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Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Pine Top Perkins Austin SXSW 3-16-05
RIP Pinetop Perkins: Blues Legend Dead At 97
AUSTIN, Texas - Blues musician Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins, who this year became the oldest person ever to win a Grammy Award, died at his Austin home Monday at age 97.
"He went to take a nap and didn't wake up," said his manager, Patricia Morgan.
Perkins won a Grammy, the music world's top award, for best traditional blues album for "Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith." He also won a 2007 Grammy and a 2005 lifetime achievement Grammy.
Perkins was born in 1913 on a cotton plantation near Belzoni, Mississippi, and became a sideman to blues legends such as Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson.
Never learning to read -- a shortcoming he once said cost him throughout his long career -- Perkins picked cotton and was introduced to whiskey as a boy by his mother. He ran away from home after his grandmother smashed a bottle over his head for not chopping firewood.
The lanky Perkins began playing guitar at house parties and ramshackle "juke joints" in the South, and taught himself to play piano.