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Pinetop Perkins: Down In Mississippi

A collection of solo barrelhouse, boogie woogie and blues piano, Pinetop Perkins’ Down In Mississippi (HMG/Hightone 1004; ) is marred by the unfortunate use of a bad sounding electric piano on the first six tracks (recorded at his home in 1996). You would think that the presence of someone of Pinetop’s stature-an 84-year-old living legend of Chicago blues-would necessitate much better equipment for the occasion. Once you get past the annoying tone of that inferior electric keyboard, it is a joy to hear Pinetop radiate the 88s in his own inimitable fashion on his classic “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie” and Leroy Carr’s “How Long.” The last seven tracks, thankfully recorded on a real piano, are a welcome relief. In this part of the program, recorded a full year later in October of 1997, Perkins displays an elegant touch on Ivory Joe Hunter’s “I Almost Lost My Mind,” Eddie Boyd’s “Five Long Years,” Eddie Cleanhead Vinson’s “Kidney Stew” and his own “Big Fat Mama.” There is half of a brilliant album here, and a rare glimpse of the legendary pianist doing it solo.

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