Despite stints with Orchestras and duos Peterson loved the trio format best. Touring the world in the early Sixties with Ray Brown on Double Bass and Ed Thigpen on Drums the band settled in Chicago for a week long Residency, subsequently recording a four LP set of their performances. The two recordings here are considered the cream of the crop consisting of compositions from right across the 20th century along with two of Peterson's own, masterful creations. Originally released on Verve Records in 1961.
Muddy Waters was the leading exponent of Chicago blues in the Fifties, and with him, the blues came up from the Delta and went electric. His guitar licks and repertoire have fueled innumerable blues bands.
Aretha Franklin is one of the giants of soul music, and indeed of American pop as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. Her astonishing run of late-'60s hits with Atlantic Records "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and several others earned her the title "Lady Soul," which she has worn uncontested ever since.
In 2001, legendary blues pianist Pinetop Perkins was edging up on 88 years of age when he played the concert date in Chicago documented on this album. Perkins sounds plenty spry here, but this certainly doesn't capture the great man at his best; Perkins was a pioneer of the boogie-woogie style and was a longtime member of Muddy Waters' band, but most of On the 88's: Live in Chicago is devoted to easygoing midtempo numbers that sound a bit timid compared to what he played in his prime. Perkins shows he still had a great touch on this recording, and his timing is more than fine, but his left hand doesn't quite anchor these tunes the way he did in his salad days (it might have helped if he'd been given a better piano for this gig, since the instrument has the tone of a second-rate electronic keyboard), and even if his singing is game, his voice was showing its wear.