Mr. Collins established himself as a giant of modern blues in a career spanning 30 years.
In the 1980s and 1990s he received five Grammy nominations, and won in 1987 for his collaboration with Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland, titled Showdown!
In 1989, Mr. Collins was honored with the W.C. Handy Award as male blues artist of the year and blues instrumentalist of the year. His group, the Icebreakers, was also named the blues band of the year, and Showdown! was voted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Mr. Collins was born in Leona, Texas. He grew up in Houston's tough Third Ward area with Copeland and Johnny "Guitar" Watson, future guitarists.
Mr. Collins learned piano at school in Houston. But he also learned guitar
from his cousin Lightnin' Hopkins, who taught him to tune the instrument in a minor key.
Mr. Collins began in Houston nightclubs in 1952 and soon recorded his first rhythm and blues instrumental hit, "The Freeze" (1958), which was followed by "Frosty" and "Sno-Cone" (1962).
In a 1962 interview, Mr. Collins was credited by the late, legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix with being one of his primary influences in music.
Among Mr. Collins' biggest hits was "Get Your Business Straight," released in 1972.
In 1991, Mr. Collins signed with Pointblank Records, the blues subsidiary of Virgin Records.
He is survived by his wife of 23 years, Gwendolyn, and his father, Andy Thomas.