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CD Review -- Various Artists, Broadcasting the Blues

VARIOUS ARTISTS

Broadcasting The Blues

Southwest Musical Arts Foundation Records (SWMAF 04)

 broadcasting the blues cd

By Tim Holek

 

Bob Corritore’s contributions to the blues cannot be measured. He is a well-respected and often-recorded blues harp player, a Grammy-nominated producer, owner of Phoenix, Arizona’s Rhythm Room club, and the host of a popular blues radio show. His blues newsletter is the place to find out what’s going on in the world of blues. Broadcasting The Blues celebrates the 25th anniversary of Corritore’s long running, award-winning blues show, Those Lowdown Blues. It can be heard Sunday nights from 6 -11p.m.(mountain time) on KJZZ 91.5 FM in Phoenix. Over the course of 25 years, many guests stopped by the station to be interviewed and/or to perform on the show. Via a collection of live performances that originally aired on the radio, this CD presents a selection of highlights from the show. These acoustic songs were recorded between 1984 and 2008 at KJZZ studios using one or two microphones. If you prefer electric blues, check out one of Corritore’s excellent Rhythm Room compilations or his All-Star Blues Sessions.  

 

     Like most things that Corritore is involved with, Broadcasting The Blues is not about him. It’s all about the more than 15 artists who appear on the 60-minute disc. Corritore’s sole contribution is as producer, so don’t expect to hear him performing harp. By providing unordinary support on six tracks, guitarist Chris James plays the crucial role of consummate sideman. James is a member of the Rhythm Room All Stars, who are the house band of Corritore’s club.

 

     Spontaneity best describes these recordings which range in length from one minute to six minutes. These 20 tracks are important for their historical value, but they cannot be considered as being essential. Although it contains an audible hiss, the late Lowell Fulson’s classic Sinner’s Prayer, from the ’40s, is one of the best songs. Another gem is Louisiana Red’s The World Is Awful, which he describes as being “from the ’40s when I was in the army.” With vintage sounding guitar work and lyrics that depict an oppressive situation, this sounds like blues as it should be performed and listened to. Yes, Red does scream past the point of distortion, but the song is still a highlight. Many will be familiar with Billy Flynn’s guitar prowess. He is also a gifted harmonicist as you’ll hear on the startling instrumental Billy’s Bounce. Tomcat Courtney’s vocals are wizened on Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night, and the content is far too stereotypical. However, the guitar work is admirable. He redeems himself later on The World Is Mad. Dave Riley’s mean and gruff sounding voice tends to overpower his compassionate sounding guitar. Jerry Lawson’s story-telling blues testify like an evangelical minister. Lazy Lester’s Out On The Road sounds similar to When My First Wife Quit Me. Cedell Davis’ guitar sounds so rough you’ll think he is cutting into his guitar strings with the knife he uses to play the instrument.    

 

     Born September 27, 1956 in Chicago, Corritore first heard Muddy Waters on the radio at age 12. It led Bob to become immersed in the Chicago blues scene where he was mentored by many of the city’s masters. In 1981, Bob relocated to Phoenix. This CD is another example of Corritore’s exceptional dedication to gain wider recognition for the blues and its artists. When Willie Dixon told him, “Bob, keep on playing the blues,” Corritore took it to heart, and the blues world became a better place.  

 

 

Broadcasting the Blues can be purchased via the following secure site  

https://secure.fpraz.org/product_info?c_product_id=51

 

For information about Bob Corritore and his Those Lowdown Blues radio program, please go to www.bobcorritore.com and www.kjzz.org

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