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Blues Brothers and Friends: Live from Chicago's House of Blues

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No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

imagination. This is the Blues. And it's the real deal this time around. But I'm including a review of this CD because anyone who appreciates good jazz should also like this - I sure do!

Everyone remembers the John Belushi-Dan Aykroyd act from 1978-81. It sold well, spawned a pretty decent movie, and was the party music of choice in college frats across the country. And while Belushi and Aykroyd did possess a reasonable amount of talent and a genuine appreciation of the blues, and they had the budget and connections to assemble a powerhouse dream band, it was primarily faddish entertainment. The real bluesmen were torn between feeling jealous that they would probably never achieve such stardom despite committing their entire lives to their craft, and being grateful to the band for introducing millions of Americans to their music.

Then John Belushi OD'd and the Blues Brothers died along with him - until now. Jim Belushi (a.k.a. "Brother Zee Blues") is standing in, and many members of the original band have been reunited for this all-star concert to open the House of Blues nightclub in Chicago. But I contend that this CD tops anything the original Blues Brothers did almost twenty years ago. The key is that this time, they enlisted some of the greatest blues masters to be featured performing their songs with the band. Guest stars include Billy Boy Arnold, Lonnie Brooks, Charlie Musselwhite, Syl Johnson, Eddie Floyd, Tommy "Pipes" McDonald, and Jeff "Skunk" Baxter, plus Sergei Varonov - yep, a bluesman from Russia.

The band just smokes throughout. I think everybody present rose to the occasion, being spurred on by a party-ready crowd who could appreciate the enormity of what was going on before their eyes and ears. This is one of those live recordings where the spirit and energy of the performance translates well from the club to your living room. If this CD doesn't get you pumped, better get down to the ER to make sure you're still alive!

Record Label: H.O.B.

Style: Contemporary/Smooth


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