Top Jimmy & the Original Rhythm Pigs' powerful, hourlong set on Friday at Raji's wasn't quite the double-edged end of an era it had promised to be: Contrary to published reports, the Hollywood Boulevard club isn't closing, it's just changing owners. But with lead guitarist Carlos Guitarlos settled in San Francisco and mighty bassist Gil T. now headed off to Austin, the occasional reunions of the veteran local blues-hounds will be a more tenuous proposition.
Don't count on it, though: Top Jimmy and company seem to keep coming back together no matter how volatile the band chemistry, erratic the performances or unchanged the repertoire. The reason is simple enough: When the band clicks on all cylinders, its raucously reverent mauling of such blues/R&B; standards as "Back Door Man," "Who Do You Love" and "Framed" can make you forget the 5,237 mediocre versions of those tunes you've endured.
And when Top Jimmy's Howlin' Wolf-style voice bellowed the "Let it roll, baby, roll" chorus of "Roadhouse Blues" while the Rhythm Pigs pounded out the big boogie behind him, the blues were again transformed into a palpably physical thang.