Piano Red

Let Me Play With Your Poodle

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Piano Red's career peaked during the 1950s, but that's not to say that he didn't make some valuable recordings during the decade leading up to his death in 1985. The barrelhouse pianist and vocalist made this LP for the tiny independent Poodle label in the mid-'70s, during the bluesman's long tenure as the house pianist at Muhlenbrink's Saloon in the original Underground Atlanta. The first side is a studio session, as he revisits several of his biggest hits, including "Dr. Feelgood," "Right String Baby But the Wrong Yo-Yo," and "Ain't Gonna Be Your Low Down Dog No More," though each of these classics is a bit more reserved without an audience. The second side is live, possibly recorded at Muhlenbrink's, with an enthusiastic audience that has the good sense not to drown out the recording taking place. "Kun-Cha" is a subtle boogie-woogie, while "Let's Fall in Love" (which is not the well-known standard with the same name) is a bit more rollicking. He salutes boogie-woogie pioneer Pinetop Smith with the uptempo "Red's Pine Top," with the crowd cheerfully clapping along. He hardly slows down as he signs off with an energetic "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone." Since it is unlikely that this record was distributed widely outside of the Atlanta area (it was sold at Muhlenbrink's during his performances), fans of Piano Red's unique style of blues and boogie-woogie will have a hard time locating a copy.