Saturday, July 2, 2011

Casual Talk between Buddies - Little Smokey Smothers - Pinetop Perkins - Elvin Bishop

Joseph William Perkins (July 7, 1913 – March 21, 2011), known by the stage name Pinetop Perkins, was an American blues musician, specializing in piano music. He played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history, and received numerous honors during his lifetime including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Little Smokey Smothers (January 2, 1939– November 20, 2010)Albert Abraham "Abe" Smothers was born in Tchula, Mississippi, learned guitar at the age of 15, and relocated to Chicago two years later. He soon appeared on stage playing alongside Arthur “Big Boy” Spires, Magic Sam, Otis Rush and Lazy Bill Lucas. In 1958 he joined up with Howlin' Wolf, and played on Wolf's recording session for Chess Records the following year. Tracks Smothers contributed to included "I've Been Abused," "Howlin' for My Darling," and "Mr. Airplane Man."

In 1961 he founded Little Smokey Smothers and the Pipeplayers. He later met Paul Butterfield and became a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He was replaced in the band by Elvin Bishop, but developed a friendship that lasted a lifetime. Throughout the 1960s Smothers appeared with Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Earl Hooker, and Junior Wells. Musical opportunities dried up in the 1970s, and Smothers worked in construction. He re-appeared in the 1980s with The Legendary Blues Band. Their 1989 recording, Woke up with the Blues, included contributions from Smothers.

In 1993, Bishop made a guest appearance on Smothers first solo album with the Dutch Black Magic label, Bossman! The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers. The recording also included work from Smothers' cousin, Lee "Shot" Williams. Bishop and Smothers played at the 1993 Chicago Blues Festival. Smothers had open heart surgery in 1995, but the following year issued Second Time Around. Smothers performed at the 1999 San Diego Blues Festival, and at a party for Mick Jagger's 55th birthday.

Alligator Records then issued That's My Partner (2000), a live album recorded in San Francisco, which saw Smothers reunited with Bishop.Smothers also appeared at the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival. In 2006 Smothers and Bishop played live at the Ground Zero club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Latterly Smothers experienced health problems, and had both legs amputated due to diabetes.

In 2009, Bishop compiled the benefit album, Chicago Blues Buddies, incorporating recordings made by Smothers and Bishop dating back to 1992. Proceeds from the album helped to pay for Smothers' medical costs.

On November 20, 2010, after a spell in a Chicago hospital, Smothers died of natural causes.

Elvin Bishop (born October 21, 1942)
is an American blues and rock and roll musician and guitarist.
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