Review: Various Artists – Broadcasting The Blues
Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009
Broadcasting The Blues!
SWMAF Records 04
Bob Corritore is one of the Blues’ good guys – producer, label boss, harmonica player, composer, and tireless champion for the music. This set – released by the Southwest Musical Arts Foundation – finds him mainly in the latter role, containing material recorded between 1984 and 2008 for his Phoenix, Arizona based radio show ‘Those Lowdown Blues’. The list of artists who have appeared on the show is staggering, and these sessions are by such local artists as Chief Schabuttie Gilliame or the (finally) up-and-coming name Tomcat Courtney, highly-respected figures of the modern blues world like Billy Flynn and Chris James, and those of international repute, the latter category including Lowell Fulson, Louisiana Red, Henry Gray, Otis Clay, Billy Boy Arnold and Lazy Lester (Willie Dixon’s track is unfortunately only a short spoken endorsement for Bob and the show).
The results generally sound like intimate, informal get-togethers, recorded in someone’s front-room – maybe that’s what the studio looks like but it is ironic that for some of these artists, they were playing for audiences of tens of thousands, I presume. Because of the ambiance, the artists frequently make little asides, giving details about the tracks that might otherwise remain unknown, and meaning that some of this material is of even greater value. There are several small combo blues (try Johnny Dyer or Henry Gray, for good examples), ranging down to the solo down-home guitar and vocal of the woefully under-recorded Arkansas-bluesman Cedell Davis and the unaccompanied jive vocal of Jerry Lawson. Louisiana Red is in wonderful shape and his three tracks find him in some of the best form he has been in over the last couple of decades.
Thanks then Bob – and to everyone concerned.