Speckled Red

Another legendary blues and barrelhouse pianist from the era when the music was being invented and performed by authentic musicians who lived the life they sang and played about. Speckled Red (Rufus Perryman) hailed from Monroe, Louisiana, and was a self taught pianist, who was performing professionally by the time he was in his teens. His brother William Lee Perryman also became a blues pianist, he was known as Piano Red.

Drawn to the life of a drifting musician, and after continuous travels, Speckled Red wound up in Detroit in the late 1920’s, then it was on to Memphis where he recorded the sides for Brunswick “Wilkins Street Stomp” and the bawdy hit “The Dirty Dozens,” which would be forever associated with him.

He then continued with his itinerant pianist gigs throughout the 1930’s, showing up on some rare Bluebird recordings, eventually settling down in St. Louis. It was not until 1954 when he would surface as the first blues artist signed to the Delmark label.

Red was able to enjoy the blues revival of the late 1950s and 1960s, performed steadily around the St. Louis area, and even did a tour of Europe in 1959. He continued to record for the Delmark, Folkways, and Storyville labels.

Blues and barrelhouse pianist Speckled Red passed in St. Louis on January 2, 1973, at the age of 80.

Source: James Nadal

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