This is how we all knew Luther Allison. An energetic, brilliant musician whose take-no-prisoners style of guitar and emotion-drenched vocals made him a blues legend all over the world. His non-stop marathon performances left you completely exhausted, but screaming for more. And about the time you thought he was done, he re-appeared to crank out another full set's worth of earth-shaking encore, generally burning down the walls of any club still standing. You wonder how he did it, where he found the energy. Night in and night out, he gave his audiences everything he had.
For these reasons, and many more, he will be sorely missed.
For the third year in a row, Luther Allison was chosen Blues Entertainer of the Year by the Blues Foundation, presenters of the annual W.C. Handy Awards. In addition, Luther swept five other categories in which he was nominated. This surpasses his incredible 1996 sweep when he surprised everyone, including himself, by winning five Handys. Luther's 1998 Handy awards are:
Even in his absence, Luther continues to make an indelible impact on the blues world. Luther's 1998 Handy Awards were accepted on his behalf by Rocky Brown, producer Jim Gaines, Blue Sky Management's Miki Mulvehill, and Luther's sons Bernard and Luther, Jr.
Luther was also named recipient of the 1998 Blues Hall of Fame Award by the Washington Blues Society at its March "B.B. Awards" banquet in Seattle. Further, Luther's "Reckless" CD won a B.B. for Best National Recording. The awards were accepted on Luther's behalf by Jef Jaisun, and presented to Rocky Brown and the Jim Solberg Band in Memphis. The WBS also forwarded a check to Rocky for $400, a contribution to the Luther Allison Fund. Click here for photos of Luther's WBS awards.
A thorough review of Luther's 1997 memorial service and the following jam at Buddy Guy's Legends can be found on Luther's personal web site. Click on the photo above or the LutherAllison.com address below for a direct connection.
Rocky Brown's September, 1997 Letter of Love to Everyone
Luther's August 7, 1997 message to everyone via Rocky Brown
The Luther Allison Endowment Fund
Alligator Records Home Page
Blue Sky News Release of July 17, 1997
Photos of Luther by Jef Jaisun
Jef's 2001 Birthday Card to Luther
True Blues (New York) July 1996 cover story on Luther
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