Bobby Rush, Lonnie Brooks To Receive 2014 Lifetime Achievement Awards

BBMA2014_11x17posterPress Release – 2014 Blues Blast Lifetime Achievement Awards Announced

From Blues Blast Magazine –

Contact Information: Bob Kieser, Publisher, Blues Blast Magazine – (309) 267-4425 or

Hey Blues Fans,

Each year a group of industry professionals select the nominees for the annual Blues Blast Music Awards. Then fans all over the world vote for their favorites in each of the twelve nomination categories. The results of this years voting by nearly 12,000 Blues fans will be announced at the Blues Blast Music Award Ceremonies on October 23rd.

As the publisher, I do not have input into that awards nomination process. However, each year it is my pleasure and honor to be able to select the recipients of Blues Blast Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Awards. These awards are given to outstanding individuals who have a lifetime of exceptional accomplishments in Blues music.

This year I am proud to have the honor of recognizing two amazing individuals as this years recipients, Mr. Bobby Rush and Mr. Lonnie Brooks. Information on the accomplishments of these distinguished musicians follows below.

Bobby Rush and Lonnie Brooks will both be attending the Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremonies on October 23rd, at The Fluid Event Center, 601 N Country Fair Dr in Champaign, IL to receive these awards.

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of these outstanding individuals when they receive these awards. Information on the 2014 Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremonies and tickets to see these great individuals honored and performances by more than 20 of this years awards nominees, are available at Information on the accomplishments of these honorees follows below.

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music!

Bob Kieser


Bobby RushBlues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award – Bobby Rush

If there is one word that epitomizes Bobby Rush, it would be “entertainer”. As a boy, he visualized himself preaching to a congregation or playing music in front of an audience dressed as royally like the figure on his fathers can of Prince Albert tobacco. Later in his career, Bobby Rush relentlessly toured the South, playing night after night in small clubs and juke joints, eventually earning the well-deserved title “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit”.

Once he “crossed over” to gain the attention of white blues fans, Bobby Rush has headlined blues festivals all over the globe. Among his thirty-seven nominations for Blues Music Awards, he has received thirteen nominations for the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. This year he is nominated for 3 Blues Blast Music Awards, Song of the Year category for “Another Murder in New Orleans,” recorded with the Blinddog Smokin’ Band, Soul Blues Album of the Year for the album Decisions and for Male Blues Artist of the Year. Another recording, Down in Louisiana, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album, his second Grammy nomination.

Even though he crossed over, Bobby Rush is proud of the fact that he never “crossed out,” as he continues to play the smaller clubs for African-American audiences, sustaining his career for several decades. He triumphantly refers to himself as a black blues singer, able to expertly mix humor, down-home funk and sly, sexy innuendo into a thrilling live show featuring his cadre of female shake dancers.

Born in Homer, Louisiana in 1937, Emmitt Ellis Jr. was the son of a preacher. He had to attend church every Sunday, getting his first exposure to music. Although he never joined the church choir, he learned a few things about playing guitar and harmonica. Once the family moved to Chicago in the early 1950s, Bobby Rush started hanging out with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker. Blues legends Luther Allison and Freddie King played guitar in his band in those early days.

When he started performing, he changed his name to Bobby Rush out of respect for his father. He recorded a few singles and had a session with Chess Records but it wasn’t until 1971 that Bobby Rush scored his first hit with “Chicken Heads” on the Galaxy label. That record kept Bobby Rush in demand on the club circuit. Philadelphia International released the first Bobby Rush album, Rush Hour, in 1979 with the hitmakers Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff producing. His next monster hit, “Sue” on La Jam Records, kept Bobby Rush in demand all across the South.

He continued to issue a steady stream of records that offered his unique perspective on man-woman relationships. Titles like What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander (La Jam), I Ain’t Studdin’ You (Urgent), Lovin’ a Big Fat Woman & Hoochie Man (Waldoxy Records) made a Bobby Rush a trailblazer for the current southern soul-blues scene. Over the course of his career, he has more than two hundred and fifty records to his credit.

In the last decade, Bobby Rush has eight titles on his own label, Deep Rush Records, releases that feature him mostly with stripped-down accompaniment, highlighting his skills as a singer and songwriter as well as his harmonica and guitar playing. These records show the scope of Bobby Rush’s artistry, standing in sharp contrast to his high energy, bawdy and salacious live performances that continue to delight audiences around the world. He received another honor when he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

Bob Kieser and the staff of Blues Blast Magazine celebrate a lifetime of dedication to Blues music in presenting a 2014 Blues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award to Mr. Bobby Rush.


lonniebrooks2-672x372Blues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award – Lonnie Brooks

Not many people get to re-invent themselves over the course of a lifetime. Lee Baker Jr. has done it twice. In doing so, he forged a memorable career that spans six decades filled with hit records, spirited live performances, and the fatherly love that nurtured two sons in establishing their own musical careers.

Born in Dubuisson, Louisiana in 1933, Baker spent long stretches with his grandparents growing up. His grandfather would rise early each morning to play his banjo, much to the delight of his grandson. Baker learned some basic chords that kept him interested in playing until his early twenties, when he bought his first guitar.

After a move to Port Arthur, Texas, Baker worked in an oil field and played guitar in his free time. One day the King of Zydeco music, the legendary Clifton Chenier, was driving past the Baker home as Lee was playing guitar on the porch. Chenier quickly convinced the young guitarist to join his Red Hot Louisiana Band. When Chenier decided to move to California, Baker stayed behind and started his own band. Unable to find a vocalist, Baker was forced to learn to sing.

Calling himself Guitar Junior, Baker caught the ear of Eddie Shuler, head of Goldband Records. Junior’s first release for Shuler, the original “Family Rules,” became a regional hit. Several more records made hit the charts – “Roll, Roll, Roll” and “The Crawl”, later covered by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Then Baker met Sam Cooke as the singer toured the south and quickly accepted Cooke’s invite to go to Chicago.

Once he settled into the big city, Baker started hitting the clubs, looking for opportunities. He was part of the band on a Jimmy Reed session that produced the monster hit, “Big Boss Man”. In 1969, Capitol Records released an album under the Guitar Junior name, Broke and Hungry, that failed to generate much interest. Since Luther Johnson had already established himself as “Guitar Junior” in Chicago, Baker reinvented himself one more time to the name known around the world, Lonnie Brooks.

A spirited, dynamic live performer, Brooks offered a unique blend of Chicago blues spiced with hints of zydeco, country, swamp pop plus rock & roll. He had releases on Evidence and Delmark Records in the 70’s decade before Alligator Records included four tracks by Brooks on Volume 2 of its Living Chicago Blues series. Brooks continued to record for Alligator, releasing seven critically acclaimed recordings that helped establish Brooks as one of the premier blues musicians in the world.

As a father, Brooks never tried to push any of his nine children into music. He preferred to provide gentle encouragement if any of siblings expressed an interest in playing an instrument. The testament to value of his approach can be witnessed any time one of his sons, Ronnie and Wayne Baker Brooks, hits the stage and dazzles the crowd with his electrifying guitar talent. The three world-class guitarists formed the Brooks Family Reunion band that has thrilled blues festival audiences for over a decade.

In 2010, Lonnie was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

For his many lasting contributions to the legacy of blues music, Publisher Bob Kieser and the staff of Blues Blast Magazine are proud to present Mr. Lonnie Brooks with the 2014 Blues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award!

Congratulations to these two individuals on a lifetime of accomplishments in Blues music!

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