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Pinetop Perkins, Heaven: Rare Previously Unreleased Tracks (Blind Pig Records)

Pinetop Perkins, Heaven: Rare Previously Unreleased Tracks (Blind Pig Records)

The unfortunate problem with posthumously “rare, previously unreleased” collections is that often they’re comprised of tracks that were rejected the first time around and put on the shelf where they should have stayed. Perkins was a fine pianist and a force in the bands of Robert Nighthawk and Muddy Waters. However, unlike say Otis Spann, who Perkins replaced in the great Muddy Waters band, he wasn’t exactly a fountain of original material when it came to shaping a solo career.

Perkins pretty much recycled blues standards once he launched a solo recording career. Comprised of material recorded in 1986 and 2011, this is by no means a poor release, it’s just very predictable, as many blues warhorses get ridden again. “44 Blues,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” “That’s All Right”—you get the idea. Decent covers, but nothing to get too excited about. One surprise is his duo with Otis Clay on the old New Orleans standard “Since I Fell For You” which very much strays from the standard blues progression. On the after-hours blues side, “Ida B.” is a fine number that features a sound not far removed from Perkin’s days with Muddy.

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