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David Wayne Perkins (born 1951 in Birmingham, Alabama) is a rock and R & B guitarist, singer, songwriter and session musician. He was the oldest of six children, a brother and four sisters. Both of his parents sang and played guitar. It was only natural for Perkins to pick up a guitar when he was six years old and teach himself to play. At age 15, Perkins played his first gig as a session musician, in Bob Grove's Prestige Recording Studio in Birmingham. At 16, he left school and started performing in local bands and released singles with a band called the Vikings with Charles Nettles.
In 1968, drummer Jasper Guarino helped Perkins land a steady job as a session guitarist in a studio owned by Quin Ivy called "Quinvy's" in Muscle Shoals. Perkins was salaried at $100 a week. This led to work at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio with such names as David Porter and the Soul Children, Dave Crawford and Brad Shapiro, Dee Dee Warwick, Ronnie Milsap, Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Jimmy Cliff, Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood and Marlin Greene. Perkins also provided lead guitar overdubs on three tracks on Catch a Fire, the 1973 album by Bob Marley and the Wailers: "Concrete Jungle," "Stir It Up," and "Baby We’ve Got a Date." "His contributions to the pioneering LP weren’t actually mentioned on the original liner notes — indeed most listeners assumed they were hearing Peter Tosh — but Perkins received credit later."
Perkins left session work to form a band called Smith, Perkins and Smith which recorded two albums and toured in England on the same bill with Free, Fairport Convention, Argent, Uriah Heep, Family and Vinegar Joe with Robert Palmer. While in Kingston in the Island Basing Street recording studios Perkins had been working on a second Smith Perkins Smith album for Island when Chris Blackwell stopped him. "He said there was a Wailer project he wanted me to play on" - the Wailers' album "Catch a Fire", which went platinum. When Perkins returned to the United States, he played with Leon Russell for two years, in the Gap Band and the Shelter People Band, and with Eric Clapton and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Clapton arranged for Perkins to audition with The Rolling Stones. As a result, Perkins was hired to play lead guitar on the album Black and Blue. The credits for the album list Perkins appearing on three tracks: "Hand of Fate", "Memory Motel" and "Fool to Cry". Following this, Perkins joined the Alabama Power Band (formed by his brother Dale), which became Crimson Tide and recorded two albums. In Nashville, Perkins wrote music for Catdaddy Music and co-wrote soundtracks with Emmy Award winning composer/producer/remixer Richard Wolf for films including The Karate Kid Part II and Back to School. Perkins later formed the band Problem Child with Robert Nix and Rick Christian, and played bass with Lonnie Mack. During his long career, Perkins played session guitar with artists including the Alabama State Troupers, Ben Atkins, Michael Bolton, Angela Bofill, the Everly Brothers, the Oak Ridge Boys, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ray Reach and many others.
In 1995, Perkins recorded his first solo album, Mendo Hotel, and in 2005, he released his latest, Ramblin' Heart.
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