Somewhere along the line I lost interest in the Grammy Awards. Maybe it was the year that I saw Jethro Tull nominated in the Heavy Metal category. Or maybe it was the year that Michael Jackson's glove dominated ALL the categories. I do always check out the blues nominees to see if the Grammy folks have any common sense about what is what. They never cease to amaze me, but I guess they try. Here's the 2011 lineup:
Best Traditional Blues Album
1. James Cotton - Giant!
2. Cyndi Lauper - Memphis Blues
3. Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
4. Pinetop Perkins & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith - Joined At the Hip
5. Jimmie Vaughan - Play Blues, Ballads, & Favorites
Best Contemporary Blues Album
1. Solomon Burke - Nothing's Impossible
2. Dr. John - Tribal
3. Buddy Guy - Living Proof
4. Bettye LaVette - Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook
5. Kenny Wayne Shepherd with Bryan Lee, Buddy Flett, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Hubert Sumlin - Live In Chicago
Cyndi Lauper! What the hell! Sorry, there were just waaay to many fantastic traditional blues albums released to throw down the girl just wanting to have fun in the category. I applaud her for doing the blues thang, but not for a Grammy. Not for a blues Grammy. I'll pull for my harp buddies, Musselwhite or Cotton to grab this one.
I also don't think that Dr. John nor Bettye LaVette belong on the Contemporary blues list. Again, waaay too many "real" blues licks were put down on those recording devices to choose these two efforts. Both great artists (as is Lauper), but neither album fits the genre. Never was a big fan, but since Solomon Burke passed away recently, he'd get my sympathy vote--and the man could sing the blues.
AND, I guess another reason that I quit paying much attention to the Grammy is that I recognized fewer and fewer names each time out, BUT--what the heck is going on here:
BEST SOLO ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE
1. Eric Clapton-Run Back To Your Side
2. Paul McCartney-Helter Skelter
3. Robert Plant-Silver Rider
4. Neil Young-Angry World
5. John Mayer-Crossroads
HEY, what happened? I know all these geezers (even John Mayer's playing a pre-war blues tune). Must mean that Rock is an ancient genre or something, huh? I dunno. Quite puzzled. THEN there's this:
Jeff Beck's name is all over the place for best instrumental, best rock duo or group, best rock album (along with Neil Young's LeNoise). And then again, there's the Robert Plant album's inclusion in the Best Americana Album slot. Well, I guess if the Brit can sing the blues, then he can sing Americana too--whatever that may be. He's up against Willie, so I don't think he'll win it. They do have The Black Keys thrown into a couple of categories, so I'll pull for those young pups.
AND, if they'd feature at least half of those blues artists, I'd tune into the show. They won't, but you can better Cyndi Lauper will be knockin' out some Rollin' and Tumblin' on prime time. Maybe she'll have Musselwhite in tow again. Let me know how it goes.