Filmed at the end of the Seventies when the new Oldsmobiles (for 1980) were “in early this year,” the Blues Brothers revitalized the careers of Ray Charles, James Brown and Aretha Franklin and raised the bar for big budget comedies. With Booker T. & The M.G.’s Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper in an all-star band, there was a base of R&B and blues cred. that lifted this funny film into a music space at once rooted and fancifully imagined. John Landis directed this opus (now extended by many minutes of additional footage) at the height of his powers, and John Belushi stole the show while only showing his eyes for a few seconds. But the music numbers captured the rapture. Thanks to all involved as they kept the music alive for another generation.
The Blues Brothers is a Saturday Night Live sketch, a Looney Tunes cartoon, a demolition derby and an R&B musical revue all rolled into one, and it works you over by force.
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Dion Dimucci’s Blues With Friends teams him with fellow Rock Hall inductees Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Gibbons.
“My first epiphany with the blues was when I was 12 and heard Hank Williams sing ‘Honky Tonk Blues’,” Dion recalled.
“My second was after I’d recorded (1961’s) ‘Runaround Sue.’ I was at Columbia Records, sitting on a piano stool in a producer’s office, singing with Aretha Franklin. John Hammond’s office was across the hall and he called me in. He said: ‘Dion, you have a flair for the blues.’
“He played me Robert Johnson’s (1927 recording of) ‘Preachin’ Blues’ and then some records by Mississippi Fred McDowell, Leroy Carr and Lightnin’ Hopkins. I just went crazy! I got very excited and resentful at same time. I was like: ‘Who’s been hiding all this from me? How come I never heard this before?’ Then I started collecting records by Big Joe Williams and all those guys who were coming out of that blues tradition, which is a living tradition that is passed along. It’s been a part of me since back then. People who hear my new record may think that I’ve changed, but I really haven’t.”
for more from The San Diego Union Tribune on Blues With Friends click here
Music has the ability to lift the spirits during these trying times. And the blues will get you through. For instance, try French vocalist Cyrille Aimée’s jazzy take of the Michael Jackson pop standard “Off the Wall.” The King of Pop ruled R&B and pop in the early 1980’s. And R&B always had B, and so did jazz. Many think jazz and blues were born together in New Orleans n the late 19th Century. And every once in a while a track grabs you with its minimalism, blue note management and knowing delivery and you stop to think about the blues involved. Enjoy Cyrille’s version and let her blues take your mind off your blues.
Pink Floyd, a psychedelic rock band with over 250 million albums sold has had a foot in the blues since day one. Founder Syd Barrett named the band after two Piedmont blues players, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council – settling the question “which one’s Pink.” The music brought blues riffs galore to the masses courtesy of the guitar stylings of David Gilmour.
Even casual fans may notice the fiery blues licks incorporated in many of the band’s anthems such as “Wish You Were Here,” “Money,” “Have a Cigar” and “Young Lust.” As Gilmour himself put it:
“I love blues, and every piece of music that I have listened to has become an influence. But you’re right, there’s a distinct blues influence within what I do, but at the same time I am not frightened to step out of that. I don’t even think whether I play the blues or not, I just play whatever feels right at the moment. I also will use any gadget or device that I find that helps me achieve the sort of sound on the guitar that I want to get.”
For more on this topic: https://www.guitarplayer.com/players/david-gilmour-plays-the-blues-video
King of the Chitlin’ Circuit, Bobby Rush, turns 86 today! His incredible energy and vitality are an inspiration to us all. Winner of his first Grammy in 2017 for Porcupine Meat, he’s miraculously back with another strong release Sitting on Top of the Blues in 2019.
Happy 86, Bobby! To catch his vertical leaps, check him out in BCI #15
On the Delta Blues Trail…crumbs from the Biscuit
Benny Turner, bassist and younger brother of Freddie King talks and plays blues in BCI #16. Benny’s musical journey began in Texas, learning from his mother and uncles alongside Freddie. Playing poker and shunning rehearsals the band roared into the 1970’s with a blues rock sound sharing bills with Canned Heat, T-Bone Walker, Grand Funk and CCR, whose “Lodi” Freddie re-cut as “Lowdown in Lodi.” They embraced country music and loved Hank Williams, but Charles Brown was their idol.
The Rolling Stones began as a Chicago blues ensemble in 1962. As mid-2019 approaches they are set to embark on another U.S. tour. Marksville, LA’s Little Walter featured prominently in Blue and Lonesome the band’s 2016 Grammy winning blues set. The Chicago Tribune offers this run down.