlin' Wolf drummer Chico Chism moved to Phoenix at Bob's invitation to start a 20 year partnership that lasted until Chico's passing in 2007. In 1991, Bob opened the now famous Blues and Roots Concert Club, The Rhythm Room. Having a club created yet another catalyst for Bob's musical projects. Often he would invite great artists to come to Phoenix, and Bob's band, the Rhythm Room All-Stars would back them on shows and in recording sessions. Bob's archives of these sessions are now famous, and include sessions with Bo Diddley, Little Milton, John Brim, Jimmy Rogers, Henry Gray, Pinetop Perkins, Henry Townsend, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, Ike Turner, Smokey Wilson. Lil’ Ed, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Nappy Brown, R.L. Burnside, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sam Lay, Barbara Lynn, and numerous others.

In 1999, Bob released his first CD as a national recording artist, combining some of the highlights of his vaults. The CD was called All-Star Blues Sessions, and was released on the HighTone record label to great fanfare. This momentum created a long series of CDs on HighTone with Bob in the harmonica player/producer role. Bob started breaking into the national circuit in festival appearances with Henry Gray and Louisiana Red. In 2005, Bob brought the Rhythm Room All-Stars Featuring Big Pete Pearson to The Marco Fiume Blues Passions Festival in Italy, which opened a whole new world of European interest in Bob's harmonica artistry. This led to return visits to Europe for various festivals and performances, as well as an ever-growing world-wide fan base. In 2007, the Mayor of Phoenix officially proclaimed September 29, 2007 to be "Bob Corritore Day" in honor of Bob's musical contributions to his community. Also that year, Bob received a "Keeping The Blues Alive" award from the Blues Foundation. Bob's 2007 collaboration with Dave Riley, Travelin' The Dirt Road, was nominated for a Blues Music Award. Bob also contributed harmonica work on the 2008 Grammy®-nominated CD/DVD by Pinetop Perkins, On The 88s. Bob 's prolific activity with the Blue Witch record label as label producer/harmonica player has garnered him additional notoriety. Bob performs regularly with The Rhythm Room All-Stars Featuring Big Pete Pearson, and numerous side projects with Dave Riley, Louisiana Red, Henry Gray, Sam Lay, Tomcat Courtney, Paris James, and others.

For more information, please contact:

Bob Corritore
Phone: (480)994-1234

Copyright © 2010 Copyright Monica L. Yasher and Bob Corritore. All Rights Reserved.
Photos courtesy of Bob Corritore

American Blues News Staff

What makes American Blues News unique is our coverage across America. Here is our lineup:

Mon: Memphis Correspondent - Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms
Nighthawk is our resident globetrotter and man behind the scenes, as he tours with the Reba Russell Band.

Tues: New York Correspondent - J. Blake
Blake is the American Blues News review and interview guru. You may catch him out and about in NY playing the blues.

Wed: National Correspondent - Monica Yasher
Monica is our executive director and artist interview specialist. You can catch Monica singing the blues around Pittsburgh or working on some country music songs in Nashville.

Thurs: Washington, DC Correspondent - Virginiabluesman
Geraldo offers inteviews and reviews. You may have seen him at an Ana Popovic concert or conversed with him on her websites, as he offers administrative support with her music.

Fri: Northeast Photographer - Nelson Onofre
Nelson offers a Friday column of blues photography and pictorial support for the interviews covered by the team.

Jim Stick in Colorado
Jim will be focusing on the Blues Festivals in the beautiful state of Colorado, and the artists that live and visit there.

Maureen Elizabeth, our resident art correspondent, will be focusing on blues art as she explores the creation of CD covers, or speaking with artists who also have a love of creating pictorial art in addition to their music! She may also feature some of her good friends in the Pittsburgh area. In her love of art, you may find Maureen's photography accompanying writer's articles on our pages. Maureen is also our marketing director.

Pittsburgh correspondent and photographer, CR Bennett, will share the Pittsburgh scene with all of you. You may also see CR's pictures accompanying other writer's articles.

We head to the big state of Texas! Abby Owen, our Texas correspondent.

Another big area to cover, the West Coast with Casey Reagan, Casey will feature many artists and events on this ocean's shores.

Lastly, we have our roving blues entertainment writer,
Chef Jimi.

And of course, we will surprise you sometimes!

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