Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Pinetop Perkins DVD

Josh Perkins reviews the new music DVD documentary on Belzoni native and blues legend Pinetop Perkins.

Perkins writes: Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins is a national treasure. Forget Mount Rushmore and to hell with the Grand Canyon – old rocks and dead men are no match for a timeless spring of eternal blues....

He was born in Belzoni, Mississippi [in 1913] on the Honey Island plantation. Perkins has taken to saying he was “born in the honey,” a turn of phrase that now serves as the title of a 60-minute documentary on his incredible life.

He started playing music at an early age, learning both guitar and piano as a youngster before leaving home around age 16....He moved to Clarksdale in 1940, not long after the moonshine operation he helped run got broken up. His fellow entrepreneurs were apprehended by the law. He escaped and decided it was time for a change of scenery....Perkins knocked around Memphis, St. Louis, and Cairo, Illinois throughout the '50s. While in Memphis, he taught Ike Turner to play piano. He also recorded on a session with Earl Hooker for Sun Records. While there, he recorded “Pinetop's Boogie Woogie,” which was originally recorded by Clarence “Pinetop” Smith. The song meant so much to Perkins that he donned the nickname himself, becoming even more famous than its originator....

Born in the Honey assembles a wonderful cast of blues legends to both pay tribute to Perkins as well as swap stories about time spent with him. Bobby Rush has a great story about Pinetop the prankster. Ike Turner, Bob Margolin, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Ann Rabson, Paul Oscher, Dr. John, Lonnie Brooks, Hubert Sumlin, Taj Majal, Kim Wilson, Marcia Ball, Koko Tayler, and Bernard Allison are all interviewed during the documentary as is Pinetop himself....

Pinetop Perkins is a blues icon, and Born in the Honey does a fine job of telling his story....Also included in the package is a 10-song CD, Pinetop Perkins on the 88s. The first nine tracks are taken from a live performance.

(Read the full article here.)

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