Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bob Corritore & Tail Dragger -- "Longtime Friends In The Blues"

Bob Corritore & Tail Dragger have made a very fine cd together. They have a history both as friends and blues players--they met when they played together at a tribute show in 1976 to honor Howlin' Wolf, who had died the day before. Tail Dragger hired the young Corritore to play with him many years ago. Now Corritore has returned the favor, hiring Tail Dragger for this cd. Bob is one of the very best Chicago harmonica players around; Tail Dragger (aka as James Yancy Jones) is one of the best blues singers anywhere. Together here they make beautiful blues music. In addition to Tail Dragger on vocals, & Bob Corritore on harmonica, "Longtime Friends In The Blues" features a great band made up of Kirk Fletcher and Chris James on guitar, Patrick Rynn on bass, Brian Fahey on drums and the wonderful Henry Gray on piano (and vocals on "Sugar Mama"). Howlin' Wolf's influence becomes apparent on "Longtime Friends In The Blues", when only a few short seconds into the opening track, Tail Dragger blasts out the words, "I'm Worried, Babe I'm Worried About You" sounding just like the Wolf. From that moment on we are on a great Chicago Style Blues ride. The next song is the Sonny Boy Williamson song "Sugar Mama," which opens with a sizzling harp wail from Corritore and continues with vocals by Tail Dragger and Henry Gray. Following "Sugar Mama" there is no letdown, as we hear "Birthday Blues," which is simply wonderful. Special kudos to the rhythm section here--they push things along real well here and on all the songs. This is not a nostalgia tour--this is a real fast ride! Next we hear "She's Worrying Me," which may be the best song here. Tail Dragger's vocals here are truly amazing. Tail Dragger wrote that one, and he also wrote "Cold Outdoors," another chance for Henry Gray to shine on piano. The next track, "So Ezee" is a message song about getting people to wake up. If all moralizing came wrapped in this sort of hot blues, I'd be a fan of protest music for sure! This song is also a showcase for Bob Corritore's driving harp, along with great guitar work from James and Fletcher. Henry Gray especially shines on the boogie-woogie number "Boogie Woogie Ball." The closing track "Please Mr Jailer" is the longest of the ten songs on "Longtime Friends In The Blues," and another great performance by the entire band. "Longtime Friends In The Blues" is a wonderful Chicago Style Blues Album. Great vocal work from Tail Dragger, great harp work from Bob Corritore, plus outstanding performances from Henry Gray, Kirk Fletcher, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, and Brian Fahey. Special note for those who read the liner notes--Chris James & Patrick Rynn are becoming, together, about the best players you can get to make a great blues record. Many thanks for his help with this review to John Vermilyea. You can buy this cd at

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