While filming Animal House, John Belushi accidentally discovered his love of blues music at a hotel bar. A local blues musician, Curtis Salgado was playing a gig and Belushi was captivated by the harmonica solos, those passionate lyrics, and after the show John and Curtis was talk music for hours. Belushi joined him on stage for “Hey Bartender” and Salgado loaned him classic albums by the greats including Junior Wells, Floyd Dixon, and Big Joe Turner. Jump forward and Belushi and Dan Aykroyd created the Blues Brothers as a Saturday night Live skit that became one of the most successful blues bands of all-time and the basis for two big budget Hollywood movies.
The Blues Brothers debuted on SNL with “Hey Bartender ” in 1978 with Belushi as “Joliet” Jake Blues and and Aykroyd as his brother, Elwood. Later that year, they released their debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues, on Atlantic Records where it became the #1 album in America. One of the most successful blues albums of all-time, the debut it was loaded with classic Soul and blues covers by the greats. The Blues Brothers band was comprised of legends from the Atlantic and Stax labels including guitarist Steve Cropper and Duck Dunn both from Booker T. & The MG’s, Willie Hall from Isaac Hayes’ band, and the horn section from the Saturday Night Live Band.
I CAN’T TURN YOU LOOSE An Otis Redding groove let Elwood rap and introduce the band’s goal of bringing the blues back to the forefront.
HEY BARTENDER Their SNL debut song was a Floyd Dixon original.
MESSIN’ WITH THE KID A Junior Wells cover that features a great guitar and harmonica solo.
ALMOST “I’ve got everything I Need (Almost)” was by the obscure Downchild Blues Band and is buoyed by a killer keyboard solo.
RUBBER BISCUIT Elwood’s theme song
SHOT GUN BLUES The most underrated song on the album was the second cover of the Canadian group, the Downchild Blues Band.
GROOVE ME A huge R&B hit from King Floyd
I DON’T KNOW Willie Mabon cover, a singer/pianist from the early 50s’s
SOUL MAN The album’s big single was originally a Top 10 hit for Sam & Dave
B MOVIE BOX CAR BLUES The song that served as the band’s members’ introduction was a cover of Lubbock, Texas bluesman Delbert McClinton
FLIP, FLOP, & FLY A Big Joe Turner song that along with “Shake, Rattle , And Roll” helped earn him the nickname Boss Of The Blues.
I CAN’T TURN YOU LOOSE (Reprise)