Pinetop Perkins,
(Blind Pig, 2012)

When Willie "Pinetop" Perkins died just short of his 98th birthday in 2011, we lost one of the greats, a bluesman all his life, a man who will be remembered for working with Robert Nighthawk, Sonny Boy Williamson, Earl Hooker and, of course, the gig for which he is most famous, 12 years in the band of Muddy Waters. He also played with the Legendary Blues Band and fronted his own bands as a solo artist.

He was pretty much the best, and Heaven is an opportunity for those who loved his music to hear one last set and for those who don't his stuff to become familiar with it. This album was cut when Pinetop was 73, and on it he plays solo on all but four tracks -- just him and his piano, which is enough for anybody. He reprises his classic tune "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie," a song he'd recorded several times earlier in his career but which he makes sound new here. He also plays a lot of blues standards: "44 Blues," "4 O'Clock in the Morning," "Sitting on Top of the World" and others. This is a friendly set, a relaxed set, the type of music he'd play late at night at the end of a long evening's rocking out. A few friends, such as Otis Clay and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, sit in on a couple of tracks, and a few have a rhythm section behind him, but mostly this is Pinetop's set -- and it's a beauty.

It is brilliant. He was the best. Enough said. Go out and buy this one.

music review by
Michael Scott Cain

29 September 2012

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