R.I.P. Pinetop Perkins

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Joseph William "Pinetop Perkins"
July 7, 1913 - March 21, 2011

Just a few short weeks after being the oldest person to ever win a Grammy Award for his album with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, Joined At The Hip, The great piano player has gone on to join that incredible blues band in Heaven.

Some general information about this incredible man:

Perkins was born in Belzoni, Mississippi. He began his career as a guitarist, but then injured the tendons in his left arm in a fight with a choirgirl in Helena, Arkansas. Unable to play guitar, Perkins switched to the piano

When Otis Spann left the Muddy Waters band in 1969, Perkins was chosen to replace him. He stayed for more than a decade, then left with several other musicians to form The Legendary Blues Band with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, recording through the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.

Perkins was driving his automobile in 2004 in La Porte, Indiana, when he was hit by a train. The car was wrecked, but the 91-year-old driver was not seriously hurt. Perkins now lives in Austin, Texas

In 2008, Perkins received a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album for Last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen: Live In Dallas together with Henry James Townsend, Robert Lockwood, Jr. and David Honeyboy Edwards.

The great irony of Pinetop’s career is that he didn’t blossom as a headliner until his eighth decade – a phenomenon that resulted in the release of 15 solo records in 15 years, beginning in 1992.

Personally, I saw Pinetop here in Memphis back in 2007 and was floored by this 94 year old ball of fire, who just commanded the stage from behind his electric piano.

Nancy and I were fortunate to see him last fall at The Biscuit and he was still playing better than people half his age.

If you don't know Mr. Perkins, go find the records and listen, you will NOT be disappointed.

A sad day for the blues community. I found this clip...6 years ago at SWSX..remember, he was 91!

Photo of Pinetop: Photo Steve Azzardo

7 Of Your Sparks

  1. Jay Says:
  2. R.I.P. Pinetop

  3. Ken Says:
  4. That's a very cool name, Pinetop.

  5. Wel. he had a good run...

  6. JAY: Great man

    MICKEY-T: and a cool guy too

    PHFRANKIE: That he did

  7. Travis Cody Says:
  8. Tough to wait that long to have some commercial success, but rewarding to have finally achieved it.

  9. Unknown Says:
  10. I regret that I never had the chance to see him perform.

  11. TRAVIS: Glad he got it

    JOHN: What a musician


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