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Grammys, blues radio, and album sales are all covered in this week's Blues Power Rankings...

Blues Power Rankings: Pinetop & Willie, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Buddy Guy & More

It’s a special, expanded edition of our weekly Blues Power Rankings because this week in addition to a look at the top sellers and hottest plays at radio, we also learned which blues records were nominated for Grammy awards.

There are two categories recognized by the Grammys: Best Traditional Blues Album and Best Contemporary Blues Album and five albums are nominated in each.  Here are the 10 blues records nominated for Grammy consideration:

Best Traditional Blues Album

  • James Cotton – Giant
  • Cyndi Lauper – Memphis Blues
  • Charlie Musselwhite – The Well
  • Pinetop Perkins & Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith – Joined At The Hip
  • Jimmie Vaughan – Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites

Best Contemporary Blues Album

  • Solomon Burke – Nothing’s Impossible
  • Dr. John And The Lower 911 – Tribal
  • Buddy Guy – Living Proof
  • Bettye LaVette – Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
  • Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Live! In Chicago

I begin with the obvious and howl in protest at Cyndi Lauper’s nomination.  Yes, she has made a blues record.  Yes she brought in many top blues talents to play on this record, including Jonny Lang and Blues Hall of Famer (and fellow nominee) Charlie Musselwhite.  I haven’t listened to her record and some of you will take exception to me criticizing a nomination when I haven’t heard the record because it might actually be good and deserving.  I’m reminded of a line from Wayne’s World, something about monkeys flying out of my butt.  There’s no way anyone will convince me Lauper’s set is more deserving in the traditional blues category than a dozen other records I could list from the same eligibility period. 

In addition to Lauper, Jimmie Vaughan, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, and Pinetop Perkins & Willie “Big Eyes” Smith are nominated.  I own all four of those records and have reviewed three of them.  Of that quartet, I’m most partial to Musselwhite’s record but I like the other three. 

There are some great records in the contemporary category, as well.  I own three of the five and would very much like to hear Solomon Burke and Dr. John’s records.  Having not yet heard them, I lean strongly in the direction of Bettye LaVette’s wonderful Interpretations record.  Buddy’s album is excellent and I dug Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s live set well enough, especially the guest spots from Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and Hubert Sumlin.

Let’s segue now to the Roots Music Report radio chart where our Top 5 this week is identical to last week.  Our buddy Todd Sharpville makes a nice debut this week at #21.  His new double album Porchlight is a good one and definitely one to watch.  Here’s the full rundown:

  1. Buddy Guy – Living Proof
  2. Eden Brent – Ain’t Got No Troubles
  3. James Cotton – Giant
  4. Robin Rogers – Back In The Fire
  5. Charlie Musselwhite – The Well
  6. Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys – Shake Your Boogie
  7. Kenny Neal – Hooked On Your Love
  8. Whiteboy James & The Blues Express – Last Time Was The Last Time
  9. Davis Coen – Jukebox Classic
  10. Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters – Spread The Love
  11. Eric Clapton – Clapton
  12. Various Artist – Louisiana Swamp Stomp
  13. Albert Castiglia – Keepin On
  14. Shawn Camp – 1994
  15. Jp Blues – I Will Not Go Quietly
  16. Tas Cru – Jus’ Desserts
  17. Lynwood Slim & The Igor Prado Band – Brazilian Kicks
  18. Mitch Kashmar & The Pontiax – 100 Miles To Go
  19. Lucky Peterson – You Can Always Turn Around
  20. Dave Specter – Spectified
  21. Todd Sharpville – Porchlight
  22. Ray Charles – Rare Genius – The Undiscovered Masters
  23. Hosea Hargrove – Tex Golden Nugget
  24. Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings – That’s The Way You Do
  25. Ron Tanski – Dragged You Down

Looking finally at the Billboard Blues chart, we see Buddy Guy continuing his lock on #1 with the only noticeable change from last week being the return of Steve Miller Band to the Top 10.

Billboard Blues Albums | Week of December 11, 2010

  1. Buddy Guy – Living Proof
  2. Etta James – Icon: Etta James
  3. Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band – Live! In Chicago
  4. Joe Bonamassa – Live From The Royal Albert Hall
  5. Cyndi Lauper – Memphis Blues
  6. Joe Bonamassa – Black Rock
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble – Playlist: The Very Best Of Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble
  8. Bettye LaVette – Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
  9. The Steve Miller Band – Bingo!
  10. The Derek Trucks Band – Roadsongs

About Josh Hathaway

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