For each person who becomes famous in a particular form of music, hundreds of other hard-working and highly skilled musicians never become household names. Rock fans decided in the 1960's and 70's that blues was all about guitar playing, giving less attention to deserving singers and musicians who played other instruments. (For the first half of the 20th century, record companies advertised people we now think of as famous blues guitarists as "blues singers.")
The self-taught pianist and singer, Willie "Pinetop" Perkins (1913-2011) was honoured by the (American) National Endowment for The Arts, and by blues societies. According to Heaven's liner notes, he spent twelve years in Muddy Water's band and mentored Ike Turner. Still, Pinetop Perkins is not known by most blues fans. When he performed some years ago with the house band at the "Fat Cat" in St. John's, Newfoundland, I had not previously heard of him, but wasn't going pass up a rare appearance by a Mississippi/Chicago bluesman in a province where we usually heard only local blues players (very good musicians though -- Pinetop invited the band to join him on the road, but its members had day jobs). I enjoyed an excellent performance by a lively, skilled, and energetic, elderly bluesman, who clearly loved what he was doing.
This well-produced CD features Pinetop in both solo and accompanied tracks. I'd recommend it highly to anyone who likes older-style blues and lively piano-playing and singing.
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