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Legacy: Bluesman Joe Willie ‘Pinetop’ Perkins

Legendary bluesman Joseph William Perkins, aka Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins, died Monday (March 21) in Austin, Texas. He was 97. Legendary bluesman Joseph William Perkins, aka Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins, died Monday (March 21) in Austin, Texas. He was 97.

According to an entry on his Web site, Perkins “passed away peacefully at home.”

The Mississippi-born Perkins grew to fame with renowned performers such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Robert Nighthawk and Sonny Boy Williamson. He started out as guitar player. In the 1940’s he was severely injured in a fight and made the switch to piano.

Equipped with a distinctive voice, Perkins received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

Funeral services will be Saturday, April 2, at 11 a.m. at Century Funeral Home in Clarksdale, Miss., burial there in McLaurin Memorial Garden Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Pinetop Perkins Foundation non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide encouragement and support for youth and young people at the beginning of their musical career; and help provide care and safety for elderly musicians at the twilight of their career.

Donations can be made by check or through PayPal. Mail contributions to:  The Pinetop Perkins Foundation, PO Box 1916, Clarksdale, MS  38614

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