Over the years, the ancestral line of prewar American bluesmen has just about vanished. Mississippi-born pianist Pinetop Perkins, who relocated to Austin in 2004, is one of the few survivors. A sideman for the majority of his career—most famously with Muddy Waters—Perkins turns 95 this month. Though much has been made of his fortitude, the truth is, for him and many other musicians without retirement plans, slowing down is not really an option. The good news? He still sounds great. Pinetop Perkins and Friends (Telarc) celebrates his life and music with a reverent and tasteful all-star assemblage, including three kings of the blues guitar. B. B. King trades licks and vocal barbs on “Down in Mississippi,” and Eric Clapton turns in a hair-raising solo on the medley “How Long Blues/Come Back Baby.” But it’s former Thunderbird Jimmie Vaughan, with his restrained, eloquent string mastery, who best complements Perkins’s piano work and singing. Tracks like “Anna Lee” and Perkins’s own “Take It Easy Baby” find a fertile groove, and while Perkins himself is not exactly hard-driving, his expressive style speaks of a time all but forgotten. Pinetop Perkins Website