Album Reviews

John Primer & Bob Corritore

Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!

Artist:     John Primer & Bob Corritore

Album:     Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!

Label:     Delta Groove

Release Date:     04.21.2017


This is pure Chicago blues as you would expect from these two traditionalists. John Primer is the reigning Blues Music Award winner for Traditional Male Blues Artist and Corritore has racked up six BMA nominations and won an award as well. The two paired on 2013’s Knockin’ Around These Blues, so, in one sense, this is an encore. One of the most rewarding aspects of this album is the two piano players featured. The late Barrelhouse Chuck appears on seven tracks with Howlin’ Wolf’s pianist, 91 year old Henry Gray, on the remaining three cuts. Corritore’s usual rhythm section of drummer Brian Fahey and bassist Patrick Rynn anchor here as they did on the 2013 release where Barrelhouse Chuck was also the pianist. Appearing on three tracks is emerging guitarist Big Jon Atkinson, with whom Corritore collaborated on this year’s nominated BMA Traditional Blues Album, House Party at Big Jon’s.

 Why argue with success? The pacing and song selections here are much like the previous album, interpreting Sonny Boy Williamson (“Elevate Me Mama”), Magic Slim (“Gambling Blues”), Howlin’ Wolf (“May I have a Talk With You”) and Snooky Pryor (“Hold Me in Your Arms”). Primer and Corritore each contribute only one original among the ten selections. Most run four to five minutes but the title track and the closer “When I Leave Home” are around seven minutes long, providing ample soloing spots for the principals and the pianist.

Guitarist/vocalist Primer has a voice that is remarkably similar to Muddy Waters and he has the pedigree too; having played with Muddy until his death in 1983, preceded by long stints with Willie Dixon and Magic Slim. Corritore grew up in Chicago but has resided in Phoenix for over two decades now. He is the proprietor of that city’s most famous blues club, The Rhythm Room. As such, he has the opportunity to jam and collaborate with many blues artists. You’ll find Bob’s name on multiple albums, because he is one of the top traditional harp players and maybe even more importantly, because he has no problem leaving his ego at the door. The two play together so comfortably and seamlessly, you’ll feel transported back to the heyday of that Chess Chicago blues sound. It’s pure, refreshing, heartfelt and moving.

—Jim Hynes


Got something to say?