Monday, March 21, 2011

RIP: Joseph William Pinetop Perkins

Legendary blues pianist, Pinetop Perkins, passed away today at age 97. I was fortunate enough to have seen him play multiple times at Antones. He had been living in Austin for several years.

This moment is particularly surreal for me, however. This past Saturday night, I was at a SxSW showcase, for another legendary blues player, Bobby Rush. As a surprise, some people quietly moved Pinetop in his wheelchair, through the crowd, and parked him in the front row.

Bobby Rush's face lit up, he was delighted to see Pinetop, acknowledging him, and leading the crowd in a very loud round of applause. I distinctly remember thinking to myself that I should go see Pinetop a few more times, before the inevitable happened. He seemed to be in very good spirits as they wheeled him out of the 18th floor, at the conclusion of the show. Unfortunately, the inevitable did happen less than 48 hours later.

This is sad news on multiple levels.

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