1998 Blues Beat Magazine Muddy Awards

Richard Schneider BluesBeatM@aol.com
Sat Dec 26 14:09:22 EST 1998

The 1998
Blues Beat Magazine
"Muddy" Awards

By Rich Schneider

Here they are once again, The 1998 Muddy Awards, presented by Blues Beat
Magazine.  You know of course, that the awards are named in honor of the
greatest bluesman of all time, Muddy Waters.  These selections are not
intended to be a "best" listing, but rather an opportunity to honor some
artists who have distinguished themselves in 1998.  I might explain that there
was no balloting or committees involved in the selection process.  Each of the
awards was decided by the editor (That's me!).  Once again, we will dispense
with the awards ceremony sparing our victors the ratty food and boring thank
you speeches.  Each of the winners will receive their prized certificate, as
well as our sincere congratulations at an appropriate moment.
A drum roll, Boom Boom, if you please!

National Artist of the Year:
After too many years of being underappreciated, Eddy Clearwater has begun to
get his due.  A fine album and countless stunning performances by this master
showman clearly made 1998, the year of the "Chief".  The Blues moment of the
year has to be Eddy, mounted on his horse, waving to his fans at the Pocono's.

Local Artist of the Year:
There must have been at least one night, among his multitudinous gigs, that
guitar wizard Willie Haddath just went through the motions, but I wouldn't bet
on it.  Whether with the Reinhardts or John Henry, he plays each show with
unfailing energy and enthusiasm.  No wonder he's the most popular bluesman in
the area.

Performance of the Year:
Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith spun a magical set at the Chicago
Blues Festival.  Just the two of them, with no horn sections or hysterics.
Sometimes less is more.

Local Performance of the Year:
We were fortunate to catch several outstanding local shows during this year.
Michael Hill at the Buffalo Festival, Rock Bottom at the Blues Room, and Long
John Hunter at the Tap Room were all exceptional.  But the one that still
stays with me was Mike Morgan and the Crawl at Debbies last July.

Most Promising New Talent:
We're very optimistic that big things are in store for Michael Burks, who was
the revelation of the Springing the Blues Festival.

Most Promising Local New Talent:
J.J. Moscato can do more than tickle the ivories.  He's got great pipes and a
maturity that belies his youth.

Album of the Year:
There were many fine recordings released in 1998, as well as some marvelous
reissues, but the one album that I will treasure is David "Honeyboy" Edwards'
The World Don't Owe Me Nothin' on Earwig.  The songs and stories presented on
this historic CD will serve for many generations as a legacy of this seminal

Local Band of the Year:
What a year for Project R&B Review!  They swept through the local qualifier
and went on to Memphis, where they reached the finals of the Blues Foundation
International Talent Competition.  Let's hope that they continue to develop
their unique talents.

Rookie of the Year:
Few bands in memory have hit the ground running like the Cruizin' Deuces.  A
combination of slick instrumentals, powerful vocals buoyed by an imaginative
playlist get their audiences on the dance floor.

Special Award:  Class Act of the Year
Matt Nickson is more than simply one of pioneers of the Buffalo Blues scene,
he continues to be an inspiration.  Every young guitar player should spend
some serious time listening to Matt's understated genius.

Blues Fan of the Year:
I'm always amazed at how few area musicians I see at concerts with one
exception.  If you saw Doug Thornton at a show or Festival, it was probably a
good one, and I saw him at many.

Volunteers of the Year:
I wouldn't want to imagine where the Blues Society would be without the
efforts of Grace and Don Testa.  Thanks to them, our accounts and membership
rosters are in good order.

Blues Bartender of the Year:
To Teddy Tokarski at Debbie's, who makes sure that I have a cold Blue with my
blues and keeps me up to date on all lastest gossip as well.

Best of 1998

Mike Morgan and the Crawl
The Road  Black Top

Big Jack Johnson
All The Way Back  M.C. Records

Michael Hill
New York State of Blues  Alligator

Big Bad Smitty
Cold Blood  Hightone

Joe Beard
For Real  Audioquest

Radio Kings
Money Road  Bullseye

Eddie Kirkland
Lonely Street  Telarc Blues

David "Honeyboy" Edwards
The World Don't Owe Me Nothin'  Earwig

Robert Lockwood Jr.
I Got To Find Me A Woman  Verve

Jimmy Thackery
Switching Gears  Blind Pig

Michael Burks
>From The Inside Out

Lucky Peterson
Move  Verve

Curley Bridges
Keys To the Blues  Electro-Fi

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