Release date: Sept. 29, 2023
By Robin Zimmerman
Photo: Bob Corritore
It’s certainly been a banner year for Bob Corritore. This busy bluesman has done everything from touring the world and running his Rhythm Room in Phoenix to putting on a weekly radio show and so much more. It’s all part of his quest to keep the spirit of traditional blues alive in people’s hearts and minds.
In addition to all these commitments, Corritore is on track to release a total of five CDs in 2023. The World in a Jug, Women in Blues Showcase and High-Rise Blues are already out and winning praise and accolades from blues fans and critics alike. In December, he will be releasing a CD with all Arizona area artists entitled Phoenix Blues Rumble to showcase the musical talent in his adopted city.
Corritore’s fourth CD of 2023 is called Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me which is coming out via the VizzTone label on September 29th. This new release represents a departure from his “From the Vaults” series since it features 16 newly recorded tracks by a diverse list of current blues artists. Corritore said his goal is to put out an album of new material every year to “reflect the here and now” and showcase the best and brightest in the business today.
Corritore’s Rhythm Room has served as a desert mecca for blues players and fans ever since it opened in 1991. Corritore has wisely parlayed these stopovers into studio sessions to capture the magic for posterity. On Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me, he is serving up recordings by everyone from Bobby Rush and Thornetta Davis to John Primer, Jimi “Primetime” Smith and many others.
Of course, with Corritore hailing from the Windy City, the Chicago blues community is well-represented in Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me. John Primer, Willie Buck, Oscar Wilson and Lurrie Bell are all included in this carefully curated compilation.
Artists from other regions of the United States are also featured on Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me. This CD includes stellar contributions from Detroit’s Thornetta Davis and the Bay Area’s Tia Carroll to Bobby Rush and Johnny Rawls of Mississippi. Texas is also on board with fine performances from Sugar Ray Rayford and Diunna Greenleaf.
While the list of featured musicians is quite diverse, Corritore’s harmonica seamlessly adapts to each artist’s individual style and approach. In a recent phone interview, he said that with each new recording, he finds the opportunity to continue to grow and fine-tune his sound. He added that, “through all these years, I am still in discovery. It thrills me that I continue to uncover new, imaginative ways to interact with a song on harmonica. The learning process is never done.”
It’s no secret that there is much musical magic to be made when artists of this caliber come together to create “basically live recordings in the studio.” This is possible thanks to Corritore having an all-star cast of session musicians on speed dial. He added, “I’ve worked hard to get a team of people who are all about doing it right then and there.” The liner notes on Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me bear this out with a long list of musical luminaries who came on board in support of this project.
It’s also obvious that Corritore has a personal connection with all the featured artists on Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me. The first track features John Primer on “This Little Voice.” Primer has been collaborating with Corritore since 2012 and their bond has strengthened through the years. He said that “I feel privileged to play with someone of John’s stature. He brings out the Chicago blues in me. He brings me back to my roots.”
Jimi “Primetime” Smith is another of Corritore’s friends and frequent collaborators. Like Corritore, Smith has had a banner year with everything from a cover story in Living Blues magazine to his successful World in a Jug project with Corritore. This streak continues with Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me as Smith shines on his “Tough Enough” and turns in some wonderful guitar work on many other tracks.
Corritore also praised Thornetta Davis, who appears on “I Need a Whole Lot of Loving.” He said, “it was a joy to work with the Queen of Detroit blues.” Davis’s big-voiced bawdy delivery on this fun little number is a joy to behold. She also pops up on “Remember Me.”
Corritore said that working with some of these artists helps stretch his musical boundaries. This is the case with Johnny Rawls who appears on his own “Midnight Love.” Corritore noted that since Rawls plays “seriously traditional soul, he is taking me to places I’ve never gone.” Corritore added that “soul music and harmonica can really work together. I moved out of my comfort zone, but it works well. Johnny’s such a champion songwriter.”
Bobby Rush is another Mississippian who appears on Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me. Corritore said he was “thrilled” when the “King of Mississippi funk” agreed to perform on the CD. However, there was also a bit of trepidation on Corritore’s part since Rush is a fine harpist in his own right. But the session went swimmingly and “I’m Good as Gone” is another gem.
Corritore is equally effusive about “Mr. 43rd Street” Oscar Wilson, who comes up big on the title track. He said, “Oscar has such a beautiful, rich voice and is a true bluesman. He has a lot to say, and we have a good time.” He said that Wilson “just killed it” on “Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me.”
Corritore and company had another killer session with local legend, Willie Buck. Corritore recalled that “the great storyteller” Buck surprised the team with an original song, which was “Let Me Find Out Your Name.” This track also features some “amazing” slide work by Billy Flynn. Corritore has a longtime association with Buck, who was the first true blues bandleader who hired him.
Carl Weathersby is one of the artists to appear for the first-time on Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me. Corritore lauded his vocal work and “energy in the studio” as Weathersby turns in a pair of fantastic performances on “Stranded” and “I Don’t Know.”
Corritore also gave accolades to both Lurrie Bell and Eugene “Hideaway” Bridges who appear on “Act Like You Love Me” and “If You Don’t Want to Love Me” respectively. Corritore said that Bell “is such a deep master of the blues” while Bridges’ voice “is as close as Sam Cooke as you’re gonna get.”
With such a star-studded roster of today’s top talent, Somebody Put Bad Luck on Me is a must-have for your music collection. Corritore summed it up when he said, “there is something for everyone on this record” and it captures “all the fun times I’ve had in the studio.” He added that his goal is to “share these good moments after I’ve collected enough songs for an album.” Since it’s a safe bet that he has additional tracks stored away for later, that’s a true stroke of good luck for us blues lovers!
About the Author: Blues enthusiast Robin Zimmerman, a.k.a. Rockin' Robin, writes a Blues Blog and is a regular contributor to Chicago Blues Guide
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