by John Tarpley
Last Sunday, when blues piano legend Pinetop Perkins and iconic vocalist, harmonica player (and Helena native) Willie "Big Eyes" Smith snagged a Grammy for best traditional blues album with their recent collaboration, "Joined at the Hip," Perkins not only received another golden gramophone to put beside his Lifetime Achievement Award, he also became, at 97, the oldest Grammy-winner in history.
Let's sidestep all of the, well, frankly morbid insinuations of why you should cancel your plans to pay your respects to a nearly 100-year old iconoclast. Heck, let's not even talk about the recent Grammy: the award pales in comparison to their solid status as bona fide blues legends. Instead, let's talk about the fact that we're in 2011 with the chance to pull back the curtain on the past to see and hear Perkins and Smith, members of Muddy Waters' best backing band and founders of the Legendary Blues Band, combine nearly 175 years of blues mastery for a live audience. Don't even think of this as the best show of the night; Saturday, it's probably the best blues show in the entire world. Local electric blues trio Voodoo Sauce opens the night.
Take a look: "Grindin' Man" (live at the Backstage Jazz Club)