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Finger In Your Eye

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Album Review

Big Pete Pearson grew up singing and playing guitar and bass in the juke joints of Austin, TX, long before that town became a Mecca for maverick musicians. He sang in church too, but was playing in bars by the time he was nine, including a stint with T.D. Bell & the Cadillacs. He grew up singing alongside his cousin W.C. Clark, today considered the godfather of the Austin blues scene. In his late twenties, Pearson moved to Phoenix, AZ where he is still based. He recorded sporadically when he was young, but has led successful bands in his hometown for decades. His location has hampered his career, which is a shame because he's an old-fashion blues shouter, with a timeless style and a booming voice that can cut through the volume of even the loudest backing band. His regular group, the Rhythm Room All-Stars, featuring the mighty harp playing of Bob Corritore, backs him up here, and the set also includes a bevy of special guests the likes of Pinetop Perkins, Duke Robillard, and Eddie Taylor, Jr. Corritore's massive harp, Pinetop's rolling piano, and Pearson's vocals dominate the title track, a dark, no-good woman blues, and while Pearson threatens his unfaithful lover with death, the vocal has such playfulness that it's hard to take seriously. "The Time Has Come" changes pace with Bruce Bears contributing jazzy Hammond B-3 to a mellow shuffle that's all passion and longing. The woman is still low-down, but here Pearson is full of frustrated passion. Doug James blows some fine bluesy sax to add to the late-night mood. "Sister from the City" is a salute to wild urban women. Pearson's playful vocal and Corritore's massive harp ride a lighthearted Chicago groove that makes it hard to stay in your seat. The R&B-flavored "Heartaches" features Robillard's soulful guitar and Pearson's wrenching vocal. "That's That" is a jittery jumping jive outing with Matt Bishop's energetic boogie-woogie piano taking the tune to another level. "Slippery When Wet" closes the set with its simmering double entendre and more impressive harp work from Corritore. Pearson didn't start recording regularly until he was in his sixties, which is a shame because his charismatic presence, robust singing, and fine songwriting mark him as a true master. ~ j. poet, Rovi


Born: Austin, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Blues singer Big Pete Pearson was born on October 4, 1936, in Jamaica and raised by his grandparents in St. John's, TX, near Austin. He began performing in bars in Austin at the age of nine, learning to play guitar and bass, and went on to a lengthy career playing in house bands in Austin. He played on recording sessions at Peacock Records and toured with T.D. Bell & the Cadillacs. He first began performing in Phoenix, AZ, in the late '50s and settled there in the '60s, becoming famous locally. His...
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Finger In Your Eye, Big Pete Pearson
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