b. 3 June 1916, Hempstead, Texas, USA, d. 24 November 1964, Houston, Texas, USA. An early life as an itinerant musician, playing barrelhouses across the southern states, enabled Pickens to develop his down-home blues piano style, although it was firmly in the Texas idiom. Following military service in World War II, he settled back in Houston, and made his first record, supporting the vocals of Alger ‘Texas’ Alexander, along with guitarist Leon Benton. He also played regularly with Lightnin’ Hopkins, and appeared as accompanist on some of that artist’s records for Prestige/Bluesville in the early 60s. He also made a solo album in 1960, which demonstrated his deep knowledge of the Texas blues style. The possibilities of a successful new career in the blues revival, however, were tragically curtailed when he was murdered a few years later.
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