James Cotton and Pinetop Perkins
Mighty Long Time, Live at Antone's Nightclub, Live at Antone's Vol. 1, and Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (New West)
Reviewed by Alejandra Ramirez, Fri., Jan. 29, 2016
James CottonMighty Long Time (New West)
Live at Antone's Nightclub (New West)
Pinetop PerkinsLive at Antone's Vol. 1 (New West)
Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (New West)
Antone's Nightclub unfolds a four-decades-and-counting musical history whose fabric weaves together greater blues history (Muddy Waters, BB King, Buddy Guy) with that of the Lone Star State and capital (Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Clark Jr.). At the intersection of both, not to mention the midpoint between the venue and its onetime imprint Antone's Records, sit both Pinetop Perkins and James Cotton. Retiring locally at the behest of the club's late owner Clifford Antone, the former pianist – Waters' onetime key man – spent the last years of his life (2004-11) here, wowing the locals. Perkins' Live at Antone's Vol. 1 offers a compendium of roundabout shuffles, 12-bar horn solos, and running basslines – his voice coated in scorned love on "I Almost Lost My Mind" – while Pinetop's Boogie Woogie spotlights the ivory trader in 1992 at the age of 79. Another Waters alum, harmonicat James Cotton, quietly local for decades now, offers perfect complement on Mighty Long Time and Live at Antone's Nightclub. Cotton's growls convey a pain as sharp as his harp on the 1991 studio LP and the attendant live collection. On "Moanin' at Midnight," his voice booms and hollers reminiscent of Howlin' Wolf, all the while accompanied by twanging, rambling electric guitar. "Midnight Creeper" knifes classic juke joint grooves. All four reissues whistle and jump with an intimacy and spontaneity that makes you feel like you just stopped by the venue's new Fifth Street locale for a cold one.