Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Booker T. Join the Blues Hall of Fame
By CHRIS WILLMAN
CREDIT: ROGER BAMBER/ANL/REX/SHUTTERSTOC
Damn right, they’ve got the Blues Hall of Fame inductions they deserve. Aretha Franklin, Count Basie and Booker T. & the MGs are the household names being brought into the hall as part of the 40th class this year, in a ceremony that will take place in Memphis May 8 at the Halloran Centre for the Performing Arts and Education.
The blues and rhythm & blues are interconnected enough that installing the late Queen of Soul might seem like a no-brainer to many fans. But for anyone who doubts that Franklin counts as a true exemplar of the genre, the Blues Foundation helpfully points out that the very first record she ever released after signing with Columbia was a song called “Today I Sing the Blues,” and her fifth album was “Unforgettable: A Tribute to Dinah Washington.” In 1980 she released a compilation of her more blues-oriented early material, “Aretha Sings the Blues.”
The Blues Foundation names recordings as well as artists to its Hall of Fame, and the singles being inducted this year include Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone,” Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman” and Elmore James “Shake Your Moneymaker,” along with Elmore James’ 1965 compilation “The Sky Is Crying.” Ida Cox and guitarist Pee Way Crayton are the other two performers joining the Hall of Fame, which will also honor the late Folkways Records executive Moses “Moe” Asch.