Pinetop Perkins – Still Singing the Blues at 96

Yesterday, July 7th as the world mourned Michael Jackson’s passing, another music legend, Pinetop Perkins turned 96 years old. Pinetop Perkins, King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena, AR

Pinetop Perkins is a legend in the world of “blues” music. He taught Ike Turner how to play piano during the 1940’s while working on Hopson’s Plantation in Clarksdale, MS. Pinetop still tours the world playing his boogie woogie style blues. Even at 96 years old – he’s still living his passion for the blues.

I met Pinetop in Mississippi in 2002 while there for his homecoming. I had recently embarked on one of my earliest video projects – a project about the Delta blues musicians and the part of the world that gave birth to that music. My approach was to shoot still environmental portraits of these musicians, but more importantly capture video interviews of them talking about their youth and the Delta.

Pinetop Perkins, Clarksdale, MS I spent the morning with Pinetop sitting on the front porch of an old shack on Hopson’s Plantation. The crowds from the party the day before had come and gone and it was just the two of us, having a conversation on a glorious October morning. It was memorable and I captured his stories which I hope will be heard by generations to come.

That day led to many other wonderful encounters over the years with Pinetop and even a trip to the Grammy’s when Pinetop was honored as a lifetime achievement recipient.


Seven years ago when I asked him what the blues was, he replied “ Something worrying you so bad that you mights need to cry about it – you got the blues if you can’t sing em”. I try to remember those words when I’m down – and sing the blues to carry my troubles away.

Happy Birthday Pinetop.


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