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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » August 29, 2012
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The Blues Brothers in Poland
August 29, 2012   
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The Blues Brothers, the cult film from 1980, owed a lot of its appeal to the unforgettable performances by actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, but they were just part of the recipe. The genuine blues feel of the film was down to the work of the musicians who took part in the project. They defied the common notion of a bluesman as a down-on-his-luck type who has been abandoned by his woman and friends. The Blues Brothers reinvented the genre, making the world at large realize that the blues could actually be about fun.

The story began in 1977 as a sketch on American television show Saturday Night Live, which became a huge success. Belushi and Aykroyd, who went by the stage names of Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues, decided to try performing live, but first they needed to find the right musicians for their comedy-act-turned-band.

The actors teamed up with Steve “The Colonel” Cropper of the Booker T & The M.G.’s band. Named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone magazine, Cropper is part of the Blues Brothers to this day. The band was then joined by Donald “Duck” Dunn, also from Booker T & The M.G.’s. Dunn, who died in May this year, had worked with Sam & Dave, Neil Young, Otis Reading, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Page. Pianist Paul Shaffer, a.k.a. The Shiv, was the music manager on the Saturday Night Live show when he met the other Blues Brothers. His music collaborations include some of the greatest blues acts such as Grand Funk Railroad, Blues Traveler, Chicago and Steely Dan as well as Robert Plant, Cher and George Clinton, a co-founder of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective. Trombonist and trumpeter Tom “Bones” Malone had become a music legend still before the Blues Brothers were formed, playing with the likes of Frank Zappa, Blood, Sweat & Tears, James Brown, Miles Davis and Steve Winwood.

A band made up of such talent had success written all over it. The immense popularity of their first album, Briefcase Full of Blues, drew the attention of Hollywood producers, leading to the release of The Blues Brothers film in 1980.

The Blues Brothers spent two years performing songs from the movie live. The shows were instant sellouts, but then the happy times came to an abrupt end when Belushi died of drug overdose in 1982. Aykroyd then dedicated himself almost entirely to his film career while the other Blues Brothers musicians spent six years taking part in many different music projects.

In 1988, the musicians decided to reform as the Original Blues Brothers Band. Ten years later, they returned to the silver screen in Blues Brothers 2000, which starred American comedy actor John Goodman as the lead singer, named Mighty Mack Blues.

The Original Blues Brothers Band will give two gigs in Poland.

Sept. 1, 7 p.m. - Kalisz, Kalisz Arena
Sept. 3, 7 p.m. - Warsaw, Palladium Club, 9 Złota St.
Tickets at www.eventim.pl, www.kupbilet.pl
and www.tangerinemusic.pl. For further information go to www.tangerinemusic.pl.
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