1998 Handy Awards

1998 Handy Awards
My Picks by Delta Pickens' Leon McEntire

Well, it is time again to congratulate the W.C. Handy Award nominees. Of course, we all have our favorites, but it would sure be nice to see Luther Allison sweep the award ceremonies again as a final tribute to the late great blues giant.

Luther was one of the greatest and most unheralded bluesmen on the scene. With his triumphant return from France to join the Alligator family and release three major CDs with his long time collaborator, James Solberg and his band. Luther was bound and determined to spread his joyful music to the world. He did that and much more.

James Solberg Band is up for best blues band again this year, they won last year and will have a great chance of repeating their win based on the strength of their performance on Luther Allison's CD "Reckless" and Solberg's solo material.

Carey Bell and R.L. Burnside will battle it out for best male traditional blues artist, and Carey's CD "Good Luck Man" on Alligator is up for best traditional blues album along with some worthy competition.

Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb' Mo' and Philadelphia Jerry Ricks are worlds apart in their portrayal of acoustic blues but I think with Jerry's CD being up for comeback blues album of the year, he is in a good position to walk away with a Handy Award, at least one.

Super Chikan gets my vote for best new blues artist. And I think Sam Carr should win Best Blues Drummer. Frank Frost, Sam Carr, and Big Jack Johnson are competing for Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Comeback Album with their Jelly Roll Kings album "Off Yonder Wall". They are true delta blues legends that are very talented and yet so humble that they would probably vote for someone else.

The extraordinary talents of the recently deceased Jimmy Rogers will surely win him the award postumously, for the best reissue blues album of the year, "Jimmy Rogers: The Complete Chess Recordings".

I am sure that homage will be paid to Junior Wells, another blues legend that just passed. Junior Wells and Buddy Guy, were the original blues brothers and Junior was a major influence on all who followed in his flamboyant footsteps.

Again, congratulations to all of the Handy Award nominees and thanks for the pleasure that you have given us over the past year. Good luck to all.

Winners will be announced April 30, 1998 during ceremonies at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, Tennessee.

For more information, contact The Blues Foundation at 901-527-2583, or by email bluesinfo@blues.org.

19th ANNUAL W.C. HANDY AWARDS - Nominees 1. Blues Entertainer of the Year: Luther Allison Ruth Brown B. B. King Rod Piazza Bobby Rush

2. Blues Band of the Year: B.B. King Orchestra Joe Louis Walker & The Bosstalkers Luther Allison & the James Solberg Band Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers Roomful of Blues The Holmes Brothers

3. Contemporary Blues-Male Artist of the Year: Luther Allison Charlie Musselwhite Rod Piazza Joe Louis Walker Smokey Wilson

4. Contemporary Blues-Female Artist of the Year: Marcia Ball Deborah Coleman Debbie Davies Sista Monica Koko Taylor Toni Lynn Washington

5. Soul/Blues-Male Artist of the Year: Johnny Adams Mighty Sam McClain Little Milton Bobby Rush Jonnie Taylor

6. Soul/Blues-Female Artist of the Year: Ruth Brown Denise LaSalle Ann Peebles Irma Thomas Lavelle White

7. Traditional Blues-Male Artist of the Year: Carey Bell R. L. Burnside David "Honeyboy" Edwards Corey Harris Snooky Pryor

8. Traditional Blues-Female Artist of the Year: Rory Block Tracy Nelson Ann Rabson Annie Raines Shelia Wilcoxson

9. Acoustic Blues-Artist of the Year: Corey Harris Alvin Youngblood Hart Keb' Mo' Kelly Joe Phelps Philadelphia Jerry Ricks

10. Best New Blues Artist: Chico Banks Chris Beard Super Chikan Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones Johnny "Yard Dog" Jones

11. Blues Instrumentalist-Guitar: Luther Allison Ronnie Earl Anson Funderburgh Big Jack Johnson Duke Robillard Joe Louis Walker

12. Blues Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Carey Bell James Cotton Sam Myers Charlie Musselwhite Rod Piazza

13. Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards: Marcia Ball Pinetop Perkins Charles Brown Honey Piazza Floyd Dixon Johnnie Johnson David Maxwell

14. Blues Instrumentalist-Bass: Sister Sarah Brown Aaron Burton Johnny B. Gayden Calvin "Fuzz" Jones Willie Kent

15. Blues Instrumentalist-Drums: Ray "Killer" Allison Jimi Bott Sam Carr Sam Lay Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

16. Blues Instrumentalist-Other: Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - violin Kaz Kazanof - saxophone Sonny Rhodes - lapsteel guitar Roomful of Blues - horn section Eddie Shaw - saxophone

17. Contemporary Blues Album of the Year: Luther Allison: Reckless-Alligator Long John Hunter: Swinging From The Rafters-Alligator Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers: Tough & TenderTone-Cool Joe Louis Walker: Great Guitars-Verve Smokey Wilson: The Man From Mars-Bullseye

18. Soul/Blues Album of the Year: Johnny Adams: One Foot in the Blues-Rounder Ruth Brown: R + B = Ruth Brown-Bullseye Solomon Burke: The Definition of Soul-Pointblank King Ernest: King of Hearts-Evidence Bobby Rush: Lovin' A Big Fat Woman-Waldoxy Mighty Joe Young: Mighty Man-Blind Pig The Holmes Brothers: Promised Land-Rounder

19. Traditional Blues Album of the Year: Carey Bell: Good Luck Man-Alligator Corey Harris: Fish Ain't Bitin'-Alligator Jellyroll Kings: Off Yonder Wall-Fat Possum Snooky Pryor: Mind Your Own Business-Antone's Ann Rabson: Music Makin' Mama-Alligator

20. Comeback Blues Album of the Year: Jimmy Burns: Leavin' Here Walkin'-Delmark King Ernest: King of Hearts-Evidence Eddie King: Another Cow Is Dead-Roesch Jelly Roll Kings: Off Yonder Wall-Fat Possum Philadelphia Jerry Ricks: Deep In The Well-Rooster Freddie Roulette: Back In Chicago-Hi Horse

21. Acoustic Blues Album of the Year: Ann Rabson: Music Makin' Mama-Alligator Corey Harris: Fish Ain't Bitin'-Alligator John Mooney: Dealin' With The Devil-Ruf Records Kelly Joe Phelps: Roll Away The Stone-Burnside Philadelphia Jerry Ricks: Deep In The Well-Rooster

22. Reissue Blues Album of the Year: R.L. Burnside: Acoustic Stories-MC Records James Harman: Extra Napkins-Cannonball Records Jessie Mae Hemphill: Feelin' Good-High Water Mississippi Fred McDowell: The First Recordings-Rounder Records Jimmy Rogers: The Complete Chess Recordings-MCA / Chess Records 23. Blues Song of the Year:

Song Title - Composer (Artist/Album Title) -"Don't Take My Blues" Eddie Clearwater-Bullseye (Eddie Clearwater / Mean Case Of The Blues) -"Leavin' Here Walkin'" Jimmy Burns-Delmark (Jimmy Burns / Leavin' Here Walkin') -"Low Down Dirty Blues" Joe Louis Walker-Verve (Joe Louis Walker / Great Guitars) -"Living In The House Of The Blues" Luther Allison-Alligator (Jerry Lynn Williams Reckless) -"The Man From Mars" Smokey Wilson-Bullseye (Smokey Wilson / The Man From Mars)

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