An Album A Day #21: Blues Brothers BRIEFCASE FULL OF BLUES [1978]

Let's get one thing out of the way today on Earth Day: HERC is a fan of John Belushi's work; always has been always will be.  Let's get another thing out of the way right here, right now: some people (HERC among them) consider today (April 22) to be the anniversary of the very first appearance of the Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live back in 1978.  While we're at it, let's get one last thing out of the way: it is pure serendipity that Briefcase Of Blues is today's album.

This album showed up in HERC's life via HERC SR.'s Columbia House Music Club membership.  One day it literally showed up in the mail.  HERC had been watching Saturday Night Live for little more than a year at that point and had seen the Blues Brothers perform twice on the show - his best guess is that the album arrived on his porch sometime after the first of the year in 1979.

"Soul Man", the album's first single, was getting quite a bit of airplay on the radio stations HERC listened to back then (WLS and WLRW) but he remembers HERC SR. also playing the original version of the song by Sam & Dave.  HERC was just a little disillusioned when he came to find out that Briefcase Full Of Blues was a collection of covers.  One of his friends at the time had a tape that had five or six of the songs the Blues Brothers performed only by the original artists - the guy's dad actually forbid him from owning the Blues Brothers album!

The album was recorded live in September 1978 when Steve Martin asked them to be the opening act for his stand-up concert.  Martin was the biggest comedian in the world and by that time had hosted Saturday Night Live about half a dozen times.  With an authentic blues and soul all-star backing band, Jake and Elwood paid loving homage to their favorite blues and soul recordings.  They adopted their stage moves and a few tunes from Downchild, a Canadian blues band Dan Aykroyd (aka Elwood) was a fan and friend of while they adopted their hats and soul patches from John Lee Hooker.

Sadly, the Blues Brothers would never appear on the show again.  Their next appearance would be on the big screen in their own movie, with even more blues and soul greats!  Within three years, the group would lose Joliet Jake (Belushi) as a member and HERC as a fan, although he would dress up as Joliet Jake for at least three more Halloweens!!!

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