The 31st annual Blues Music Awards (aka the blues Oscars) were announced on Thursday and Tommy Castro was the big winner, he took home four very well-deserved trophies - and had pride of place on last night's STAR BLUES. His move to Alligator has paid off with less emphasis on guitar and more on his singing that has deepened and added tone. The title track to Hard Believer was offset with his version of Bob Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody" with a bold new arrangement. Tommy is playing two dates in the UK this week and three next. One of my favourite players - Duke Robillard - was named best Traditional male and you cannot take one note from his playing nor can you add one. The man has taste and we took a track from his "Stomp" album to prove it. Counterpart female Debbie Davies effortlessly reworked Okie Dokie Stomp from "Holdin' Court" and swung us up to the witching hour. In the soul blues category, Ruthie Foster got the nod and it gave us the perfect excuse to include her version of the O V Wright hit from 1971, "Nickel and a Nail".
Our piano feature went outside the awards to Texas for Little Willie Littlefield's "Boogie" that had rugs rolled back in Cambridge, Ely and South Carolina. Charles Brown's rare recordings for Johnny Vincent's Ace label brought forth the full-length "Black Night" and Junior Parker was on Duke when he covered Roosevelt Sykes' "Driving Wheel".
David Maxwell's intimate 2007 session with Louisiana Red garnered the album award and Mike Zito showed how far he's come in a short time with the Song of the Year "Pearl River", co-written with Cyrille Neville about the river running across Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Joe Louis Walker picked up an award for his sophomore effort on Stony Plain and the mighty Super Chickan got the traditional album prize - long overdue in my humble.
Speaking of humble, we strongly suggested a new Prime Minister should stop faffing about and give Jeff Beck that knighthood and to induct the late Thurston Harris into the coalition for his words of wisdom in the lyrics on the 1958 smash "Do What You Did". I've persuaded one of my stateside blues dj colleagues (hi Clair) to lead a "I'm A Blues-DJ and I Know How to Party" party, her deputy leader is Bootsy Collins who knows more about Parliament than is good for him. We had fun last night and it would make my day if you said you'd do it again next Sunday at ten in a white tee-shirt. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.