Pinetop Perkins review 04-18-12

PINETOP PERKINS

HEAVEN

BLIND PIG RECORDS   BPCD 5145

44 BLUES–4 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING–SITTIN’ ON TOP OF THE WORLD–JUST KEEP ON DRINKIN’–SINCE I FELL FOR YOU–PINETOP’S BOOGIE WOOGIE–IDA B–SWEET HOME CHICAGO–PINETOP’S BLUES–WILLOW WEEP FOR ME

 

 

Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins left us much too soon on March 21, 2011, just four months shy of his 98th birthday.  During his storied career, he has been a brilliant sideman for Muddy Waters, a leader on his own, and a Grammy winner in February, 2011, for his collaboration with Willie Smith, “Joined At The Hip.”  Sadly, less than a year later, both these legends were gone.

 

Blind Pig Records has just released a collection of Pinetop’s tunes recorede on November 24, 1986, at Chelsea Studios in New York, at a sprightly 73 years of age!!  Entitled “Heaven,”  it bookends his first full-length release as a bandleader, “After Hours,” also on Blind Pig, from 1988.

 

Most of these twelve cuts feature Pinetop alone at the piano and on vocals.  There are a few full-band cuts which we’ll touch on in a bit.  Check out Pinetop’s jazzy take on an instrumental version of “Willow Weep For Me,” and the loping stride of “Relaxin,”  Otis Clay overdubbed a vocal on September 15, 2011, on the torchy “Since I Fell For You,” and Tony O and Mike Markowitz add guitar and harp, respectively, on the Chicago blues of “Ida B.”

 

We had two favorites, too.  No Pinetop album would be complete without a version of his signature “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,”  originally cut in Memphis for Sam Phillips in the early Fifties, when he and guitarist Robert Nighthawk were barnstorming the South.  And, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith added the vocal to “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” on July 5, 2011, which would sadly serve as his last piece of recorded work, just prior to his untimely passing.

 

The blues world lost a great one with Pinetop’s passing, but blues heaven is all the richer.  With “Heaven,” the final chapter in his endearing legacy has been solidified.  Rest In Peace, ‘Top.  We’ll miss you.   Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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