Piano-RedA native of Atlanta who played piano with Barbecue Bob and Blind Willie McTell in his early days, William Perryman could really pound the 88s. William was the much younger brother of Rufus a.k.a. Speckled Red, who was also albino, and this accounts for both men adopting the tag ‘Red’. Emulating his older brother, who was making a good career playing piano Blues, Piano Red was also influenced from an early age by the raucous style of Fats Waller. He had a string of chart hits in the early 50s with ‘Rockin’ With Red’, ‘Red’s Boogie’ and ‘Wrong Yo-Yo’. These were all covered with slight variations by Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and if you compare the tracks, the rough-edged originals pack a bigger punch.

Red signed for Leonard Chess‘s Checker label in 1959, and a second career came under the name Doctor Feelgood in the 60s, with a self-named hit in 1961. The B-side, ‘Mister Moonlight’ was covered by The Beatles when they were getting started. A the end of the 60s, Red took up residency in an Atlanta bar, Muhlenbrink’s Saloon, and occasionally left to tour Europe with the American Blues Festival. He recorded a album for Ace records in the mid-70s which showed his typical set, with a few slow drag-out talking Blues interspersed between bang-out rockers like Big Joe Turner‘s ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’.  Red kept on rocking until cancer took him in 1985.

Red (in character as Dr. Feelgood), asks ‘What’s Up Doc?’;