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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bob Corritore Blues News

May 22, 2009

When we arrived at the Spring Blues Festival we were greeted by the music of Mac Arnold sounding just great on the stage, and a hello by my longtime friend James Harman. After being shown our dressing room, we checked in CDs at the Back To The Roots booth, where countless photographers were snapping pictures, and we were greeted by friends and fans. It was so great to meet in person my email friend Marc De Jonghe, who has provided many photos for the website (click here to see). It was also great to see Michel Remond, who was looking just great after suffering a minor stroke last year. Michel (with the help of Jocelyn Richez) was the first to reach out and get us a European festival gig, and I will be forever grateful. Freddy Celis from Rootstime Magazine (another fine blues publication from Belgium) conducted an amazingly in-depth interview in the rushed, 30 minute window of time that we had available before our festival set. After a killer set by James Harman (that included Gene Taylor on piano who now lives in Belgium), we set up our gear and took the stage. After a wonderful announcement by emcee André Hobus, we broke into a set that made us all feel proud. We were provided great equipment, a great sound system and crew, and the best of audiences. What a great feeling it is to have everything clicking, and to be able to share yourself to an audience with total acceptance! As we were getting ready to perform our encore, the festival presented Chris James with a surprise birthday gift of Belgium chocolates (It was actually Chris's birthday). After our set, we went to the Back To The Roots booth and enjoyed a seemingly endless stream of CD sales, autograph signings, photo ops, and greetings. After that were wonderful sets by Sugar Ray & The Bluetones and Joe Louis Walker. To read a nice review (compete with photos) of the Spring Blues Festival, click here, and and click the concert review link, then the SBF link.

Some of the other people we ran across at the Spring Blues Festival were Jacques Perin and his wife Monique of Soul Bag Magazine, Jean Pierre Urbain of ABS Magazine, Didier Chaumier and Lucky Jean Luc of Oreille Bleue, Dominique Floch of the Beautiful Swamp Blues Festival, Georges Lemaire, Dominique Cranshoff, Joel Bizon and Claude Dannic of BCR, Henri Mayoux of France's Blues Magazine, Guido Schmidt and his wife from the Lucerne Blues Festival, Fabrizio Berti, Mike Stephenson (Blues & Rhythm Magazine), Aigars Lapsa, Lil Hobus, and Guido Heynderycx, as well as fellow musicians Sugar Ray Norcia (who introduced me to Anthony Geraci), Mudcat Ward, Henry Oden, Gene Taylor, Mac Arnold, James Harman, and many others. We found out after we got back that our close friends Richie and Teresa Villiger were also there, but we unfortunately never connected with them in the large crowd. My friend Fruteland Jackson was there, but I also never saw him to say hello. The next morning Kim and I ran into Joe Louis Walker at breakfast. Joe immediately brought up our mutual friend the late Chico Chism, who Joe dearly loved. Also that morning, Big Pete Pearson was interviewed by Mike Stephanson for the UK's Blues and Rhythm Magazine. We then travelled to a the beautiful Belgium town of Zottegem, where we would play at a small but mighty club called De Blauwe Wolk which means "The Blue Cloud". We had a wonderful crowd of blues lovers who were there specifically to see us. I met a man that called himself Doc, who had with him the first three LPs that I produced, which he asked me to sign (these LPs were Little Willie Anderson/Swinging The Blues, Big Leon Brooks/Let's Go To Town and Low Blows, an anthology of Chicago blues harmonica from the 1970s and early 80s). We played two spirited sets and two encores before calling it a night. The next day it was off to the airport for our flight back home where we hated to say goodbye to our friend Franky Bruneel and our driver Kirk. Thanks, Franky, for a wonderful adventure and for your constant support of the blues.

-Bob Corritore

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