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BMI Gets Handy with 96% of Blues Awards

Posted in News on May 29, 2000
BMI songwriters and performers scored a remarkable 96% of the awards given out for the best in blues at the 21st annual W.C. Handy Awards, the preeminent awards in the Blues community, held at the historic Orpheum Theater on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee on May 25th. Some of the most venerable performers in the genre were honored including B. B. King, Etta James and R. L. Burnside, as well as such current stars as Keb' Mo' and Susan Tedeschi.


Wilson Pickett
 
Etta James
 
Albert King

The most rewarded performer of the year was the legendary Wilson Pickett ("In The Midnight Hour" and "Mustang Sally") who took home three awards for Soul/Blues Album of the Year, Comeback Blues Album of the Year and Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year. The recording acknowledged by these honors is his new Rounder release, It's Harder Now.


B.B. King
 

The legendary Little Milton (center), who performed at the Awards presentation with the band Gov't Mule, is seen here with BMI's David Sanjek and Roger Sovine.

The awards show was hosted by Memphis legend Rufus Thomas and classic vocalist Tracey Nelson, featuring outstanding performances by some of the evening's award winners: Wilson Pickett, Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets with Sam Myers and Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, as well as some striking collaborations such as the masterful Little Milton accompanied by the band Gov't Mule and New Orleans pianist Henry Butler backed up folk diva Odetta.

WKNO, the Memphis Public Broadcasting station, filmed the event, so keep your eyes open for it to be shown on your local PBS outlet.

BMI W.C. Handy Awards winners:

Blues Entertainer of the Year
B. B. King

Blues Band of the Year
Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers

Blues Album of the Year
Albert King
In Session

Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year
Etta James

Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year
Wilson Pickett

Soul/Blues Album of the Year
Wilson Pickett
It's Harder Now

Blues Song of the Year
"Change In My Pocket" written by Sam Myers, Anson Funderburgh, Renee Funderburgh and J. P. Whitefield

Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year
Keb' Mo'

Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year
Susan Tedeschi

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year
Albert King
In Session

Blues Instrumentalist
Other (Fiddle): Clarence Gatemouth Brown
Bass: Willie Kent
Drums: Chris Layton
Keyboards: Pinetop Perkins
Harmonica: Charlie Musselwhite
Guitar: Duke Robillard

Best New Blues Artist
Big Bill Morganfield

Comeback Blues Album of the Year
Wilson Pickett
It's Harder Now

Acoustic Blues Album of the Year
Paul Rishell & Annie Raines
Moving To The Country

Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year
Keb' Mo'

Traditional Blues Album of the Year
Muddy Waters
The Lost Tapes of Muddy Waters

Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year
R. L. Burnside

Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year
Koko Taylor

Reissue Blues Album of the Year
Hound Dog Taylor
Deluxe Edition