Pinetop Perkins, 1913-2011

Blues diva Candye Kane poses with Pinetop Perkins; photo courtesy of Candye Kane

I was at Gryphon Stringed instruments today when Paul Jacobs there mentioned that he had seen the Pinetop Perkins concert I had produced at Cubberley in 1997. He broke me the news that Pine had passed away (it was actually a month ago already, unknown to me).

As I ate a quick couple bites of chicken for my lunch today I recall that Pinetop from my experience was fond of chicken. I believe it was on his rider. I recall Pat Morgan backstage practically shouting in his ear “Pine, would you like some CHICKEN?” — Perkins I observed was practically deaf when I met him, but boy howdy could he tickle them keys.

edit to add, July 7, 2011: Today would have been Pinetop Perkins’ 98th birthday. I realized this because blues diva Candye Kane was kind and reverent enough to send this reminder to her email list, along with the above photo. Coincidentally I am interviewing blues pianist and band leader Steve Lucky today, apropos of his upcoming free show Saturday in Palo Alto. I had seen Steve a couple years ago when my then-client Gary Floyd opened for Pinetop Perkins band at McNears’ Mystic Theater in Petaluma. Steve was at the show because his wife and partner Carmen Getit was in Pine’s band, and on the Grammy-nominated cd (she of the 1956 Gibson guitar). I was trying to briefly recommend Gary Floyd (The Dicks, Sister Double Happiness, Black Kali Ma, Buddha Brothers) for the blues circuit under the name Gary Floyd’s Hard Again. I met Gary through my actual client Doug Hilsinger, who produced the Muddy Waters’ influenced session. We all drove up to Petaluma together, Doug, Gary and I. I recall that booker Sheila Groves of Notable Talent was a little aghast that I included on the blues demo an archival punk piece called “Saturday Night in The Bookstore“.

Getting it straight, which is like the blue joke that Jimbo Mathus told me about an old guy shooting pool with a piece of rope: Pinetop won the Grammy for his latest release “Joined at the Hip” co-lead by Willie “Big Eyes” Smith the drummer, vocalst and harp player, 2010 release, 2011 Grammy, oldest-ever Grammy winner. And now I see that Downbeat Critics poll, online but pre-dated August, 2011, has same cd as Blues Record of the Year — last year was Eric Bibb. (7/12/11). Carmen Getit played guitar on 2004 release “Ladies Man” which put her aside Deb Coleman, Madeline Peyroux, Ruth Brown and many lovely others.

Not to brag (and it ain’t braggin’ if its true): the poster I made for Pine’s 1997 concert in Palo Alto at Cubberley, was also a Howard Finster tribute of sorts in that I took a newspaper photo of a recently deceased Negro League baseball player and wrote in my faux naive scrawl all the concert data: that the band included Pinetop Perkins “He’s 86!” and Bob Margolin and Rusty Zinn (and I think Willie Smith, the poster should have noted) but also Hershel and Wendy (Yatovitz and Waller), the openers. The brag part is that some dude called me from Fresno wanting to order three more posters — we handed out the original run of about 200 at the show. And then Men’s Wearhouse on University Avenue kept it hanging in their storefront for more than a year after concert! True dat. So far I have not been sued by the original AP photographer for my fair use.  (The majority of my concert posters I used art directors; although I repeated the concept of my scrawl over found object for a Femi Kuti concert a year or so later– no one seemed to like or notice).

edit to add, 8 years and 6 days later: I just announced that Bob Margolin who has a new cd out, will play the new Mitchell Park Community Center “El Palo Alto Room” on July 6, 2019. Don’t hold me two it but I believe that Mitch Woods will do an opening set on piano, then Bob and his pal Jimmy Vivino will trade licks and stories. Here is a picture of Bob and Pine, circa 2010:


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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5 Responses to Pinetop Perkins, 1913-2011

  1. markweiss says:

    Here is a promotional video for Candye Kane’s show at the New York Fringe Festival, “the Toughest Girl Alive”. When I heard about Steve Jobs leaving Apple, I thought of Candye Kane because she is fighting the same affliction.

    You can see Laura Chavez guitar in this clip but I presume the female singer is not Kane.

  2. markweiss86 says:

    On August 14, 2011 apropos of discussion of Candye Kane being banned or barred or pulled from a gig near Birmingham, Al, that “she should go play where the tusks are looser”
    It’s a reference to the Groucho Marx line about I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know. Maybe I should go where the tusks are looser, like Tuscaloosa. Which actually uses an elephant for a mascot, Al be damned.

  3. markweiss86 says:

    i am psyched I found a stack of 20 postcard versions of the poster I made for the Pinetop Show: EARTHWISE WELCOMES
    HE’S 86
    INFO: (650) XXX-XXXX
    (the words are writtin over a newspaper photograph cropped close to uniform of a recently deceased baseball player from BALTIMORE of the Negro leagues)

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