Biography

There are 2 musicians with the name Al Perkins:

#1 Al Perkins (January 18, 1944) is a Texas-born American guitarist.

#2 Al Perkins (Brookhaven, Mississippi, August 1, 1930 - February 13, 1983) was a soul singer. His ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ had a few spins over the years on the Northern soul scene.

#1 Al Perkins is a Texas-born American guitarist. The Gibson guitar company have called Perkins "the world's most influential Dobro player" and began producing an "Al Perkins Signature" Dobro in 2001 - designed and autographed by Perkins.

Following time in the US Army, Perkins moved to California where he began playing with the band Shiloh. He went on to record and tour with the Flying Burrito Brothers, Richie Furay, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills, Leonard Cohen, Gram Parsons, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, Daniel Amos, The Rolling Stones, Joe Walsh, Michael Nesmith, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Debby Boone, Tori Amos, The Eagles, Bethlehem, and McGuinn and Hillman. In 1971, Perkins became a member of Steven Stills' band, Manassas. Perkins began producing records in the mid 1970s.

In the 1980s, Perkins joined Chris Hillman in the Desert Rose Band. Perkins started touring with Dolly Parton in 1986. Also that year, Perkins played Dobro on Bob Dylan's Knocked Out Loaded. In 1988, Perkins moved to Nashville, and the following year, he joined Emmylou Harris' new Grammy Award winning group The Nash Ramblers, with whom he released the album Snapshots.

By the mid 1990s, Perkins began to work almost exclusively as a record producer and session guitarist, recording with artists like Tori Amos (From the Choirgirl Hotel), Owen Temple, Garth Brooks (Sevens), Wynonna Judd, Buddy Miller, and Cher.

In 2003, Perkins joined forces with Terry Talbot and other original members Bruce “Creeper” Kurnow and Tim Ayres to resurrect the country rock band Mason Proffit.

Later Perkins teamed up with Brady Blade and Chris Donohue to form Big Dog 3, releasing a self-titled album in July 2009.

#2 Al Perkins (Brookhaven, Mississippi, August 1, 1930 - February 13, 1983) was a soul singer. His ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ had a few spins over the years on the Northern soul scene.

Perkins ran a band during the late fifties and early sixties, cut sides for CJ, Salem, Jive and USA, where he duetted with Betty Bibbs on a version of the song he penned with R&B impressario Dave Clark – ‘Homework’. (Otis Rush’s version was issued on Duke in 1962 and became the definitive version.)
Al had over half a dozen sides released at USA alone, and wrote songs for other acts at the label including Detroit Junior.
He moved into running a recording studio for Paul Glass, the owner of USA, and whilst there he cut bluesman G.L. Crockett on ‘It’s A Man Down There’ which he took to Four Brothers, a fledgling Chicago label set-up by Willie Barney and Jack Daniels. The song was an early Top 10 R&B hit for the company in the summer of 1965.
With other soul luminaries he made contact at the time and with Bobby Womack and Jimmy Holiday he wrote the song ‘Yes My Goodness Yes’ which became a minor hit on Soul Fox for Willie Hobbs and was later covered by Jerry Butler on his The Soul Goes On album. Al recorded the track himself on Buddah and the song was picked up by Atco reaching #48 on the R&B charts in August 1969. This proved to be Al’s most successful release.
A succession of sides appeared on Atco including ‘Trust Me’, ‘I Don’t Want No (Second Hand Love); ‘Snap Your Fingers’ and ‘Need To Belong’. The B-side of the last two ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ had a few spins over the years on the Northern soul scene and despite Perkins’ unassured lead, the girl backing singers and the driving arrangement make it one of Al’s best outings.
While he continued to put out the odd 45, once again Al changed direction, becoming a radio personality in Memphis. He moved to Detroit radio station WJLB and listeners back in the day will recognise the title of today’s blog from his show.
Perkins developed his interest in production and management and worked with Hot Sauce for Stax/Volt, Na Allen for GRT, Little Miton at Mier, more successfully with Al Hudson & The Soul Partners (later One Way) and their ex-lead vocalist Alicia Myers when she pursued a solo career.
However, in 1979 Perkins was embroiled in the investigations into payola at both WJLB and rock station WMZK. Al had earlier gone into partnership with Detroit producer and label owner Earnest Kelley, who recalled hairy moments working with Al when disgruntled acts who had paid him to play or promote records fired shots at their office when the discs were not aired!
It seemed that some of Al’s business ventures were a little on the shady side and Al’s life ended when he was shot on 13th February 1983.


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