Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins

Pinetop Perkins was born in Belzoni, Mississippi, on July 7, 1913. As a young boy he witnessed the legendary Blind Lemon Jefferson perform at his school. Pinetop started as a guitar player and after being cut with a knife in his arm he switched over to piano. Like many Delta musicians he migrated to Chicago where he was fortunate to join Muddy Waters’ band. He and Guitar Gabriel ran into each other at a blues festival and they were both happy to see one another as they used to play together in the 1950s down on Maxwell Street in Chicago. His annual homecoming show is held at Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Pinetop passed on March 21, 2011.  

How We Helped:

Music Maker has supported Pinetop since 1993, helping him with emergency relief grants. Pinetop is also featured in the book Music Makers: Portraits and Songs from the Roots of America (2004).

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