I Dare You You Won't

Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

November 29th, 2021

by Kristy Bennett

It is a standard occurrence when a musician is done working, and the crowd has enjoyed a night of entertainment, they may receive some form of appreciation from attendees. A tip, applause, or if they are really good, they could get a standing ovation or be asked to do an encore. Some fans might holler “good job” or take a moment to give a handshake while the band breaks down their equipment for the night. Though the musician may appreciate the recognition, unless the kudos come from a fellow musician, its likely not coming from someone who really knows how much effort it takes to set up, play a set (or two or three) of music, tear down, and then maybe drive 100+ miles to get home.

Speaking specifically of the talent in the Blues music scene. Blues is the music that is the backbone of all genres of music, yet who’s audience has limited knowledge of the actual importance and influence toward the music of today. The basic perception of Blues is “feeling blue”. People who say it’s sad simply don’t know the music but they know the cliches.

Point is – there is very little knowledge and appreciation of the music as well as the musicians that continue to work on changing the perception that Blues is nothing but an old sad song.

But for 20+ years, Central Iowa Blues Society, based out of Des Moines, has managed the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame (IBHOF), a program to recognize Blues musicians that are dedicated to educating the public, changing the profile, and preserving the art form in the State of Iowa. They didn’t just sit back and watch as one the most inspiring art forms take a pretentious step into the history books as “sad music”.  Central Iowa Blues Society stepped-up-to-the-plate and made sure that those who have made a difference in the chronicle of the Blues in Iowa are recognized and shown appreciation.

October 17, 2021, after a year of delay due to Covid, Central Iowa Blues Society recognized and awarded four musicians, adding to the list of 74 already inducted into the IBHOF. The Class of 2020 Induction Ceremony took place at the River Center Eventorium, 330 SW 3rd Street in Des Moines. The event began with dinner provided by Flying Mango, dessert by Steve Vasquez, and a performance by Kevin Burt & the Corridor, featuring past inductees of the Iowa Blues Hall of Famers.

The Class of 2020 Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Inductees:

Butch Edmonds

Butch Edmonds was the first 2020 Inductees to receive his IBHOF award. While he may not have been present with a full band behind him, he certainly gave an emotional display of his life in music. Butch performed “My Day is Coming” to his original recording while a video shows clips of his life in music. The video includes photos of his younger self and his stint on the Gong Show from 1977.

Butch now lives in West Des Moines, IA, but “in the day”, Butch played all over the famed Center Street (Des Moines) and clubs across Iowa. He also played in the Soul Brothers and recorded with fellow Iowa Blues Hall-of-Famers George and Gill Davis.

In the 1960s he formed a group called the Extensions and performed in various places and even with the Ohio Players, Smokey Robinson, and the Miracles in Cleveland, Ohio. In the late 1960s, Butch moved to California and Las Vegas to perform. Buck Ram hired Butch to be the frontman for the opening act for the Platters called the Soul Patrol. They performed with the Platters at the legendary Flamingo in Las Vegas.

In the 1970s, his band, The New Establishment, opened for James Brown at the RKO Theatre in Des Moines. After recording “Foolish Fools” with Grant Records, the band went to Georgia and joined the Bobby Marchan Show performing in Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Florida. In 1977, he went to California to perform on the Gong Show singing a song he wrote “Get Up, Get Down”.

Radoslav Lorkovic

When it was Radoslav Lorkovic’s turn to receive his well-deserved recognition, his smile made it apparent that we were not going to hear a “same-old-same-old” Blues set. The classically trained Folk and Blues musician showed us his amazing talent and versatile Blues force of nature.

Radoslav was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1958, and moved to Minnesota at age six. Three years later, his family moved to Iowa where Radoslav spent many years. His tenure on the R&B and folk circuits has culminated in nine critically acclaimed solo recordings and numerous appearances on the recordings of and performances with artists including Odetta, Jimmy LaFave, Greg Brown, Dave Moore, Andy White, Bo Ramsey, and many more.

He tours the world regularly appearing at prestigious events such as the Woody Guthrie Festival, Womad, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa Folk Festivals, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Mountain Stage, and eTown as well as a litany of Italian castles and villas. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Carson Daily Show, and two solo appearances on A Prairie Home Companion.

An international ambassador of the ‘Iowa Sound’ and 45 plus year career has given Radoslav many great performance opportunities that range from backing up Bo Didley to working with numerous Yup’ ik Eskimo villages throughout SW Alaska.

Hal Reed

Hal Reed (now known as Hal-of-Famer) brought his Mis’sippi band to the stage with him. After receiving his IBHOF award, he performed several Blues songs featuring his Delta Blues heritage. He then called up the 4 members of the Terry Quiett Band that performed a TQB song, “Weak-Minded Man”, displaying Hal’s vast talent on harmonica.

Hal Reed held a residency in the Quad Cities/Iowa for over 30 years but has recently moved back home to Mississippi. Hal is known for his outstanding leadership in raising awareness about the Blues. He has participated in Blues Education programs through the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and the River Music Experience, making a substantial impact on preserving the history of the music.

Hal is a two-time winner of the Iowa Blues Challenge – 2004 he was a winner in the band category and 2019 in the solo/duo category. In 2018, he was inducted into the Quad City Blues Hall of Fame.

Scott Eggleston

Scott Eggleston was the fourth recipient in the 2020 Iowa Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Following the acceptance of his award, he and his band changed up the scene by playing a series of Blues Boogie-Woogie songs.

Scott Eggleston, either as a solo act or with his band, the Soul Searchers, plays over 100 shows per year. During his career, Scott has performed with the following artists: Anson Funderburgh, Pinetop Perkins, James Harman, R.J. Mischo, Doug Deming & Jewel Tones, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Rod Piazza, Rick Holmstrom, Johnny Dyer, Duke Robillard, Patrick Recob, Jimmie Vaughan, and the Bel Airs.

In 1994, The Soul Searchers won the Iowa Blues Challenge. They have appeared at Davenport’s Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, have performed several Jazz in July concerts, and have been featured on Iowa Public Radio and Iowa Public Television. In 2017, The Memphis-­based Blues Foundation named The Soul Searchers self­-titled CD one of “Top Ten Self­-Produced Blues Albums”. To date, the CD has been sold in 13 countries.

The band has also released two other albums including Boogie Woogie Nighthawk and Lounging at the ‘Wood. Scott has also been featured in two books written by students at Drake University in Des Moines as a part of a blues class. The books are titled: Life in the Key of E Minor: Conversations with the Blues and Life After Blues-On-Grand: Finding the Blues in Des Moines. Scott lives in Des Moines.

After the Award Presentation

After the award presentation and individual performances by the new inductees, the night continued with a jam session that included attending IBHOF members and friends.

However, the recognition does not stop with the IBHOF Ceremony. Central Iowa Blues Society has established a permanent Iowa Blues Hall of Fame exhibit that now resides at Hawkeye Elks Lodge 160 and Rose Temple 33 at 1401 Walker Street in Des Moines. (The Lodge is open to the public and they welcome your visit!) In 2016, CIBS commissioned a portable companion exhibit which has since been displayed at several blues festivals and other events across the state, greatly expanding the exposure of the IBHOF to the public. The exhibit is just one more way that CIBS has recognized the musicians that have made significant contributions in performing, supporting, and promoting blues music in Iowa.

Nominations of potential inductees to the IBHOF are accepted at any time from the general public. New inductees are selected by the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame standing committee of the Central Iowa Blues Society. Detailed information on submitting a nomination can be found online at www.cibs.org.

Thank you to Kit Lancaster / Seize the Day Photography for the photos!

Posted in Nov 2021

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