Funny how things work out. When a violent dustup with a choirgirl in Arkansas ended Joseph Williams Perkins' budding career as a guitarist, it started him down his path as a pianist. Better known as "Pinetop" Perkins, Joseph holds the distinction of being one of the oldest Delta blues performers still plying his trade. Unbelievably, at 97, he still performs live and records, showing off his signature boogie-woogie piano style. His latest release, Joined at the Hip, finds him assisted by drummer and harmonica player Wille "Big Eyes" Smith, a longtime musical foil. The record features a warm assortment of Chicago blues standards and "Grindin' Man," a Perkins original. Over the song's lazy, shuffling backbone and Smith's whining harmonica, Perkins sings, "Ladies call me Pinetop Perkins / Some of them call me the grindin' man." It's a classic example of what the man does best, a nice and easy groove with harm and style to spare. Perkins' ragged voice certainly shows his age, but also his years of experience, trials, and triumphs.
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