British Blues – Events – Gigs – Pinetop Perkins

Pinetop Perkins at Union Chapel, London, 6th November 2003

With illustrious Ed. succumbing to the dreaded flu, it was left to your Shaky correspondent to cover this first one of a pair of Blues London 2003 concerts held in this fine Victorian chapel. The sellout show began with Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin and his band comprising Tom ‘Mookie’ Brill on bass and drummer Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith. Smith sang pretty good versions of the Muddy Waters’ classics ‘Hootchie Cootchie Man’ and ‘Mannish Boy’. Brill took over the vocal duties and featured a nice take on the sentimental ballad ‘I’ll Take Care Of You’. Margolin also displayed a decent voice and showed his authentic blues feel on guitar with some neat slide playing.

During the rather lengthy interval those of us who retired to the makeshift bar in the vestry were treated to a solo set from the ever reliable and enjoyable Big Joe Louis. Carey Bell fronted Margolin’s band to start off the second half, his expertise on harmonica being quite evident, but perhaps lacking a little in the excitement stakes. After a few numbers he vacated the stage and Hubert Sumlin took his place, looking suitably smart in suit and hat. Some sensitive understated guitar playing ensued which was rather delightful, with improved vocals since the last time I saw him.

It was 10.30 before the amazing ninety-year-old Joe Willie ‘Pinetop’ Perkins strode on stage, sat down at the piano stool and commenced his stint with a lively version of ‘Chicken Shack Boogie’. His voice came over well too on numbers such as ‘Big Black Mama’ and Rosco Gordon’s ‘Just A Little Bit’. Even at his advanced age he can still play a mean boogie-woogie, and was well worth catching.

I would like to thank our friends at Juke Blues – Cilla Huggins and Dickie Tapp – for arranging to have my name included on the guest list for this night. Much appreciated.


Shakey Lee


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