The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions – Vol. 1 Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest
Bob Corritore has long been a fixture in the blues world, celebrated for the unique, commanding voice that proudly marches forth from his harmonica; lightning one instant, a gentle wind the next. Corritore has so much fun playing, often times it seems as though he might burst, and that is precisely what moves his audience; his joy and authenticity.
Henry Gray is a force to be reckoned with! Here’s an old school player in every sense; devoted, particular, disciplined, reverent, and so talented as to make his ability appear commonplace when it so assuredly is anything but. Just as PineTop Perkins, Memphis Slim, Fats Domino, Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, Roosevelt Sykes, and even Jelly Roll Morton before him, his playing seems so effortless, so that it appears that anyone could coax that music from the keyboard.
That is the mark of a true master, making what they do seem easy enough that any man could do it.
Released on June 16, 2015, and issued on Delta Groove Productions, The Henry Gray/ Bob Corritore Sessions – Vol. 1 Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest is a spectacular tour-d-force.
The 14 tracks presented here were recorded over a 19-year span, and the album runs just under 52 minutes. Even though these songs were obviously recorded at numerous sessions, the mix and sound quality is remarkably consistent, and showcases this work flawlessly. The production stays out of the way, which allows the music to stand gloriously on its own.
Gray favors us with his impassioned vocals on nine of these tracks. The others have Robert Lockwood Jr., John Brim, Nappy Brown, Tail Dragger and Dave Riley contributing their vocal talents to the mix. Corritore is in fine form throughout, preachin’ the blues with his harp, bringing forth verse after verse to cajole, comfort, and inspire us. There is no dearth of other talent here as well. Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Dave Riley, and Bob Stronger are just some of the exceptional musicians that grace this collection of blues masterworks.
The beauty of these selection’s lies in their power, joy and the honesty with which the musicians have gifted them to us. Make no mistake, these selections are gifts, from the heart and soul of these players, to us. The message they are sending is “Man, oh man! Are we having a blast, or what?” As we listen, that good time becomes infectious, sweeping us up in its grasp. “Let’s Get High” is a party that bursts into the room, and gets us moving. There’s the banter of Tail Dragger teasing Gray, as Gray answers him with gleeful blasts of boogie woogie on “Boogie Woogie Ball.” There’s a nod to Fats Domino in Gray’s playing on “Honey Don’t Let Me Go,” and “I’m in Love Again.” “Can’t Afford to Do It” is a force of nature.
We whole heartedly recommend this album. In fact, we can’t wait for Volume 2.