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CD REVIEW -- John Primer & Bob Corritore
GLT blues radio


 Ain’t Nothing You Can Do!

Delta Groove Music, Inc.


John Primer & Bob Corritore CD

By Pierre Lacocque

1.) Poor Man Blues, 4:07

2.)  Elevate Me Mama, 5:29

3.) Hold Me In Your Arms, 4:37

4.)  Big Leg Woman, 4:20 

5.)  Gambling Blues, 5:59

6.) Harmonica Boogaloo, 4:12

7.)  Ain’t Nothing You Can Do, 7:03

8.) For The Love Of A Woman, 4:27

9.)  May I Have A Talk With You, 5:00

10.)  When I Leave Home, 6:44

Total Time: 53:00


This album is dedicated to the late

Barrelhouse Chuck      

(July 10, 1958 - December 12, 2016)

Producers: Bob Corritore & Clarke Rigsby

Recorded and mixed by Clarke Rigsby

Post Production and Editing: John Wroble

Mastering: Dave Shirk


John Primer – Guitar and Vocals

Bob Corritore – Harmonica

Henry Gray – Piano (3,7,8)

Barrelhouse Chuck – Piano (1,2,4-6,9,10)

Big Jon Atkinson – Guitar (3,7,8)

Chris James – Guitar (1,2,4-6,9,10)

Troy Sandow – Bass (3,7,8)

Patrick Rynn – Bass (1,2,4-6,9,10)

Brian Fahey – Drums (all tracks)

This CD is the second cooperative effort between John Primer and Bob Corritore. Their first recording came out in 2013 under the title Knockin’ Around These Blues (Delta Groove Music, DGPCD159). It received a well-deserved worldwide critical acclaim, including the prestigious #1 spot on the Living Blues Radio Charts (April 2013).  Ain’t Nothing You Can Do! is but a natural follow-up to their wonderful 2013 release.

          When you pair John Primer and Bob Corritore together, there is only one possible musical outcome that could come out of that association: vintage post-war Chicago Blues. The 10 songs selected here is what traditional blues lovers would expect. You find tunes à la Muddy Waters, Magic Slim, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James and the like. Add a Don Nix’s funk tune as well (“For The Love Of a Woman”). The title track “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” - made famous by Albert King and Malaco Records’ Chuck Brooks, among others - takes here a distinctive post-war Chicago Blues feel.

This is not surprising, as the principal players – Primer, Corritore, Henry Gray, Chris James, Patrick Rynn and Barrelhouse Chuck originally hail from Chicago. Guitarist Big Jon Atkinson, a young traditionalist from California, sounds just like he’s from Chicago. All but Primer and the late Barrelhouse Chuck moved away from Chi-town. So when the stars align for a Chicago blues reunion of this magnitude, Arizona’s Corritore is never one to pass up an opportunity to head to Clarke Rigsby’s studio in Tempe.

          On this 2017 outing you hear the two masters working seamlessly again and playing in a charming, quasi-unrehearsed style. What you get here is nothing but straight-ahead traditional Chicago blues. And they do it so well. To top it all, the mixing and mastering is vibrant throughout (a Delta Groove trademark).

          John Primer – a two-time Grammy nominated singer/guitar player and a winner of the 2016 Blues Music Award’s Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year -- is in great form, both vocally and on his unmistakable and delightful reverb-tinged guitar playing (check his bottleneck work on “May I Have a Talk With You” for instance!).


          There are plenty of solos coming from the protagonists. Add four separate solos from the late piano master Barrelhouse Chuck (he plays on seven songs). Complement that with legendary 92-year-old Henry Gray also guest-starring on piano (three tracks, and one solo on the title track), and you have a winning blues album. 


It should be noted that Ain’t Nothing You Can Do was one of the last recordings made by Charles Goering (a.k.a. Barrelhouse Chuck). After a long battle with cancer, he died on December 12, 2016 at age 58. Goering was the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied with: Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior, Little Brother Montgomery and Erwin Helfer.


Corritore explained that Goering’s contribution to the album was immeasurable. “You could never make this record again. Chuck brought it home for us; he brought that Muddy Waters quality to it. He plays with that same passion that John (who was Muddy Waters’ guitarist) and I do.” Corritore says he sent the master to Chuck to hear in late 2016. “He said he loved the record. And two weeks later he died. We never knew he was sick. He never said anything. So it was at least gratifying to know he got to hear the album while he was alive.”


          Over the years, I continue to marvel at Corritore’s harp style; he is as masterful at accompanying a band as he is at leading with his tasty soloing. He is a complete player.  Six-time Blues Music Award Nominee, and 2011 Blues Music Award winner for his recording Harmonica Blues (Historical Album of the Year), Corritore brings in his captivating instrumental “Harmonica Boogaloo”, and Primer brings two original gems: “Poor Man Blues” and “When I Leave Home” (the first and the last songs on the CD).


          The stellar rhythm section comprises of Brian Fahey (10 tracks) and Patrick Rynn (7 tracks) or Troy Sandow (3 tracks) on bass, Henry Gray (3 cuts) or Barrelhouse Chuck (7 tracks) on piano, and Chris James (7 tracks) or Big Jon Atkinson (3 tracks) on guitars.

          The CD is a complete immersion into the post-war Chicago Blues genre. Ain’t Nothing You Can Do! may present covers from old masters - 7 out of 10 songs in fact - but they are here reinterpreted with fervor, freshness and passion. The result is a wonderful traditional album. If you like impromptu Chicago blues, then this CD is perfect for you.

5 STARS  * * * * *

For info or to buy the CD:

Distribution: City Hall Records, San Rafael, CA

Pierre Lacocque is the bandleader/harmonica player/songwriter for Delmark Records artists Mississippi Heat.

For info: 

Momo Mama Blue Chicago
Blue Chicago
536 N. Clark
Chicago, IL
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