A book is finished and others are begun. We recently said goodbye to Pinetop Perkins. He graced us with his elegant presence a couple of years ago and aside from getting to meet him and listen to him play our daughter Izze got to meet him and hang out with him for a bit. When she is older, I hope a trace of this memory will linger. Our friend from the Fur Peace Ranch, Bill Motyczka, wrote this:
It is with great sadness that I note the passing of Pinetop Perkins yesterday. He was 97.
I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing him perform five years ago.
Pinetop was best known as Muddy Water’s pianist. A gig he held for over a decade.
It was at Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peach Ranch, a music symposium and concert venue in southern Ohio.
Perkins was 92 at that time.
I remember coming out of guitar class for an afternoon break and strolling towards the refreshment location when I came upon a group surrounding the elder blues statesmen who was sitting on a the park bench.
He was dressed better than most people on their way to Sunday church meeting. A flawless dark suit, perfectly wrapped his slender frame.
Poised, concentrated, at true calm.
One of the last Kings of the blues was holding court. One of the symposium teachers, Patrick Sweany, knelt in front of Pinetop. Patrick held a huge arched top open body acoustic across his knees.
He was playing some of his own blues creations.
When he finished the song, Pinetop nodded his head. You could tell that he was happy proud that not only had the blues torch been passed, but it continued to burn brightly.
Latter that evening, Bob Margolin, who played lead guitar for Muddy Waters, brought Pinetop out to join him in concert.
Pinetop had a walking stick in one hand and a supporting arm to hold on to with his other. The top of the walking stick had piano keys carved into it. He had on black and white piano key print socks.
He tottered towards the front of the stage, carefully stepping over the sea of cables on the floor.
He sat down at the piano. Played a few chords. And instantly became thirty years old again.
As he played it was easy to forget that he was doing so on an electric keyboard. He made it sound like a full concert size Steinway.
The part that I best remember was him play “MoJo Working”. He had the house rocking so much that at the end of the song, the audience screamed for an encore.
He then played the song all over again, to even greater applause.
Well the song says that he had his Mojo working, but it just didn’t work on you.
I’m sure Pinetops Mojo is still working on us all.
Fondly in rememberance,
PS – more info at:
And so it goes… youth becomes experience and the elders gently walk down that long corridor into history and legend. Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash… wherever you are!
This past weekend at the Fur Peace Ranch we hosted Tim Reynolds. Pete Huttlinger was supposed to be with us as well, but illness prevented that and so we send our prayers and love out to Pete and his family. Get well brother and come visit us again. Pete sent his pal Tim Thompson to sub for him and we knew that he would be killer as well… indeed he was. Tim brought his son Myles with him… a young violinist of great talent, skill, poise and charm. Check this duo out. They’re really something.
It was a chilly weekend… there was even some snow on Sunday morning, but the Spring spirit was in the air. The fellowship was warm and the classes were hot!
Here we have Tim Thompson, Jorma, Myles Thompson and Tim Reynolds. This is really good stuff.
The weekend done at the Ranch, with a glance at Old Glory I headed to town to get Vanessa a birthday present.
Driving down the Ohio River to the Mason/Pomeroy Bridge I saw a string of barges heading upstream towards Racine and I just had to stop for a picture.
Well, back into the throws of home reality… It’s great to be here… great to meet new friends and old at the Ranch and great to be heading down the road to a warmer Spring. Next weekend it’s Acoustic Hot Tuna at the Fur Peace Station. Onward!