In the Honey: The Pinetop Perkins Story
DVD with bonus Audio CD On the 88’s Live In
- Highly Recommended
Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins is an American
musical treasure, a direct link to our musical heritage’s past, and
above all a fabulous musician. This documentary traces the journey
of the 95 year old legend from the cotton fields of the Honey
Plantation in Belzoni, Mississippi to the streets of Chicago and
then solo. This candid look at Pinetop’s life and struggles
firsthand from his own mouth and his contemporaries is a complete
must for any blues fan, musical historian, or first-time listener to
Pinetop documents his struggles from being
chased away from his own home as a young boy at the age of 10 to the
cotton fields of Clarksdale, MS where he met the likes of early
partner Robert Nighthawk, Charlie Patton, and many of the
Mississippi Delta’s fabled blues legends. As Pinetop directly
relates, “You got the blues if you can’t sing ‘em” on how times were
hard running a tractor in pre-WWII era Delta plantations. However,
Pinetop was passed over and gives a first hand account of missing
the draft board because of his services being needed on the farm.
The documentary also goes on to show first hand accounts from Sam
Carr, Bobby Rush, and Ike Turner’s stories about Pinetop bouncing
around as a musician in Helena AK with Sonny Boy Williamson II’s
King Biscuit Time and KFFA with Robert Nighthawk. It was Nighthawk
who first recorded Pinetop in 1950 on “Jackson Town Gal.”
Interspersed between concert footage and
recorded footage is some finely acted montage by Cedric Burnside is
the stories from Pinetop’s closest friends. The documentary includes
interviews with Bubba Sullivan the proprietor of Blues Corner in
Helena AK, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Lonnie Brooks, Paul Oscher,
Hubert Sumlin, Dr. John, Kim Wilson, Eddie Clearwater, Marcia Ball,
and Koko Taylor.
You’ll find out first hand why Pinetop Perkins was well-deserving of
his Grammy Award this past February and all accolades before and
since. As Hubert Sumlin aptly puts it: “He got some of God in him.”
Perkins personality and amazing story from the Delta to Chicago is a
history lesson and a treat all in one.
Bobby Rush’s story about Pinetop Perkins at the
Havana Club setting a friend up with a transvestite. You’ll laugh
your head off at this one.
The concert footage, period. The interview footage with Pinetop himself.
Paul Oscher’s obviously heartfelt recount of
Muddy Waters’ car accident in which Pinetop was injured in outside
of Champaign IL in October 1969.
Pinetop’s diet of 2 double cheeseburgers and 4
apple pies from McDonalds every day!
This DVD is available from major music outlets.
Reviewer Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.