West Bank legends to be inducted into Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame


Four cornerstones of the local music scene will get their due on Sunday, Oct. 19, when Willie Murphy, “Spider” John Koerner, Tony “Little Sun” Glover and the late Dave “Snaker” Ray will be among those inducted into the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame at an event at the Minneapolis Eagles Club, 2507 E. 25th St.

Awards are given in five categories, including blues performer for Murphy, whom the Greater Twin Cities Blues Music Society (GTCBMS, which sponsors the hall of fame) rightly called “impossible to classify” as just a blues performer. “Whether he is conveying the pain of losing a lover with his voice, transporting listeners to the tropics with exotic rhythms on the keyboard, or mesmerizing his audience with a searing crescendo on his Parker guitar, Willie Murphy always delivers a soulful, honest performance,” stated the GTCBMS in its announcement of the awards.

Correction 10/18: This article originally misstated the name and Web site of the Twin Cities Blues Music Society as the Twin Cities Blues Society.

Koerner, Ray and Glover will receive the recording award for their 1963 album Blues, Rags and Hollers. The translucent red vinyl — of which only 300 copies were pressed in 1963 — “arrived at precisely the moment in the history of American music when ‘folk’ musicians began to turn their attention to the heritage of black music in this country, stated the GTCBMS. Blues, Rags and Hollers not only established the beginning of the West Bank “Whomp Bom” blues sound in Minneapolis, but it also helped pave the way for the ’60s blues revival in Minnesota and the nation.”

In addition, Ray will receive a posthumous award in the blues song category for It’s All Right, recorded for that album.

Other inductees are Scott Miller in the category of blues literature for his book Rock Keyboard, and Tom Asp for nonperformer supportive of the blues for his photography. Asp has been shooting blues musicians in Minnesota for over 20 years, and his work has been published and exhibited both locally and nationally.

Doors open at 5 p.m., with the induction ceremony beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by music from Willie Murphy and “special guests,” which must certainly raise expectations for local blues fans.

Visit gtcbms.org for more about the hall of fame event and the GTCBMS.