According to the Washington Post, “After a lengthy career as a sideman, Mr. Perkins became a headliner, performing at blues festivals and recording prolifically into his 10th decade.” The paper’s review of a 2005 performance said
The living legend does not walk fast, but his fingers are quick as ever on the 88.
Pinetop Perkins had his share of hard times in his long life, but he also had his music to keep him going. As quoted in the “Washington Post,” he once told a reporter
I remember the days when I played at chicken fights and your only pay was the dead chicken. But now I can’t retire even if I want to. Everybody’s calling me.
Would you rather work as long as you can or stop as soon as you can? Are some people just not cut out for retirement? Is their passion for their work what keeps them going into their 70s and 80s and 90s? Or was playing the piano not Pinetop’s work, but life itself? What do you think?