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It was thanksgiving night at B.B. KINGS in Times Square. The winter wind was blistering cold outside, but Pinetop Perkins had the club steamin’ with the blues. I had the pleasure of meeting the 91-year old Mississippi bluesman before the show. He now lives in Texas and his blues is as strong and contagious as ever. The show opened with guitarist George Kilby Jr. leading the band, which consisted of an amazing array of musicians. Two saxophonists, a tenor and a baritone, complemented bass, drums and Kilby on about four tunes before the star of show came out. At the opening Selby said he wanted to live a long life like Perkins, who lived until this age because he liked his rest. This year marked the fourth year the band played B.B. King’s on thanksgiving night.

A nice rockin’ tune called Manhattan by Kilby was noteworthy. Love Me Right also was featured in the early part of the show. Perkins came out and did pure justice to some blues classics. Ida D., How Long, and Come Back Baby (Let’s Talk It Over) really stood out. His presence clearly demonstrates his status as one of the blues pioneers and true craftsmen of his genre. He is one of those rare, powerful musicians who elevate the playing of those around him. When he came out, he took the group to another level.

Other classic blues tunes performed that evening were Got My Mojo Workin’ and Kansas City. The music made you move your feet and got more and more engaging as the night went on. It was so wonderful to be in the presence of such an amazing artist, steeped in the blues tradition. Pinetop Perkins should be seen live by anyone who loves authentic, Delta blues. Highly recommended.

After the show, right next door in the same building at Lucille’s, B.B. King’s restaurant, guitarist/harmonica player Jon Paris had his rock blues trio laying down some great riffs. The bass player was rockin’ and the drummer did a very cool, unique solo. Jon did several tunes with creative chord voicings and really had some interesting solos. His set included Hendrix’s Hey Joe and Livin’ in the USA and featured another harmonica player who sat in for several tunes. The crowd appreciated the high level of musicianship. It was good to hear this music live the way Jon plays it, jammin’ but at decibels that don’t break your eardrums. The show was a great complement to the blues show that preceded it.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Pinetop Perkins
  • Concert Date: 11/25/2004
  • Venue: B.B. KING'S
  • City State Country: New York, New York
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