Pinetop Perkins
Born in the Delta
Telarc 83418
Octogenarian Pinetop Perkins continues to enjoy increasing notoriety and exposure, much to the benefit of the world blues community. Perkins took a giant step from semi-obscurity when he was tapped by Muddy Waters in 1969 to replace Otis Spann; his buoyant style firmly established him in the roster of blues piano greats. Brilliant rolls and hopping, rollicking boogies are his trademark, and his simmering, mellow numbers rumble with bass-key bottom.

On Born in the Delta, Pinetop is accompanied by good friends: Former Muddy alumni Jerry Portnoy on harp and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums total many years with the piano man. Portnoy's broad, Chicago-style harp and Smith's great blues timekeeping are further complemented by guitarist Tony O and bassist Brad Vickers. Together they lock into a smooth, fundamental blues groove behind Perkins.

The overall sensation is of a mature, graceful and dignified presentation. "Born in the Delta" smolders with Perkins' ingenious runs and smoky, articulate vocals, as he guides us through the familiar terrain of "Everyday I Have the Blues," a sedately jumping "For You My Love" and one of his slow-blues favorites, "Blues After Hours." Portnoy heats things up on a loping " Look On Yonder Wall."

If there is a certain rich and satisfying quality to the music, the icing on the cake is the CD-ROM multimedia capability, which allows you to navigate through a series of programs, including an interview video wherein Perkins shares a few great anecdotes and reminiscences, including a funny Little Milton story, a solo performance video of the title song, and a biography, three articles, discography and an excellent photo archive.

If you have the equipment, it's a complete package. Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, born in the Delta almost a century ago, has hitched his blues to the cutting-edge technology of the next one.

-- Tali Madden

This page and all contents are © 1997 by BLUES ACCESS,
Boulder, CO, USA.