Bob Corritore – Taboo – Delta Groove Music

Bob Corritore – Taboo – Delta Groove Music DGPCD163, 43:21 *****:

(Bob Corritore – harmonica; Jimmie Vaughan; Junior Watson – guitar; Fred Kaplan – piano, organ; Papa John DeFrancesco – organ; Doug James – saxophone; Kedar Roy – acoustic bass; Richard Innes – drums; Brian Fajey – drums; Dowell Davis – drums; Todd Chuba – percussion)

The contribution of harmonica players to blues music was integral to its emergence. Along the way, guitarists (Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, etc.) gained more fame and public credentials. But harp players like Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson II, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Charlie Musselwhite, Walter Horton, Carey Bell and Sonny Terry helped shape the music that defined rock and roll, rhythm and blues and funk. Today, Bob Corritore stands among these greats. His lifelong commitment to instrumental technique and historical preservation has kept the blues in a modern context. He has been recording as a solo artist since 1999.

Corritore’s latest release, Taboo is an instrumental tour-de-force. He has assembled an all-star lineup that shines on all twelve tracks. Opening the album is one of the two covers, Willie Egan’s “Potato Stomp”. Corritore is selective in his lead play and defers to his band here. Junior Watson delivers scorching guitar, and Doug James’ muscular saxophone add grit to this Chicago homage.”Many A Devil’s Night” is downright nasty and the fuzzy harp tones are riveting. Fred Kaplan is captivating on piano (especially at the higher note register). Corritore steps into the spotlight as the lead on “Ruckus Rhythm”. He is an excellent front man and meshes with the band.

Reaching back to sixties dance vibe, “Harmonica Watusi”, infusing the playful tune with saloon toughness. Watson’s piercing guitar is riveting. The title cut is a departure. It has a quasi-Spaghetti Western motif and the clear harp notation is nimble. Texan Jimmie Vaughan plays on two songs. “Mr. Tate’s Advice” is a groove fest and the guitar work is vintage Thunderbirds. Papa John DeFrancesco adds a soul/jazz organ (with a great sustain on the solo). The same members shine on “Shuff Stuff,” a vampy romp which showcases classic harp play, and another Jimmy McGriff-like organ solo. James’ wailing saxophone brings attitude to both cuts. These guys can honky-tonk as they show on the festive, “T-Town Ramble”. Kaplan’s sprightly barrelhouse solo is terrific. Taboo closes with a slow-burning, closing-time number, “Bob’s Late Hours”. Corritore’s inimitable prowess is on display as he coaxes vibrato-laden emotion from his reeds. He is adept at all styles and arrangements.

TrackList: Potato Stomp; Many A Devil’s Night; Ruckus Rhythm; Harmonica Watusi; Taboo; Harp Blast; Mr. Tate’s Advice; 5th Position Plea; Fabuloco (For Kid); Shuff Stuff; T-Town Ramble; Bob’s Late Hour

—Robbie Gerson


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