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Pinetop Perkins

He admittedly wasn't the originator of the seminal piano piece "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie," but it's a safe bet that more people associate it nowadays with Pinetop Perkins than with the man who devised it in the first place, Clarence "Pinetop" Smith. Although it seems as though he was around Chicago forever, the Mississippi native actually got a relatively late start on his path to Windy City immortality. It was only when Muddy Waters took him on to replace Otis Spann in 1969 that Perkins' rolling mastery of the ivories began to assume outsized proportions.

Perkins began his blues existence primarily as a guitarist, but a mid-'40s encounter with an outraged chorus girl toting a knife at a Helena, Arkansas nightspot left him with severed tendons in his left arm. That dashed his guitar aspirations, but Joe Willie Perkins came back strong from the injury, concentrating solely on piano from that point on. Perkins had traveled to Helena with Robert Nighthawk in 1943, playing with the elegant slide guitarist on Nighthawk's KFFA radio program. Perkins soon switched over to rival Sonny Boy Williamson's beloved King Biscuit Time radio show in Helena, where he remained for an extended period. Perkins accompanied Nighthawk on a 1950 session for the Chess brothers that produced "Jackson Town Gal," but Chicago couldn't hold him at the time.

Nighthawk disciple Earl Hooker recruited Perkins during the early '50s. They hit the road, pausing at Sam Phillips' studios in Memphis long enough for Perkins to wax his first version of "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" in 1953. He settled in downstate Illinois for a spell, then relocated to Chicago. Music gradually was relegated to the back burner until Hooker coaxed him into working on an LP for Arhoolie in 1968. When Spann split from Muddy Waters, the stage was set for Pinetop Perkins' re-emergence.

After more than a decade with the Man, Perkins and his bandmates left en masse to form the Legendary Blues Band. Their early Rounder albums (Life of Ease, Red Hot 'n' Blue) prominently spotlighted Perkins' rippling 88s and rich vocals. He had previously waxed an album for the French Black & Blue logo in 1976 and four fine cuts for Alligator's Living Chicago Blues anthologies in 1978. Finally, in 1988, he cut his first domestic album for Blind Pig, After Hours. After that, Pinetop Perkins made up for precious lost time in the studio. Discs for Antone's, Omega (Portrait of a Delta Bluesman, a solo outing that includes fascinating interview segments), Deluge, Earwig, and several other firms ensured that his boogie legacy wouldn't be forgotten in the decades to come. In 2010 he collaborated with harmonica whiz Willie "Big Eyes" Smith for the album Joined at the Hip, which won a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album, giving Perkins the status of oldest Grammy winner ever. On March 21, 2011, just over a month after the award ceremony, the legendary bluesman died from a heart attack at his home in Austin, Texas. Pinetop Perkins was 97 years old. ~ Bill Dahl, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

yup
Pinetop Perkins 812 likes

kenyapieters commented moments ago

Pinetop Perkins 812 likes

davislana commented 20 days ago

Pure BLUES

CoochieMan Dan commented 2 months ago

I will always love this mans music, i love to listen to his music God Bless Him. Live Happy Pinetop Perkins, you will be missed.

morningmouth commented 2 months ago

Pinetop is awesome. Thank you, Pandora for exposing us to all this great, classic blues. Artists that I'd never even heard of from yesteryear. I hear their inf
Pinetop Perkins 812 likes

davislana commented 20 days ago

Pure BLUES

CoochieMan Dan commented 2 months ago

I will always love this mans music, i love to listen to his music God Bless Him. Live Happy Pinetop Perkins, you will be missed.

morningmouth commented 2 months ago

Pinetop is awesome. Thank you, Pandora for exposing us to all this great, classic blues. Artists that I'd never even heard of from yesteryear. I hear their influence on today's artists like Clapton.

loewenstein. s i m o n
Pure BLUES
I will always love this mans music, i love to listen to his music God Bless Him. Live Happy Pinetop Perkins, you will be missed.
morningmouth
Pinetop is awesome. Thank you, Pandora for exposing us to all this great, classic blues. Artists that I'd never even heard of from yesteryear. I hear their influence on today's artists like Clapton.
nice
very good
He puts the most personality in his music
blues after hours, a great song for pinetop and a gateway radio show that brought the blues to boston. thanks mae
sang 2 me pinetop nothin like the blues
cli-lou
He could really jam.
Me2
Oh yeah, sing to me baby !!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! 1
Mama makes supper. cloud`s roll in Pinetop Perkins voice in the crown`s of swaying pines
Pinetop, obviously has the wind singing thru the pine trees. What a loss to hear he passed.
camis7
I got to see him at one of his last performances in San Antonio. What a trip!
spinelle81
back in the '70's I used to sit on the piano bench while he played. He was with Muddy, Bob, and Willy then traveling all over... what a time
gloriag972
I just heard about Pine top because he just passed away..I love his music..it's GREAT!!!!!
maxclimbs
RIP You will be missed.
zdoiron74
RIP brother
tshirek
I'M PINETOP PERKINS, NOW GIVE ME SOME CANDY!!!
Man could play, oh yeah.
olderoger
Rest in Peace
tjnnewman
pintop will truley be missed - he's prob teaching god how to play the piano - he will be missed...... p a s s e d 3/20/2011
Pinetop!
Continue great success. I give you thumbs up. I like this!!!!!
akamill80112
It is not the boogie I know and like. I like the faster dance type.
Pinetop now lives in Austin and plays regular shows at Antone's, but your best bet is to go to Nuno's on 6th and see him sit in with the various bands that play there.
I love the blues! Never heard of Pinetop until a few minutes ago. Thanks Pandora!!
There is none better than Pinetop. If anyone is new to the blues, he's the last of the best! See him and Know it! Big G and the Real Deal blues band.
I was lucky enough to meet Pintop 10 years ago. At the Tenth Annual Blues festival in Eureka Springs, AR. He stayed right next door from me in the same hotel. One time Mr. Perkins came over to the room where I was staying at, and all he did was talk about his wife. Who at the time had been passed on for about three years. He can diffently play the paino and he know what the blues is all about. Go Pinetop! How was lucky was I........... .
Little Mike's harp playing live was an absolute wonder. The Blues After Hours album is worth tracking down. Pinetop was, of course, excellent live as well.
Got into Pinetop in the 80's. His cover of "Blues After Hours" from the album of the same name, was the theme song and name of a blues radio show that I used to listen to while working in a convenience store. I got to see Pinetop play live twice back then--once in a club, and once as part of a massive outdoor blues festival. Both times he was backed by Little Mike and the Tornadoes. Although they were somewhat tame on record (Little Mike's band), they absolutely smoked live!
yes, its awesome blues....rea l l y love it. awesome station too. Thank you, Pandora
magruver
AWESOME BLUES ,Love it I do !!!!!!!!!!!!

love the song Trouble in Mind ,

Thank You Pandora again .

The best music ever !!!!!!!!!!! thanks
satherjerry
Am new to Pinetop but have bought his latest album " Pinetop Perkins & Friends".Rea l l y good!
wHOA, My caps are LoCKed! Goood, BlUES.
If this don't give you a boost, then you better double up on those happy pills.
totally awsonme, the upbeat and chemistry on the ivory is soul moving
EXCELLENT!
enjoy his music....... . o n e of the best blues man out there ...love the up beat

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