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FAME Review: Pinetop Perkins and Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith - Joined At The Hip
Pinetop Perkins and Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith - Joined At The Hip

Joined At The Hip

Pinetop Perkins and
Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith

Telarc Records - TEL-31850 2

Available from Telarc International.

A review written for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Bob Gottlieb

Born in 1913, pianist Pinetop Perkins is closing in on 100 years and is one of the few who has his roots deep in Delta. He, along with David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, are probably the only two living connections to Robert Johnson and those Delta Blues of the 1930s. He served more than a decade with the Muddy Waters Blues Band from the late 1960s into the 1980s. He was originally a guitarist and pianist until a knifing in 1942 when he switched to piano exclusively. Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith was the drummer in Muddy's band at that time and it was during these years that the two formed their initial bond, which has remained strong over the years. Smith later shifted over to harp and handles most of the vocals here, but of course Pinetop does his share of singing, too. It is this long friendship that has formed almost a telepathy between the two that eliminates words, they just 'know' what the other is going to do, and where they are going. Just to fill out the band you have Willie's son Kenny on drums, John Primer and 'Little Frank" Krakowski on guitars, and Bob Stroger on bass.

A couple of the cuts were written for the disc by Willie, he wrote five songs in all here, there are a number of special Chicago area shuffles, one by each of the Sonny Boy Williamsons, and two songs that just kind of jumped in there. There is the very emotional gospel number by Thomas K. Dorsey's Take My Hand, Precious Lord, which is sung by Pinetop and just started with him playing around on the piano and then… Minor Blues, an instrumental, which just started off with some tinkering in the studio shows how tight this band is. All these players are pros and have played together in various aggregations so the music just kind of spontaneously 'happens'. If you want to get something with the real feel that is the real deal here is your chance. It is tight and at the same time loose enough to give everyone room to take their turn. There is some great blues here that shows roots and yet is as fresh as the sunrise.

Track List:

  • Grown Up To Be A Man
  • Cut That Out
  • Take Your Eyes Off My Woman
  • Walkin' Down The Highway
  • Gambling Blues
  • I Would Like To Have A Girl Like You
  • Take My Hand, Precious Lord
  • You'd Better Slow Down
  • Minor Blues (Instrumental)
  • I Feel So Good
  • Lord, Lord, Lord
  • Grindin' Man
  • Eyesight To The Blind

Edited by: David N. Pyles


Copyright 2010, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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