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Some familiar names among this year's nominees...

Blues Bash: 28th Annual Blues Award Nominees Announced

The Blues Foundation has released the nominees for the 28th Blues Music Awards (formerly known as the W.C. Handy Awards). The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Memphis May 10, 2007.

The big story in this year's nominees is Watermelon Slim & The Workers. Slim is nominated for an impressive six awards. Nick Moss and The Flip Tops are nominated for four, and several acts, including Janiva Magness, are nominated for three.

I am thrilled to see the name Otis Rush among the nominees this year. I am also a bit curious about it. His All Your Love I Miss Loving – (Live at the Wise Fools Pub Chicago) is nominated for best historical album. It should be. It is a marvelous set and rates as one of Rush's better live albums. I liked it so much it made my Top 10 Albums of the Year List – for 2005! Well, better late than never. It is a great album and I am hoping to see it win. In fact, I might do my part to see that it does.

Anyone can be a member of The Blues Foundation and all foundation members are eligible to vote. How cool is that? The entry level membership fee is a mere $25. I would have the opportunity to cast an actual ballot for my favorite blues performer. That is tremendous! I just have to scrape up the 25 bones before voting ends in February. It would also give me an excuse to buy some more blues records so I could intelligently cast ballots in all 25 categories. This is sounding better and better all the time. I know what I want for Christmas, mom!

The problem with voting for Otis in that category, which I would – or will – is that it means voting against other tremendous nominees in that same category. I loved the John Lee Hooker box set released in October and really want to hear the Junior Wells entry. I would still vote for Otis out of loyalty and an appreciation for what a great release All Your Love… is. 

One of this year's nominees, Robert Lockwood Jr., died last month. Lockwood is nominated for Traditional Male Blues Artist of the Year. 

If you are planning on getting in on the voting, you can join the Blues Foundation at their website. If you need some voting prep, here are reviews on some of the nominees/nominated albums:

Acoustic Album of the Year
John Long – Lost & Found
Bob Brozman – Blues Reflex
Guy Davis – Skunkmello
Rory Block – The Lady and Mr. Johnson
Cephas & Wiggins – Shoulder to Shoulder

Acoustic Artist of the Year
Cephas & Wiggins
David "Honeyboy" Edwards
Paul Oscher
Rory Block
Guy Davis

Album of the Year
Charlie Musselwhite – Delta Hardware
Watermelon Slim & the Workers – Watermelon Slim & the Workers
Irma Thomas – After the Rain
Janiva Magness – Do I Move You?
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops – Live at Chan's

B.B. King Entertainer of the Year
Bobby Rush
Bettye LaVette
Tab Benoit
Watermelon Slim
Lil' Ed

Band of the Year
Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials
Mannish Boys
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops
Watermelon Slim & the Workers
Magic Slim & the Teardrops

Best New Artist Debut
James Hunter – People Gonna Talk
The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – Put it in the Alley
Eric Lindell – Change in the Weather
Slick Ballinger – Mississippi Soul
Dave Gross – Take the Gamble

Comeback Album of the Year
Andy Fairweather Low – Sweet Soulful Music
Chicago Bob Nelson – Flyin' Too High
Dion – Bronx in Blue
Jeremy Spencer – Precious Little
Jerry Lee Lewis – Last Man Standing

Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
Marcia Ball
EG Kight
Barbara Blue
Janiva Magness
Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Janiva Magness – Do I Move You?
Michael Powers – Prodigal Son
Guitar Shorty – We the People
Fiona Boyes – Lucky 13
John Mooney – Big Ol' Fiya

Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year
Kim Wilson
Tab Benoit
Guitar Shorty
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Michael Powers

Historical Album of the Year
Delmark Records – Live at Theresa's 1975 – Junior Wells
Delta Groove Productions – Larger Than Life – Hollywood Fats Band
Delmark Records – All Your Love I Miss Loving – (Live at the Wise Fools Pub Chicago) – Otis Rush
Shout! Factory – Live at the Electric Ballroom 1974 – Freddie King
Shout! Factory – Hooker – John Lee Hooker

Bob Stroger
Larry Taylor
Mookie Brill
Bill Stuve
Calvin "Fuzz" Jones

Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
Sam Carr
Sam Lay
Jimi Bott
Richard Innes

Duke Robillard
Kid Ramos
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss
Guitar Shorty
Hubert Sumlin

Charlie Musselwhite
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Billy Branch
Big George Brock
James Harman
Mitch Kashmar

Deanna Bogart
Kaz Kazanoff
Calvin Owens
Eddie Shaw
Doug James
Greg Piccolo

Robert Randolph – Steel Guitar
Rich Del Grosso – Mandolin
Otis Taylor – Banjo
Sonny Rhodes – Steel Guitar
Guy Davis – Banjo

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year
Mitch Woods
Marcia Ball
Floyd Dixon
Henry Butler
Dr. John
Honey Piazza

Song of the Year
"Icicles in My Meat Loaf" – Ed Williams, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials – Rattleshake
"Hard Times" – William Homans, Watermelon Slim & the Workers – Watermelon Slim & the Workers
"Church is Out" – Charlie Musselwhite, Charlie Musselwhite – Delta Hardware
"Baptized in Dirty Water" – Chris Thomas King, Chris Thomas King – Rise
"Prodigal Son" – Michael Murchison, Michael Powers – Prodigal Son

Soul Blues Album of the Year
Frankie Lee – Standing at the Crossroads
Irma Thomas – After the Rain
Jackie Payne & Steve Edmonson Band – Master of the Game
Johnny Rawls – Heart & Soul
Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra- I Ain't Gonna Be Your Dog No More
James Hunter – People Gonna Talk
Trudy Lynn – I'm Still Here

Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year
Bettye LaVette
Irma Thomas
Trudy Lynn
Mavis Staples
Sugar Pie DeSanto

Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year
Bobby Rush
Frankie Lee
Mighty Sam McClain
Solomon Burke
Jackie Payne

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
Last Of The Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen – Live in Dallas
Charlie Musselwhite – Delta Hardware
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops – Live at Chan's
Big George Brock – Round Two
Watermelon Slim & the Workers – Watermelon Slim & the Workers

Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year
Zora Young
Diunna Greenleaf
Etta James
Nora Jean Bruso
Ruth Brown

Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year
Charlie Musselwhite
Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Big George Brock
Hubert Sumlin
Watermelon Slim

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