Saturday, February 28, 2004

Hmmm, the Grateful Dead are being inducted to the West Coast Blues hall of fame- Here's an excerpt from an article in the Alameda Times this morning:

"Unlike other more-rigid blues award shows, this Bay Area affair takes a very broad approach in recognizing those who have helped perpetuate the art form. Nowhere is that more evident than with the inclusion of rockers Elvis Presley and the Grateful Dead in this year's batch of inductees to the Hall of Fame.
The selection of the Grateful Dead, in particular, has drawn some criticism from blues
purists. But Stewart is passionate that the blues community recognize the Dead.
"The Grateful Dead have done more to keep the blues alive than probably B.B. King," Stewart says in what will surely be taken as a controversial statement. "I think it's important that the public, especially the black community, know how important that the Dead is to blues."
Certainly, the Dead helped introduce a whole new generation to the blues. They would include an old song such as "Turn on Your Love Light" in their sets, which would in turn send their fanatic following scurrying off to learn the origin of that tune. In their search, they would eventually discover the Bobby "Blue" Bland version and -- presto! -- new blues lovers were born.
The Dead also picked many African-American artists to open their shows and, thus, introduced them to a much wider audience. Furthermore, the band has contributed with its wallet, donating thousands of dollars to organizations such as the Bay Area Blues Society.
"We are not trying to make the Dead a blues band," Stewart says. "We are just honoring them for helping to perpetuate the art form."