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Various Artists - 2010 Blues Music Awards DVD

Blues Music Foundation

20 Artists Performing; 2 hours 05 minutes; No Subtitles

Rating: Suggested

Styles: Modern Electric Blues; Traditional Blues; Acoustic Blues

In terms of artists and artistry, there is no argument; here is the cream of the crop. It was the 31st Blues Music Awards from the Cook Convention Center in Memphis TN last May 2010. A production of the Blues Foundation, the show was Hosted by Bill Wax and radio host Big Lou. Wax is program director and host of B.B. King's Bluesville channel on SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and Big Lou is a SiriusXM radio host. The DVD includes award presentations and a treasure of glitzy performances (this ain’t no greasy juke joint event).
The DVD is available only through The Blues Foundation's website, and all their efforts went into the video-taping of the show itself. The multiple cameras used in filming help create an engaging experience, and only occasionally do the house lights hit the lens at the wrong angle to cause a foggy picture. Surround sound audio would have been nice, but the stereo is well mixed. The package is devoid of any critical liner notes, and the list of performing artists is incomplete and out of order. The only musician credits anywhere are in the DVD itself. All of the night’s winners are in the DVD, seen either live or in pre-recorded footage, except for Irma Thomas, Buckwheat Zydeco, Cedric Burnside, and Deanna Bogart.

The DVD is divided into two programs: “Broadcast Performances” (the award-winners) and performances by “Nominees.” Among the best performances by the award winners are Eden Brent on boogie woogie piano and B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Tommy Castro and band. Others include Cyril Neville, Joe Louis Walker, Debbie Davies, Duke Robillard, Jason Ricci, Super Chikan, Johnny Rawls, MonkeyJunk, and Louisiana Red with Bob Corritore.

The most significant segment features the man seen in the painting on the cover of the DVD and that night’s program, Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Buddy Guy. Presented by Bonnie Raitt, it was a richly deserved honor for an artist who has continued to both entertain and kill audiences for over 50 years. The section begin with a list of the many contradictory descriptions of Guy's work through the years, like, “too young – too old; ... too Rock – too Blues.” Guy’s omnipresent smile beamed with pride and love, but his humility caused him to defer his own honored greatness to folks from whom he learned, naming Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son House, Johnny Shines, and the great Muddy Waters.

Buddy then launched his guitar, his voice, and band into a particularly incendiary performance of "Damn Right I Got The Blues." His band included multiple Blues Music Award-winning bassist Bob Stroger with Billy Flynn on second guitar, Johnny Iguana on keys, and Kenny Smith on drums.

The second program on the DVD includes performances by singer Candye Kane, acoustic bluesman Guy Davis, pianist Dave Maxwell, Saffire The Uppity Blues Women, and the Delmark Records Revue, with Eddie Campbell and Shirley Johnson. A highlight is Rick Estrin & the Nightcats burning on "Take It Slow."

Blues fans, from the comfort of your own home, you can enjoy an acme variety from the contemporary Blues scene. Unlike a Blues festival, everyone is in their finest sartorial splendor, and giving the full effort to musically impress. An any price, this DVD is a bargain.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL

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