Blues artist 'Weepin' Willie dies at 81

The blues singer died Sunday in a fire started by a cigarette he was smoking in bed.

willie robinson 88 224 (photo credit:)
willie robinson 88 224
(photo credit: )
"Weepin" Willie Robinson, a blues singer who performed with Steven Tyler and Bonnie Raitt, has died at age 81. "He was truly the elder statesman of the [Boston] blues. He was our godfather. He was the most dear man," Holly Harris, host of "Blues on Sunday" on WBOS radio, told The Boston Globe. Robinson died Sunday in a fire started by a cigarette he was smoking in bed, the Boston Fire Department said. He was born in Atlanta and picked cotton and fruit with his family up and down the East Coast. After spending time in the army in the 1940s, he became a master of ceremonies and doorman at blues clubs in Trenton, NJ, where he befriended B.B. King and other legends and eventually sang with King's 21-piece orchestra. Robinson settled in Boston in 1959 and played in clubs, but by 2005 he was living on the street and out of touch with his family. Blues performers learned of his situation, held a benefit concert and made sure he was fed and clothed.