Handy Awards Crown Wilson Pickett New King Of The Blues

Soulful singer takes home prestigious citations; other top honors go to B.B. King, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

B.B. King and the late Albert King, together with the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, may have taken the top prizes at Thursday's W.C. Handy Blues Awards but Wilson Pickett reigned triumphant.

The singer of such soul classics as "In the Midnight Hour" and "Mustang Sally," Pickett took home three awards at the Memphis, Tenn., ceremony. He was named Soul/Blues Male Artist of the Year, and his album It's Harder Now received two trophies, for Soul/Blues Album of the Year and Comeback Blues Album of the Year.

B.B. King received the top award, Blues Entertainer of the Year. Albert King (1923–92) and Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954–90) picked up two awards, Blues Album of the Year and Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, for their posthumous release, In Session: Albert King With Stevie Ray Vaughan. The album, featuring incendiary performances by the electric guitarists from different generations, was originally recorded for Canadian television in 1983.

"Change in My Pocket" (RealAudio excerpt), as recorded by Anson Funderburgh featuring Sam Myers, was voted Blues Song of the Year.

The Winners of the 2000 W.C. Handy Blues Awards:

Blues Entertainer of the Year

B.B. King

Blues Band of the Year

Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers

Blues Album of the Year

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan, In Session

Soul/Blues — Female Artist of the Year

Etta James

Soul/Blues — Male Artist of the Year

Wilson Pickett

Blues Song of the Year

"Change in My Pocket," Sam Myers, Anson Funderburgh, Renee Funderburgh, J.P. Whitefield

Contemporary Blues — Male Artist of the Year

Keb' Mo'

Contemporary Blues — Female Artist of the Year

Susan Tedeschi

Soul/Blues Album of the Year

Wilson Pickett, It's Harder Now

Contemporary Blues Album of the Year

Albert King/Stevie Ray Vaughan, In Session

Blues Instrumentalist — Other

Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown

Blues Instrumentalist — Drums

Chris Layton

Blues Instrumentalist — Bass

Willie Kent

Blues Instrumentalist — Keyboards

Pinetop Perkins

Blues Instrumentalist — Harmonica

Charlie Musselwhite

Blues Instrumentalist — Guitar

Duke Robillard

Best New Blues Artist

Big Bill Morganfield

Comeback Blues Album of the Year

Wilson Pickett, It's Harder Now

Accoustic Blues Album of the Year

Paul Rishell and Annie Raines, Moving to the Country

Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year

Keb' Mo'

Traditional Blues Album of the Year

Muddy Waters, The Lost Tapes of Muddy Waters

Traditional Blues — Male Artist of the Year

R.L. Burnside

Traditional Blues — Female Artist of the Year

Koko Taylor

Reissue Blues Album of the Year

Hound Dog Taylor, Deluxe Edition; producer Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records)