It may not receive quite the same attention as an announcement from its rock counterpart, but the Blues Hall of Fame (managed by The Blues Foundation) this week announced its 2010 class of inductees, to be recognized during a May ceremony in Memphis.
Among the individuals being inducted this time around are W.C. Handy, Lonnie Brooks, Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie Raitt, and Amos Milburn, who wrote several of the great blues drinking songs, including “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer,” “Bad, Bad Whiskey,” “Let Me Go Home Whiskey,” and “Thinking and Drinking. ”
Music selected for induction encompasses both singles and albums, and includes such classics as:
- “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)” by Otis Rush
- “Fever” by Little Willie John
- “Key to the Highway’ by Big Bill Broonzy
- “Match Box Blues” by Blind Lemon Jefferson
- “Spoonful” by Howlin’ Wolf
- Strong Persuader by Robert Cray
It’s hard to believe that some of these individuals and records – particularly Handy as the recognized “Father of the Blues” – are only now being inducted to the Hall of Fame. I would have expected Handy to be inducted long ago, if not in the Hall’s inaugural year in 1980, then certainly at some point during the three decades that have since passed.
I guess one could argue that seeing the likes of Handy, “Key to the Highway,” and “Spoonful” just now being introduced to the Hall is a testament to the tremendous talent that has always and continues to drive the industry, along with the competitiveness of the induction process, and I’m certain that’s true to some degree (“Spoonful” may be one such example, since several other Willie Dixon-penned and/or Howlin’ Wolf-performed songs have been inducted previously). But 30 years still seems like an awfully long time for getting around to honoring one of the earliest and most revered names in the history of the blues, especially when there’s a statue of the man in your city’s park.
It’s good to see Mr. Handy and songs like “Key to the Highway” and “Match Box Blues” finally being recognized with this honor, and we offer our congratulations to Handy’s estate as well as each of the others being inducted in 2010!