Born in the Delta
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