Pinetop Perkins and Wille “Big Eyes” Smith

Pinetop Perkins and Wille “Big Eyes” Smith
Joined at the Hip

Telarc (B003E6YB8Y)

By Ms. Marci
May 2011

If you're looking for sophisticated lyrics and searing guitar solos, this CD is not for you. BUT... if you want to get down to the roots, this CD defines traditional blues. It's no wonder that it won a Grammy in February, 2011 for the Best Traditional Blues Recording. Pinetop and Willie had a long history together working with Muddy Waters and beyond. Their connection is obvious on this disc. They most assuredly were "joined at the hip!" The fact that they are supported by some finely seasoned musicians and promising young talent didn't hurt none, either!

Guitarist John Primer also played in Muddy's band following Pinetop and Willie's departure. Bassist Bob Stroger worked with Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Rogers to name a few. Guitarist "Little Frank" Krakowski further hones his skills on this disc. When it comes to the rock solid drummer, make no mistake: Willie's son, Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith, is his own man, but is also a chip off the old block. The first time I saw him play, I missed his introduction and I turned to my husband and said, "You know who he reminds me of, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith!" He said, "Honey, that's Willie's son Kenny!"

Most of the songs on this recording are your typical 1-4-5 change 12 bar blues. But there are nice variances in the rhythms and meters with shuffles, train beat and swing-blues. The slow, moderate and up-tempo meters keep your ears interested. Willie "Big Eyes" Smith contributes six originals mixed in with the thirteen cuts. If you like them "bump 'n' grind" blues, then "Walkin' Down The Highway" will do the job! Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins does one song that is all his own, "Grindin' Man." He also sings "Take My Hand Precious Lord," a Thomas A. Dorsey hymn that in essence is more "Perkins" than it is "Dorsey" and will have you sayin' "Amen!" Also included are a couple classic blues standards, "Eyesight To The Blind" and "I Feel So Good," that are performed with love and respect to the genre!

When asked about Joined At The Hip, Willie Smith said, "We were blessed for how things turned out. I never thought it would go that far." As many of you may know, Perkins' passed away on March 21, 2011. Muddy Waters' son, "Big Bill" Morganfield, called Pinetop’s winning the recent Grammy, "Quite the curtain call!" I call this CD the ultimate swan song!

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