Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pinetop Perkins
Portrait Of A Delta Bluesman

While there hasn’t been a shortage of Pinetop Perkins albums in recent months, this new album is of particular interest as it is Pinetop playing solo. Intermixed with his music performances are his recollections, so this comes off as a musical autobiography.

Pinetop himself prefers playing with a band, yet his performances of such blues as Come Back Baby, Big fat Mama, Chains of Love, Grindin’ Man, Forty Four, Caldonia, Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie, and other songs here are played in a relaxed fashion that is still full of plenty of feeling. While most of these songs will be familiar from other band recordings, Walter Davis’ Come Back Baby is a particularly pleasing performance.

He discusses his influences, growing up, playing around the delta (He was with the King Biscuit Show) and joining Muddy Waters. An elder statesman of the delta and Chicago blues piano traditions, this unpretentious collage of music and recollections is a fascinating portrait of the blues piano legend and his music. Highly recommended.

This review originally appeared in the January-February 1994 Jazz & Blues Report (issue 188). I may have received my review copy from a publicist, the record company or the publication.  This may be hard to find as a CD, but should be available as a download.

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