Pinetop Perkins

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. At 97, he unbelievably 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, “Grindin’ Man,” a tune written by Perkins himself, in addition to a warm assortment of Chicago blues. Over the song’s lazy, shuffling backbone and Smith’s whining harmonica, Perkins delivers his own theme song, “Ladies call me Pinetop Perkins,” he sings, “Some of them call me the grindin’ man.” It’s a classic example of the man does best, a nice and easy groove with charm and style to spare. Perkins’ ragged voice certainly shows his age, but also his years of experience, trials and triumphs.
Fri., Dec. 10, 8 p.m., 2010
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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.