These superstar guest "friends" affairs can get awfully tiresome, but this one is better than most. It was recorded over a two and a half year period when the irrepressible Chicago blues and boogie pianist was 92-94 years old, yet he seems decades younger. The songs are generally Chicago blues standards such as "Got My Mojo Working," "Hoochie Coochie Man," "Look on Yonders Wall" and, Lord help us, "Sweet Home Chicago." Still, if anyone has earned the right to give these chestnuts another go-round it's Perkins. Even though he's played nearly all of them thousands of times, he's as enthusiastic and invigorated as if he'd just written these well-worn classics. The piano man is spry on the 88s, tinkling the ivories like he's half his age, especially on the jaunty "Take it Easy Baby," the lively opener. Even though producer Doug B. Nelson overdubbed many of the higher profile parts, the set sounds open and natural, avoiding the stiffness that usually results with projects such as this. Only Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, and B.B.
King can be considered major stars with the rest of the "friends" lesser known blues stalwarts such as singer Nora Jean Brusco and bassist Willie Kent (Kent passed before this disc was finally released in June, 2008).
Thankfully Perkins is in such bracing form that except for King, who trades quips with him on "Down in Mississippi," nobody overwhelms or even steals the spotlight from the album's star. On the slow blues "Anna Lee," Perkins sounds positively lascivious, but in a charming, non-threatening way. He's also inspired by "Hoochie Coochie Man," with Vaughan assisting, laughing at the end like a child. Hotshot slide guitarist Eric Sardinas redeems himself for his own over the top albums with zippy work here on "Barefootin'" and especially "Mojo..." Pinetop is so loose, upbeat, and cheerful for these sessions, you'd think he had another 94 years left in him.
|Take It Easy Baby / Joe Perkins||Pinetop Perkins||3:12|
|Got My Mojo Working / Preston Foster||Pinetop Perkins||3:30|
|Down in Mississippi / Joe Perkins||Pinetop Perkins||3:56|
|How Long Blues/Come Back Baby||Pinetop Perkins||5:22|
|Hoochie Coochie Man / Willie Dixon||Pinetop Perkins||4:10|
|Look on Yonders Wall / Herman Parker||Pinetop Perkins||4:29|
|Anna Lee||Pinetop Perkins||4:28|
|Sweet Home Chicago / Delmar Evans / Robert Johnson / Johnny Otis||Pinetop Perkins||3:49|
|Bad Luck Baby / Traditional||Pinetop Perkins||5:23|