John Primer is perhaps the finest bluesman performing today in the classic Chicago Blues sound. He was a member of Muddy Waters’ last band as well as with Junior Wells and for many years with Magic Slim. Bob Corritore may be based in Phoenix but he is a veteran harp player in that style with countless sessions accompanying the finest Chicago artists. This is also their third pairing and the chemistry shows. That Primer’s main man is Muddy is shown by the title track, a vibrant performance that proves these songs are just as valid in the new century. That validity is maintained throughout in this program of mostly ‘50’s Chicago blues: The opening “Keep A-Driving” is by Chuck Willis in a version that is firmly in the tradition with its “Dust My Broom” riff as is “Knockin’ on your Door”, by Sax Kari. The band drops out for a lovely acoustic duet on “Gambling Blues” by Lil’ Son Jackson. The band comes roaring back for “Little Bitty Woman” credited to Primer but actually “Rolling and Tumbling” incorporating lines from other songs based on that classic – it rocks. Another classic provides the slow blues on this set: “Walking the Back Streets and Crying” finds Primer in great voice on a pleasing Chicago-styled version. The performance of Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller)’s “My Imagination” shows perfectly the Delta roots of Chicago blues. The deceptively easy Jimmy Reed groove is no problem for these veterans and “Let’s Get Together” sounds great. Jimmy Rogers’ “You Left me With a Broken Heart” is another treat with Corritore channeling Big Walter Horton in fine fashion. Billy Flynn takes a monster solo too. Much more original is Primer’s “Walked So Long” once again performed acoustically along with string bass & brushes – superb. The closer is of more recent vintage but still from Chicago. James Cotton’s High Compression album featured “Ain’t Gonna Be No Cuttin’ Loose” via Junior Parker, a rocking way to end the program. They recorded with two separate bands at Kid Anderson’s new home of the blues, Greaseland Studios near Los Angeles. Special mention goes to Bob Welsh for his piano playing but all the players are on the money. You’ve no doubt noticed that most of the non-originals are not overused and worn out. I will always stress the importance of original material in these columns but every so often when classic songs are this well played it is tremendously satisfying. Web sites are www.johnprimerblues.com and www.bobcorritore.com, check them both out.

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