The Reverend has spent much of the last week getting caught up after a weekend trip to Toronto, and while I was out of pocket (literally, as we found we had no cell service north of the border), The Blues Foundation released its list of 2014 Blues Hall of Fame inductees.
Needless to say, this year's group is a good 'un, beginning with a trio of talented sax players that join previous inductee Louis Jordan, who has been the lone saxophonist in the Hall of Fame until now. Jordan will have good company when Chicago blues legend Eddie Shaw, jazz/blues great Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, and Big Jay McNeely join him in the Hall of Fame.
Two other performers will also be inducted this year - Mississippi Hill Country bluesman R.L. Burnside and Louisiana country-bluesman Robert Pete Williams. Three "behind the scenes" inductees will also be honored: Mike Kappus, manager and booking agent with the industry-leading Rosebud Agency; Houston blues promoter and label exec Don Robey (the Duke and Peacock Records labels); and talented Chicago record producer and writer Dick Shurman.
Every year The Blues Foundation also names a number of books, albums, and other blues media to the Hall of Fame. The 2014 selection leads off with writer Peter Guralnick's wonderful Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke book, which will be inducted as this year's literature entry. Guralnick is a talented writer and detail-oriented biographer, and this will be his fourth book inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Two classic blues albums will also be honored this year: Howlin' Wolf's 1959 Chess Records release Moanin' in the Moonlight and J.B. Hutto's Hawk Squat, released by Delmark Records in 1969. A number of single releases will join Wolf and Hutto in the Blues Hall of Fame this year: Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra's "After Hours" (Bluebird, 1940); Robert Petway's "Catfish Blues" (Bluebird, 1941); Charlie Patton's "High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II" (Paramount, 1930); Tampa Red and Georgia Tom's "It's Tight Like That" (Vocalion, 1928); and Kokomo Arnold's "Milk Cow Blues" (Decca, 1934).
The Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The event is being held the night before the 35th annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis. For more information, check the Blues Hall of Fame website.
R.L. Burnside photo by David Raccuglia, courtesy Fat Possum Records