Pinetop Perkins

After being stabbed by an angry chorus girl in Helena, Arkansas, in the mid-1940s, Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins gave up playing slide guitar because the tendons in his left arm were severed during the incident. Thankfully he could still tickle the ivories, and soon he distinguished himself as the Mississippi Delta's premier blues pianist. In fact, Pinetop's inspired brand of barrelhouse and rolling boogie-woogie influenced the sound of swing and eventually swing's red-haired stepchild, rock and roll. A former Chess Records session man who spent five years with Sonny Boy Williamson on Helena's wildly popular King Biscuit Time radio program, Perkins is perhaps best known as Otis Spann's replacement in Muddy Waters's band from 1969 to 1980. After forming the Legendary Blues Band eight years later, the Grammy-nominated maestro made up for lost time in the studio, issuing over a dozen releases under his own name, including his most recent disc from 2002, Pinetop Is Just Top. At age ninety, with his mojo still workin', the slippery-handed music maker remains an utterly compelling and soulful performer, breathing new life into old standards like "Caldonia," "Kidney Stew," "Hi-Heel Sneakers" and "Big Fat Mama." Now, kiddies, remember, it's nice to respect your elders.


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