"Take Your Hands Off My Woman," borrows the musical essence of Muddy Waters' "Got My Mojo Working." While the roots of that song are plenty old and tired, Perkins turns in his most energetic piano solo and Smith fires off a pair of fine harp solos. It's hard to imagine they'd have had the same energy had they settled for simply covering the more famous "Mojo." Smith originally wrote "Walkin' Down The Highway" for Perkins to sing but wound up handling vocals himself. He and Perkins again contribute great solos and it's here for the first time the guitars of Primer and Krakowski are given a bit more prominence.
The most moving moment on the entire album might have the least bluesy origins of any song on the album. Pinetop Perkins contributes one of his two lead vocals on "Take My Hand, Precious Lord." The hymn was written by Rev. Thomas Dorsey and is adapted here by Perkins. Listening to this song reminds me of something I wrote about listening to Johnny Cash's American V, released shortly after his death. Listening to the 96-year old Perkins singing about being tired, weak, and worn and reaching for the hand of his savior should reduce everyone who hears it to tears. It had that effect on everyone present when the song was recorded, according to the wonderful liner notes by noted historian Bill Dahl.
Recording technology and commercial considerations have altered and distorted the blues, regardless of what the Wall Street Journal has to say. It's rewarding to hear Perkins and Smith playing traditional Chicago blues at a pace and volume that ignores these trends. This is a history lesson presented not by a boring lecturer or dry recitation of names and dates but rather a living history lesson presented by men who were at the center of it and know how to bring it to us. It's good to hear these two Joined At The Hip once again. Let's hope they stay that way for a good while longer.