Inductees: Continued

“Shake Your Moneymaker” by Elmore James was recorded in New Orleans in 1961, and marked an exuberant, up-tempo departure from the slide guitar master’s deep blue’s recordings. First issued as a 45 on Bobby Robinson’s Fire label, the single reveals a more hard-driving musical approach than that of its predecessor, “Roll Your Moneymaker,” by Shakey Jake. “Shake Your Moneymaker” has remained popular with rock bands — Black Crowes, George Thorogood, Fleetwood Mac and Rod Stewart have all recorded it.

“I Got a Woman” by Ray Charles perfectly illustrates the way Charles transformed the sacred into the secular. He heard the Southern Tones’ gospel tune “It Must Be Jesus” (a 1954 Duke Records release) on a car radio, and when he went into the studio in Atlanta on November 18, 1954, he kept the music but changed the words, exemplifying a common assertion that the thin musical line between gospel and blues often lies only in the lyrics. “I Got a Woman” became his first No. 1 R&B hit and remains one of the iconic works in the annals of rhythm & blues.

“Everyday I Have the Blues” rates as one of the most ubiquitous blues tunes. Its late entry into the Blues Hall of Fame reflects the fact that no strong consensus emerged on which of the hundreds of recorded versions most deserved. B.B. King is most associated with the tune, and so the first of his own many versions gets the honor. Issued as a single on the RPM label, it was recorded on March 2, 1954, and hit Billboard’s R&B charts in January 1955.

“The St. Louis Blues” is one of the most recorded songs of all time, in any genre. Few versions of the W.C. Handy tune, however, can compare with Bessie Smith’s. Part of the magic of this 1925 Columbia single is its spare arrangement. “The Empress of the Blues” was accompanied by only Louis Armstrong on cornet, and Fred Longshaw on pump organ (a rare instrument on recordings during that era). The only surviving film footage of Bessie Smith is a 1929 short film St. Louis Blues, which features her singing the song again; this time backed by a larger group.

Classic of Blues Recording: Album

Elmore James: The Sky is Crying is the other James recording being honored with a Blues Hall of Fame induction this year. James, who died in 1963, did not live to see the release of this 1965 compilation, which was the first U.S. album to collect sides he recorded for Bobby Robinson from 1959-1961. Seven of the 12 tracks on this classic collection were first issued as singles on Robinson’s Fire label.

The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renowned, as THE organization whose mission is to preserve blues heritage, celebrate blues recording and performance, expand worldwide awareness of the blues, and ensure the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, the Blues Foundation has 4,000 individual members with 181 affiliated blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events — the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge, and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards — make it the international center of blues music

 

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