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Genuine Blues Legends

Pinetop Perkins & Jimmy Rogers with Little Mike and The Tornadoes

Elrob Records 2015

Review by David Bowling

 

Pinetop Perkins (1913-2011) and Jimmy Rogers (1924-1997) were two of the last connectors to the Delta Blues movement of the pre-World War II era. Although they had long careers, it was not until the mid-1980’s that pianist Perkins and guitarist Rogers began performing together.

Ellsworth, Maine, may seem like an unusual place for two Delta Bluesmen to perform in concert but so it was on May 21, 1988, when they took the stage at the Grand Auditorium with Little Mike And The Tornadoes as their backing band. The tape was running as they ran through a performance of original songs and cover ttunes.

Even with Little Mike & The Tornadoes behind them, the music has a raw feel to it. Perkins and Rogers were not sophisticated musicians, which fits their blues roots well.

Perkins wails his way through the classic “High Heel Sneakers and his piano work on his own “Pinetops’ Boogie Woogie” and “Pine And Jimmy’s Jump” quickly prove that a true blues musicians is at work as his play is more emotive than technical. Rogers was a guitarist for the early Middy Waters band and his work on the nine minute “All My Sleep” harps back to the early electric Chicago blues. He also provides the lead vocal for three tracks including a cover of Jimmy Reed’s “Big Boss Man.”

The sound is average, which is normal for a concert that was probably never meant for general release and in a way it fits the blues better than a slick recording.

Pinetop Perkins and Jimmy Rogers are both gone and their connections to the first generation of Delta bluesmen with them. Left behind are rare recordings of their concert style and sound. Genuine Blues Legends is a good document of a blues generation that has left the building.

Rating: ***

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