B.B. King wins top blues award for fifth straight year

— B.B. King won Entertainer of the Year for the fifth consecutive year at the 24th annual W.C. Handy Blues Awards.

The awards show, held Thursday at the Orpheum Theatre, honored newcomers and legends alike. Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late Johnny Copeland, won three awards, including Blues Album of the Year for her Dr. John-produced, "Talking To Strangers."

It marks the second time that Copeland has won the category -- she did the same in 2001 for her sophomore effort, "Wicked."

Copeland also won awards for Contemporary Female Artist and Contemporary Blues Album for "Talking to Strangers."

Memphis-born Koko Taylor took home her 23rd trophy, winning Traditional Female Artist and retaining her title as all-time Handy champ. The award succeeds the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Award she received in New York earlier this year.

In the night's most diverse category, sacred steel virtuoso Robert Randolph beat out Yugoslavian blues diva Ana Popovic, hill-boogie one-man-band Richard Johnston, country-blues artist Precious Bryant and former Jimmy Rogers guitarist Nick Moss to win Best New Artist Debut for his album, "Live at the Wetlands."

Magic Slim & the Teardrops were named Blues Band of the Year, while Charlie Musselwhite won Contemporary Male Artist. Musselwhite also won for Blues Instrumentalist-Harmonica.

The Memphis-based Blues Foundation is a nonprofit umbrella organization for more than 100 blues societies internationally.

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