Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A tree falls

I was sorry to read Pinetop Perkins, a giant among bluesmen, has passed on. He died a week ago but I did not find out until reading this.

Pinetop was 97. You cannot say that he did not live.

I love the paragraph about how Perkins had smoked every day since 1922, ate all his meals at McDonald's and drank whiskey until he was 85 and had to undergo treatment for having an open container. These great old guys, they are passing away. My brother George and I were talking the other day about how the blues scene is gone, just gone. The old guys are all leaving us and the college kids are listening to crud.

I was one of the many, the millions, who partied with Pinetop when he was on the road. When he came to Buffalo he would play the Lafayette Tap Room. Pinetop actually liked my friend Lizzie better than he liked me but, whatever, he liked all of us. One night at the Tap Room he was mocking everyone out at about 3 a.m. when his gig ended because he wanted to stay and have drinks and a lot of people were going home to bed.

We stayed and had drinks with Pinetop! Lucky we did because now all these other people are regretting that they did not. Pinetop would have been about 85 then.

We also used to go see him and our buddy Robert Lockwood Jr. down in Helena, Ark., for the King Biscuit Blues Festival. Sigh, for days gone by, ain't that the blues?

I have lots of pictures of myself with Lockwood because we knew him better but I am not sure about Pinetop. I am going to have to search my house. Above is a picture I took from an Austin paper that ran with a story about Pinetop being 95. I would say the photographer deserves a credit. He is Will Van Overbeek.

Look at those long pianist's fingers. With Pinetop being so old that hand looks like some kind of sea creature.

Here is one thing that is a crying shame, as long as I am speaking blues. Looking around YouTube it is hard to find any video of Pinetop playing an actual piano. This is a blues I love but you can tell it from a mile away, that bland electric piano sound.

Oh, wait! There is this! Plus you get to watch the master's feet tapping under the piano.

Dear Pinetop.

He will be missed, along with the rest of them.

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