News in Review: Grateful Dead, Blues Music Awards, Gerry Rafferty, Charlie Louvin
First Appeared in The Music Box, February 2011, Volume 18, #2
Written by John Metzger
Tue February 22, 2011, 06:30 AM CST
Grateful Dead Plans Massive Boxed Set
The Grateful Deadís tour of Europe in 1972 has long been held in high regard by the members of the band as well as its staff and fans. The outfit used a 16-track tape recorder to capture every show it performed during its extended, two-month sojourn on the other side of the Atlantic. These audio documents have surfaced regularly over the years, serving not only as the basis for the Grateful Deadís seminal concert set Europe í72, but also as the impetus for many of its archival releases, including Hundred Year Hall, Steppiní Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72, and Rockiní the Rhein. As good as these efforts were, however, they barely made a dent in the material that the collective accumulated. With this in mind, the long rumored boxed set that the Grateful Dead is planning to issue this fall certainly will put everything into perspective. The massive, limited-edition collection, which is expected to include more than 60 discs, will feature the bulk of the music that the band delivered during its 22-show trek across Europe in April and May of 1972. The $400 price tag might be tough for some of the groupís followers to stomach, but in the Grateful Deadís rich history, there never was another string of concerts quite like this.
Nominations Announced for 2011 Blues Music Awards
For 32 years, the Memphis-based Blues Foundation has played a leading role in recognizing the yearís best blues musicians and recordings. Nominees for the 2011 ceremony, which will be held on May 5 at the Cook Convention Center in Memphis, were announced in mid-December. Buddy Guyís Living Proof and Charlie Musselwhiteís The Well are among the efforts that will vie for Album of the Year. The Steve Miller Bandís Bingo, Walter Troutís Common Ground, and Derek Trucksí Roadsongs are among the endeavors that will compete in the category of Rock Blues Album of the Year. Joe Louis Walker, Janiva Magness, Kenny Neal, Super Chikan, and Buddy Guy will square off for Entertainer of the Year, while The Mannish Boys, The Holmes Brothers, The Derek Trucks Band, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, Magic Slim & the Teardrops, Nick Moss & the Flip Tops, and The Kilborn Alley Blues Band will battle in the crowded Band of the Year category.
Baker Street Singer Gerry Rafferty Dead at 63
Singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty passed away on January 4 at the age of 63. Rafferty first gained prominent attention as the lead singer for the folk-rock band Stealers Wheel. The outfit scored a Top 10 single in the U.S. in 1973 with Stuck in the Middle with You. When Stealers Wheel disbanded two years later, Rafferty embarked upon a solo career that produced several more hits, including Baker Street and Right Down the Line. Shunning the commercialized aspects of the music industry, Rafferty refused to tour to support his work. Eventually, he slipped into relative obscurity. Sadly, the final two decades of his career were marred by alcoholism. Last November, Rafferty was admitted to a hospital near his home in England after his liver and kidneys began to fail. His treatment prolonged, but could not save, his life.
Country Legend Charlie Louvin Dead at 83
Last summer, Charlie Louvin announced that he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He underwent surgery, but it was only partially successful. Louvin inevitably succumbed to the disease on January 26 at the age of 83. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Louvin began his career by performing with his brother Ira as the Louvin Brothers. Initially, the duo applied their closely knit harmonies to gospel songs, though they eventually broadened their repertoire to include secular material. The siblings parted ways in 1963, and Ira Louvin died in a car accident two years later. Nevertheless, their output continued to influence an array of artists that included The Byrds, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Uncle Tupelo. Initially, Charlie Louvin enjoyed some success on his own, but by the mid-1970s, he was struggling to attract attention to his work. In the wake of his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, he began mounting a comeback that included the release of the star-studded, Grammy-nominated set Liviní Loviní, Losiní: Songs of the Louvin Brothers. In 2007, Louvin and an array of guests revisited many of his classic songs on a sterling self-titled endeavor. His final studio effort The Battles Rage On was issued last November.
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