Blues Brothers, Briefcase Full Of Blues (1978)
I was such a huge fan of the Blues Brothers movie growing up. I guess I still am – I wrote about the whole Blues Brothers experience a couple of years ago now. I must get around to re-watching the film sometime soon I guess. But I carry it with me – I know every scene by heart, pretty much. Still, I didn’t know that it had a life – the act that is, the gimmick if you will – before the movie. I thought this was just a bunch of tunes and characters made for a movie that incorporated some great old blues tunes and some soul and blues and R’n’B and jazz legends in the film. I only really began to learn the truth much later – well, I was still young, about 17 or so. But I had been a fan of the film for about 8-10 years by that point. You see, we had, at my school, the opening of a Wharenui – a meeting house. And for the opening it was decided that we would do a bunch of things. Obviously the Maori culture groups presented songs and stories and dance and movement combining myth and magic. But this was not a Maori school so they wanted to reflect all cultures – slices from all lives. That meant the traditional school choir and stage-band and orchestra-type things were involved also. And some theatre elements and speeches and – oh god, yes – I even wrote a poem to mark the occasion and read it aloud. Um, anyway, one of the strangest things to happen – and (for me anyway) by far one of the coolest – was the making of a Blues Brothers tribute band. It was the brainchild of one of the school’s English teachers. By day he was Mr Walton. By night – and many of the people in the school did not even know this – he was “Smokey” Tim Walton, bassist for Hawke’s Bay blues brigade, Dusty Rhodes & The Bluesmobile. The band would be me on drums and Mr Walton – aka Tim (aka Smokey) – on bass. We had two lead singers – obviously. And a horn section. And a guitarist. We had weekend rehearsals to learn the material. We would do some of the showstoppers from the movie – Minnie The Moocher and Sweet Home Chicago. But it was Walton who taught me (and perhaps the other guys in the band – I would imagine so) that actually the Blues Brothers band existed well before the movie. It was a SNL skit featuring the actors that played the fictional brothers – Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi – with some great blues players and session greats. He had the CDs on hand so that we could learn things like Shotgun Blues and Messin’ With The Kid. It was a blast. And made me hunt out all the related material beyond the movie’s great soundtrack album. Good times. Good times I tell ya. Not really sure if a Blues Brothers tribute band, wearing school uniform, playing on the steps of a Wharenui was really the correct way to open such a building. But I did say earlier that this was Hawke’s Bay.
Sample Track: Hey Bartender
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