Saturday, October 30, 2010

Me and Pinetop,

A few years ago, my friend Randy Palmer asked Rick and I to assist him in managing a stage at the City Stages Music Festival in Birmingham, Al. Now, City Stages was a world class music venue and it was an honor to be asked to do such a task. (yes, The Overalls got to play City Stages, incredible, another story down the road)
But, this was before The Overalls. Randy managed the Sampler Stage, which was blues, folk
bluegrass, roots music, you know the really good stuff! We did this amazing feat a couple of years,
and I'd do it all over again if asked. But sadly, the Festival like so many good things has bit the dust.

So,one of the years that we helped ,Bonnie Raitt was the headliner on the Coke stage(the biggie)
and Pinetop Perkins was our headliner. So, I guess I need to explain to some of you who Pinetop is............
He is, in my personal opinion, the best blues piano player in the world. He played with Muddy Waters for many years, but let me tell you, if you love true, Delta, earthy soul rocking blues, then you gotta love Pinetop! When I met him that night, and I was to be his liaison and escort, he told me that he had to see Miss Bonnie. Well, I told Randy and he told me that security was so tight around the Coke stage that even with an all access tag hanging round my neck, they would never let me back stage, but somehow I had to do it. Randy, being the wild and wacky friend that he is, told me it was my destiny to reunite Pinetop and Bonnie. They had played together years before. So, taking Pinetop's words to heart and accepting Randy's call to my destiny, I got a golf cart and Pinetop and I took off through a crowd of roughly thirty or forty thousand people.

We made it across the park to the Coke stage, but once we got past the crowd waiting for Bonnie, there were Birmingham police officers seems no one was to be back stage for any reason during her performance. The first few officers I spoke with, were heartless, they were doing their job, no matter what. But, finally I found a young officer who would listen to my story(well and by that time, I had actually begun to cry, spending all this time with Pinetop I had truly fallen under his charm and I was determined to make his wish come true) the young officer found the stage manager for the Coke stage, and brought him down to talk with me. At first he too was adamant, NO ONE backstage, NO ONE approaches Bonnie. But, he finally said ok,
we could be backstage but couldn't speak to her as she approached. HA!, I was on a mission by then and NO ONE was going to prevent Pinetop from speaking with Miss Bonnie.

The young officer helped me assist Pinetop up the steps, and then as Bonnie Raitt began to walk up the steps coming to the stage, I stepped forward with Pinetop. When she saw Pinetop, she began to cry and hug him! There was not a dry eye backstage, and she introduced Pinetop to the crowd and he played the show with her. It is one of the best memories of my life.

That night as Pinetop and I talked, and I took him to his hotel on the golf cart, he thanked me for helping him. I thanked him, and told him what an honor and privilege it had been to spend those few hours with him. At the hotel as he was leaving the golf cart, he hugged me and then he made my night..........he told me that if he were twenty years younger, I'd not be going home with my husband that night, Id' be going with him!


  1. This is a great story. A night to remember.

  2. I told you a long time ago you are amazing--This is an amazing story--I love Pine Top--have several of his records..