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Blues Greats Compete for Traditional Blues Grammy - 2001-02-17

The 43rd annual Grammy Awards will be presented February 21 in Los Angeles, California. VOA's Doug Levine has a preview of the five nominees for Best Traditional Blues Album.

Some of the biggest names in blues are competing in the traditional blues album category, including 85-year-old Robert Lockwood, Jr. Born in Scratch Turkey, Arkansas, Lockwood once played for tips in Beale Street Park in Memphis, Tennessee. He appeared alongside blues greats Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Freddy King and Howlin' Wolf. His version of Robert Johnson's "Ramblin' On My Mind" comes from his Grammy-nominated album "Delta Crossroads."

He's a little bit country, a little rock, pop, honky-tonk and blues. And he's no stranger to the Grammy Awards. Singer Willie Nelson, founder of America's Farm Aid benefit, picked up a Grammy nomination for his album "Milk Cow Blues." The album includes an all-star cast of blues musicians, including B.B. King, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Susan Tedeschi, Jonny Lang and harmonica player Mickey Raphael. If you like the sound of the harmonica, you'll love the album "Superharps."

"Superharps" features four of today's finest harmonica players: James Cotton, Billy Branch, Charlie Mussellwhite and Sugar Ray Norcia. The harmonica, sometimes referred to as the French harp and Mississippi saxophone, was first introduced in the 1800s. It debuted on blues records in the 1930s, and has been a staple of acoustic and electric blues bands ever since.

From the Grammy nominated album "Superharps," that's Charlie Mussellwhite's "Blues, Why Do You Worry Me?" featuring Musselwhite on vocals and harmonica. Now, how often do artists get to compete against themselves in the same category? Leave it to the one-and-only "King of the Blues," B.B. King, nominated not once, but twice for Best Traditional Blues Album. For more than five decades, King has let the good times roll, playing his beloved electric guitar Lucille, and singing the blues to audiences everywhere.

From his album "Let The Good Times Roll," a tribute to R&B great Louis Jordan, B.B. King with "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." B.B. King shares the spotlight with another music legend Eric Clapton on their album "Riding With The King." The guitar masters take on classic tunes by Issac Hayes, Johnny Mercer, Big Bill Broonzy and John Hiatt, as well as the B.B. King original "Ten Long Years." The winner of the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album will be announced February 21 at the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California.