The following review has been submitted for publication and in the interim, I run it here.
Blues at base can be a very simple music. Simple guitar riffs and crying harmonica accompaniment for heartfelt vocals can get to the listener’s heart. This forms the heart of the music by the duo of Dave Riley and Bob Corritore. A Mississippi native, Riley actually grew up in Chicago, played in a family gospel group and showed stuff on guitar by Pops Staples and after serving in Vietnam and playing in soul circles, met Jimmy Reed who helped shaped his musical outlook. But it was meeting Frank Frost after moving back down south, and then started playing with Frost and Sam Carr as well as having associations with John Weston, Pinetop Perkins and Arthur Williams. This post-war delta style forms the basis of his music joined by his partner, Bob Corritore, a solid harmonica player who has been a blues hero as a record producer, blues radio announcer, concert promoter (at Phoenix’s The Rhythm Room) and a extremely adept harp player.
The duo has a new CD on Blue Witch, “Lucky to Be Living,” which displays the duo’s strong blues rooted in the simple Jimmy Reed boogie grooves and solid juke joint sounds that Frost pioneered with the Nighthawks (later known as the Jelly Roll Kings). Dave Riley Jr joins on bass on half the selections, while guitarist Chris James adds his idiomatic playing for three selections on which former Howlin’ Wolf pianist, Henry Gray. Several songs are by the late Frank Frost, including the opening “Jelly Roll King,” which Riley makes into a tribute about Frost, Carr and Weston. “Lets Get Together,” is a solid shuffle by Riley with Gray pounding outs some nice boogie piano as part of the driving accompaniment, while Gray also enlivens another Frost blues, the rocking “Ride With Your Daddy Tonight,” which also has a lively rocking solo from guitarist James. Frank Frost also wrote the title track, a stone Muddy Waters styled slow blues with Riley contributing some nice guitar fills and Corritore wailing on hap in support of Riley’s singing. Riley’s straightforward, somewhat hoarse singing is direct and if lacking in subtlety, it compensate with his honest delivery, while Corritore shifts from a full Little Walter styled harp tone to a more crying Rice Miller attack as appropriate. There is nothing new here but Riley and Corritore have produced a set of honest Delta to Chicago blues that should delight many.