Blues triumvirate plod through their back pages...
The main selling point here is that the much lauded Mountain Stage series of Blues, Rock and Country, recorded in Charleston, West Virginia, is finally marketed to a European audience.
Featuring the leading blues man of his time Buddy Guy, the highly regarded gospel tinged Rootsy blues of The Holmes Brothers, and pianist Pinetop Perkins from the classic Muddy Waters band, this DVD should have been an excellent blues primer. In fact, sad to say the project falls short of that mainly because of a seemingly complete absence of editing, meaning that Buddy Guy's set actually starts and finishes on a slow blues, while the Holmes Brothers must surely have delivered something better during their set, which includes a faux pas from guitarist Wendell Holmes on an introductory phrase.
In the case of Pinetop Perkins you can forgive a man in his 90's for some ropey barrelhouse piano work and the occasional slurred vocal, because after all he is a living piece of history. Pinetop still comes across as a dapper, elder statesman of the blues, smart enough to announce CDs for sale shortly into his set.
Buddy mentions the fact he only has a limited time to play, and the master of the slow blues, truly delivers, though the opening 'Done Got Old' comes perilously close to being a metaphor for some laid back playing that is enlivened only by Guy's characteristic yelping on the set highlight 'Dam Right I Got The Blues', and keyboard player Tony Z's overt showboating.
The Holmes Brothers seem happiest singing gospel as evidenced on the funky stomp 'Satan Comes As a Man of Peace'. Pinteops guitarist 'Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin adds some lovely slide and telling licks on Pinteop's set, that also includes a mistitled version of Jimmy Smith's 'Back at The Chicken Shack'.
Eddie Boyd's 'Five Long Years' covered by Buddy Guy is similarly mistitled on a DVD where a little more care and attention would not have gone amiss. Indeed the post gig features section includes a resume of Pinetop's career that ends abruptly almost as if the production team ran out of time! The DVD carrier surely offers the opposite potential of contextualisation and editing, both of which are lacking here.
Review by Pete Feenstra