2010 Blues Hall of Fame Inductee
While most of Bonnie Raitt’s songs may fall outside the realm of blues, there is no doubting her commitment to and love for the music and the blues musicians themselves. Heavily influenced by, and sometimes mentored by, older blues veterans when she started out, Raitt not only sang soulfully but played bottleneck guitar in the style of Mississippi Fred McDowell. McDowell was one of many artists whose cause she championed over the years–others included Sippie Wallace, Charles Brown, and Ruth Brown.
After she began to tour on the strength of her first albums in the 1970s, she often insisted that blues performers be booked as her opening act, and her manager, Blues Hall of Fame member Dick Waterman, also represented many of the top traditional and Chicago blues acts of the era.
Raitt’s highest level of commercial success came in the 1989 with the album Nick of Time and in the 1990s with Luck of the Draw and Longing in Their Hearts.
Among her Grammy Awards was one for Best Traditional Blues Recording shared with John Lee Hooker in 1989 for their collaboration on ‘I’m in the Mood.’ Raitt also played or sang on blues albums by B.B. King, A.C. Reed, Sippie Wallace, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Ruth Brown, Charles Brown, Keb’ Mo’ and Joe Louis Walker.
Her contributions to the blues have also included assisting artists in royalty recovery as co-founder of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, helping to fund headstones and memorials, and quietly, sometimes anonymously, donating money to blues singers in need. Bonnie Raitt’s example is one that ought to inspire many other blues-influenced performers from the worlds of rock and pop music.
Lonnie Brooks, Charlie Musselwhite & Bonnie Raitt to be honored
By Reverend Keith A. Gordon, About.com Guide
The Blues Foundation has announced the artists that it will be inducting into its Hall of Fame this year, and they’ve really done a great job with their choices–much better, in my humble estimation, than the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation has done lately with their inductions.
Chaired by publisher Jim O’Neal, founding editor of Living Blues magazine, the Hall of Fame committee is comprised of blues scholars, historians, record producers, and radio programmers.
The Blues Hall of Fame committee has chosen six worthy blues artists, two non-performing supporters of the genre, and a handful of recordings for induction into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010. The induction ceremony will be held at the organization’s annual dinner the night before the 2010 Blues Music Awards ceremony scheduled for Thursday, May 6th, 2010 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis.
Contemporary Blues Inductees
The Blues Foundation’s 2010 Blues Hall of Fame inductees include Chicago blues guitar great Lonnie Brooks; harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite; and popular blues-rock singer/songwriter Bonnie Raitt among its contemporary artists. Lonnie Brooks has forged a distinctive style that is often described as “voodoo blues,” mixing elements of R&B, Chicago blues, Memphis soul, and Cajun music into an intoxicating brew. A master showman and charismatic performer, Brooks has often branched out beyond records to take advantage of other mediums. The guitarist appeared in the movie Blues Brothers 2000 as well as various television shows, and co-wrote the book Blues For Dummies with his son Wayne Baker Brooks, and roots-rocker Cub Koda.
Harp blaster Charlie Musselwhite rose out of the Chicago blues scene of the 1960s and, along with Paul Butterfield, helped bring blues music to a young white audience. His move to Northern California late in the decade brought his blues to the children of flower-power and, in the decades since, the artist has been an effective ambassador for blues music. More than anything, however, Musselwhite has helped expand the stylistic barriers of the blues, bringing elements of jazz, Tex-Mex, and even world music into his traditional mix of Delta and Chicago blues styles.
Bonnie Raitt is, perhaps, the best-known of this year’s Blues Hall of Fame inductees, a popular blues-rock performer with a string of hits to her credit. Although best-selling, chart-topping albums like Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw and multiple Grammy Award wins often overshadow Raitt’s blues roots, as a guitarist she is respected enough to perform alongside legends like John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Taj Mahal, among others, on both the stage and on recordings. Raitt is committed to blues music as an art form, and as co-founder of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, she has helped older artists with royalty recovery, and she had frequently helped fund headstones and memorials for deceased artists.
Early Era Blues Inductees
Its surprising, perhaps, that it’s taken this long, but W.C. Handy, “The Father of the Blues,” will be inducted this year, along with jug band pioneer Gus Cannon and Cannon’s Jug Stompers, and boogie-woogie blues piano great Amos Wilburn.
W.C. Handy, for whom The Blues Foundation originally named its Blues Music Awards (pre-2001), was better-known as a music publisher than as a musician and performer. Adapting the blues tunes that he heard on his travels through the South, Handy would go on to compose such blues music standards as “St. Louis Blues” and “Memphis Blues.” Handy would go on to pen a best-selling autobiography, titled Father of the Blues, and a statue of the influential songwriter stands quietly in his honor on Beale Street in Memphis.
Memphis blues legend Gus Cannon originally recorded as “Banjo Joe” during the late-1920s, but it was his recordings for the Victor label circa 1928-30 with his band Cannon’s Jug Stompers, that would create his legacy. So popular and influential were the Cannon Jug Stompers’ recordings that rockers like the Grateful Dead and the Lovin’ Spoonful would later cover the band’s songs. Cannon would record a final album for the Stax label during the 1960s, passing away in Memphis in 1979.
Pianist Amos Milburn was one of the lucky artists that would make the transition from straight blues to R&B, Milburn’s combination of rollicking piano blues and soulful ballads would score the singer a string of hits during the 1940s and ’50s, including songs like “Chicken Shack Boogie,” “Bewildered,” and “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer.” Sadly, the hard-living bluesman would be sidelined by a stroke in 1970 and had virtually disappeared from the music scene before his death in 1980.
The Blues Foundation also recognizes excellence in other creative areas that surround the blues, and in the “Non-Performers” category this year they’ll be honoring one of my favorites, noted music writer Peter Guralnick. The author of definitive biographies on artists like Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke, as well as books like Sweet Soul Music, Lost Highway and Searching For Robert Johnson, Guralnick is one of music’s hardest-working historians, his work offering insight into, and documenting blues, early rock, and roots music.
Radio personality Sonny Payne, the long-time host of the King Biscuit Time program on WFFA radio in Helena, Arkansas, will also be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Payne started working at the station as an errand boy upon its inception in 1941, witnessing early live, on-air performances by Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr. Lockwood. After serving in the military and playing in various bands, Payne would come back to the station in 1951, eventually taking over the hosting of King Biscuit Time.
Hall of Fame Recordings, Literature
Each year, the Blues Hall of Fame also acknowledges the excellence and achievement of individual blues singles and album tracks, as well as full-length blues albums, and even works of literature. This year’s choices in these areas include the following:
•Otis Rush – “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” (1958 single)
•Little Willie John – “Fever” (1956 single)
•Big Bill Broonzy – “Key To The Highway” (1941 single)
•Blind Lemon Jefferson – “Match Box Blues” (1927 single)
•Howlin’ Wolf – “Spoonful” (1960 single)
•Robert Cray – Strong Persuader (1986 LP)
•Lowell Fulson – Hung Down Head (1970 LP)
•Fenton Robinson – I Hear Some Blues Downstairs (1977 LP)
In the “Literature” category, blues historian Sam Charters’ 1967 book The Bluesmen will also be honored by the Blues Hall of Fame. Documenting the lives some of the earliest artists in the blues, Charters’ ground-breaking tome included chapters on bluesmen like Charley Patton, Skip James, Robert Johnson, and Son House, among others.
The Blues Foundation
The Blues Foundation was formed in Memphis in 1980 as a non-profit organization to preserve the rich heritage of the blues and promote excellence in blues music. Consisting of over 160 affiliated organizations worldwide, The Blues Foundations sponsors the annual Blues Music Awards, The International Blues Challenge, and the organization’s “Blues In The Schools” educational program. Check out The Blues Foundation website for more information on its programs.Source: © Copyright LiveAbout.com and STLBlues.net and Delta Blues Museum See also:
More photo’s of the event Bob Corritore
The Blues Foundation – Hall of Fame Museum
Guide to The Blues Hall of Fame Museum in Memphis