All Cats Go To Heaven: Pinetop Perkins

Blues pianist and legend, Pinetop Perkins passed away yesterday at the age of 97. I remember the first time I saw him at Glen Echo. The room was packed, and there was a large crowd of non-dancers clustered at the front of the stage to watch him play. He hobbled out with his walker. . .I don’t recall if he had his oxygen tank with him that night, sat down at the piano with his frail looking body, and then tore that piano a new one. It was amazing to see, and I had a fantastic evening.

The last time I saw him, he had clearly lost some of his edge, but was still just as entertaining. The man filled with such joy when he played for all those people. Over the years, he played with all of the great blues men. Most notably, he toured with Muddy Waters for years. This past year, he won a grammy for best traditional blues album. I can’t imagine a better way to go out of this world than with another Grammy.

The Pinetop Perkins Foundation has been established to honor this blues giant. The foundation helps young musicians starting their career, and older musicians at the end of their career. Consider making a donation in honor of this legend, and the wealth of great music he has left for us.

Photo courtesy of the Pinetop Perkins Foundation.

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2 Comments

Filed under Blues, History, Music

2 responses to “All Cats Go To Heaven: Pinetop Perkins

  1. That appearance at Glen Echo you refer to was a Gottaswing dance. Tom and I were honored to present Pinetop to DC dancers three years running, and were in negotiations with his booking agent to find a date before this year ended. Each time, we could barely believe our good fortune to have a living legend onstage entertaining in the Spanish Ballroom, playing for US. Each and every appearance was a night of pure magic and wonder. Those of us who were lucky enough to have seen him and danced to his live music will never, ever forget it.

    • craigsparks

      I know it was, Debra. In fact, many of the great artists and dancers that I have had the chance to see I owe to Gottaswing. I’ve also discovered some favorite new artists thanks to you guys as well. I really appreciate the investment you make in dancing, both through the musicians and dancers you have brought to DC.

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