Bob Corritore spotlights women in the blues on latest archival collection

We didn’t get the chance to swing by Phoenix’s The Rhythm Room — the acclaimed blues club owned by harmonica ace Bob Corritore — during our most recent business trip to the city, but did make sure we took some time to listen to Corritore’s latest album offering during our travels, a collection of tracks he’s recorded through the years with various female artists, from greats such as Koko Taylor, Barbara Lynn and Carol Fran to the debut recording from blues guitarist and singer John Primer’s daughter Aliya Primer.

Corritore’s playing on the Women in Blues Showcase (VizzTone) is, as always, excellent, whether on the call-and-response approach of songs like the chugging, Barbara Lynn-vocaled “You’re Gonna Be Sorry” with which the collection jumps off, or patient solos such as heard on the barebones, quiet country duet “Crawdad Hole” with Valerie June on vocals and guitar, matching the powerful vocals of Koko Taylor on “What Kind of Man is This” (featuring Bob Margolin on guitar, Bob Stroger on bass, and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith on drums) or backing Diunna Greenleaf on the delicate “Be For Me” (again with Margolin on guitar).

Along with an additional track from each Lynn (a cover of Jimmy Reed’s “You Don’t Have to Go”) and Greenleaf (the swinging “Don’t Mess with the Messer” that also features Doug James on saxophone), the set includes three strong tracks spotlighting Carol Fran on vocals: the smooth, plodding “I Just Need a Friend”, the gritty “I Needs to Be Be’d With”, and a strutting, horn-laced “Walkin’ Slippin’ and Slidin’,” on which James again joins.

Rounding out the collection are a barreling “Wang Dang Doodle” with growling vocals from Shy Perry; the dark, creeping closer “Why Am I Treated So Bad” soulfully sung by Phoenix’s Francine Reed with gritty guitar from Kid Ramos and Johnny Main; and 17-year-old Aliya Primer‘s youthful but energetic debut recording, “Te Ni Nee Ni Nu,” also featuring her father John Primer on guitar, Anthony Geraci on piano, and Stroger on bass.

Check this collection out and you’re bound to be saying, like Koko Taylor sings here: “I like it, I like it’!

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