"Yeah, I know, i know...Brother Jake has long gone to that great greasy roadhouse in the sky. Granted, the Blues Brothers, especially today, are more a product than a real band. True, even when they WERE an actual working unit, all the roots-purist detractors claimed their brand of blues was about as authentic as a near-beer. But damn it all, these cool cats introduced me to the likes of Sam and Dave, Junior Wells, Solomon Burke, and countless other RNB masters when I was just a naive teen hopelessly hooked on KISS and Meat Loaf. Maybe John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd were no Ray Charles or Little Walter in the vocal and harp departments respectively, but they had heart 'n soul to spare and were shrewd enough to surround themselves with living legends of the musical world. The Stax studio dream team of former MG's Steve "The Colonel" Cropper and Duck Dunn, plus Matt "Guitar" Murphy, were legitmate old pros on beloved standards like RIOT IN CELL BLOCK #9, WHO'S MAKIN' LOVE, SWEET HOME CHICAGO, GOIN' BACK TO MIAMI and HEY BARTENDER. Most important of all, hearing these renditions made me want to check out the originals, which of course, have never been bested. So, Jake and Elwood, for introducing me to my first musical love, the blues, a heartfelt thank-you. You will forever remain Brothers in my soul. RATING: FIVE FEDORAS
Blues? Kinda... Fun? Absolutely.
RCF | Boston, MA | 01/02/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Face the facts: the Blues Brothers started out as a Saturday Night Live sketch. The frontmen were the guy who was the samurai and the guy who played Julia Child. Belushi and Aykroyd knew how to make music fun on and off Saturday Night Live. This best of collection is a wild and highly enjoyable testament to how good the original cast members were, even if it is only two of them.
1. Opening: I Can't Turn You Loose: The Blues Brothers' signature opener is a great way to get this live show started. Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) gives us a comical intro as well. What's not to like? 8 out of 10. 2. Hey Bartender: Joliet Jake Blues (John Belushi) delivers on this fun and lively tune. Elwood supplies the wild harmonica to equal effect. 8.5 out of 10. 3. Messin' With The Kid: In the same mood as the previous song, Jake has fun with this funky beat and offers up comedy by asking everyone if they want to mess with the kid. Simply awesome! 8 out of 10. 4. Almost: A very brassy song with Jake's vocals complementing the over the top horn sounds. Another fun song that follows the same idea of previous songs. 8 out of 10. 5. Rubber Biscuit: Elwood! Elwood! ONLY Elwood could have pulled off this wild, comical, and overall excellent tune. Makes you wonder if wish sandwiches and riccochet biscuits exist, it's that good. 9.5 out of 10. 6. I Don't Know: One of the Blues Brothers signature tunes from SNL, this version is much more loose, with Jake tearing up his voice with every "Bayyyy- BAY!" Elwood shines again on the harmonica. 9 out of 10. 7. Soul Man: One signature tune after another. This one is not only their most popular, actually reaching the top ten in singles, but it's also the one that provides the most fun. You can only picture Jake and Elwood going crazy onstage. 10 out of 10. 8. Who's Making Love: Groovy, funky, and marvelously performed. It was their most prominent song from their less remembered second effort. A gem that was overlooked. 9 out of 10. 9. Do You Love Me/Mother Popcorn: I love the original, but this is one of the few tunes on here that I can't usually get into. The beat sounds very stiff at best and introduces the funky chicken. I can listen to it, but not with the same enthusiasm. 7 out of 10. 10. Guilty: A true surprise from Jake. He knew how to perform a slow, soulful tune like master bluesmen. A very simple sound with the piano and vocals. It may be the only actual slow song here, but that might ne a good thing! 8.5 out of 10. 11. Riot In Cell Block #9: Elwood is back, but not to the same wild enthusiasm as Rubber Biscuit. A very bluesy song that grows on you after a few listens. 7.5 out of 10. 12. From The Bottom: Another rather forced sounding song, from the vocals to the muffled harmonica. Again it's enjoyable, but not at the same caliber of the beginning tracks from their first album. A good song. 7 out of 10. 13. Going Back To Miami: A very fast paced tune that closed the second album. This has great enthusiasm from both the backing music and Jake's vocal. 8 out of 10. 14. Everybody Needs Somebody To Love: No pun intended, but I love this tune. From the movie soundtrack, this upbeat number combines the best of Jake, Elwood, and the horn section. One of my favorite Blues Brothers songs. 10 out of 10. 15. Expressway To Your Heart: Added to a previous greatest hits collection, this track shows it. The brothers try to sound enthusiastic on this song, but it never seems to connect. Kind of a downer after such a great song. 7 out of 10. 16. Sweet Home Chicago: The Blues Brothers epic. The real star of this song is the brass, but everyone give it their all here. Running past seven minutes, this track never gives way. A consistent classic. 9 out of 10. 17. Closing: I Can't Turn You Loose: The closing of the live section. Concise and to the point. That's about it. 8 out of 10. 18. Shake Your Tailfeather: Ray Charles performs this awesome track on their movie with the brothers backing him on this. A seemingly wonderful "bonus track." 8.5 out of 10. 19. Think: Aretha Franklin performs without the Blues Brothers on a best of the Blues Brothers album. Why not? It worked in the movie and it's a wild and crazy track (Aykroyd pun... I'm on a roll!). 8.5 out of 10. 20. Gimme Some Lovin': Studio Blues Brothers. An enjoyable track and a good way to end the compilation. The instruments are the ones that shine on this track. 8 out of 10.
Overall: 9.5 out of 10. Separately, they're good. Together, it is such a fun party album. Get it if you like some fun tunes that rarely offend!"
Do you see the light???
A. Harcharik | Chicago, IL | 12/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Jake and Elwood (which, by the way, we named our dogs) may not have been the most talented vocalists, these 2 guys had more heart and devotion to rhythm and blues than a lot of people in the music business back in the late 70's and early 80's. Dan and John introduced a lot of people to music that had not only been around for several years, but was (and still is) vitally important to American music. In addition to that, they helped revive the careers of a number of people, such as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin and James Brown. While anyone that appreciates truly great music realizes the careers of such great American musical icons shouldn't have required revitalization, Dan and John helped to bring true R&B back into the limelight. In doing so, they also helped bring attention to many R&B greats that had already passed on, but were (and still are) so important to not only R&B, but music as a whole. If you're looking for some truly great music, and are tired of the mundane, lackluster tones that permeate the airwaves these days, do yourself a favor and buy this album (yes, I realize I'm dating myself here) or CD, and introduce yourself to some real music; music that comes not only from the heart and soul, but from somewhere even deeper. Considering where we are now, what Jake and Elwood did for American music in their time will likely never be imitated or reproduced in our lifetime. Thank you Dan and John!"
We welcome you Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues...
Josh P. | 05/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...the Blues Brothers! Well, here they are showing you what they can do best and what they love most: keeping alive forever the legacy of blues and soul music. John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd took their Saturday Night Live skit and turned it into an actual band backed up with some of the most revered horn and rhythm section members ever from guitarist Steve Cropper and bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn of Booker T. & the MG's (no wonder it sounded so good), Matt "Guitar" Murphy, who often gave Chuck Berry a hand, and a knockout brass section with Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin on trumpet, sax player Lou Marini, and trombonist Tom "Bones" Malone. The disc is like one unforgettable concert spawning tracks from their two albums and the movie soundtrack. Songs like their opening "I Can't Turn You Loose", "Rubber Biscuit" with Elwood on lead vocal (hilarious), "Soul Man" "Who's Makin' Love", "Everybody Needs Someone To Love", "Sweet Home Chicago", "Expressway to Your Heart" among others. You'll really enjoy how the band performs the songs and how together the sound is. These guys had it! Also in the mix you'll find the two songs from the film backed up by the band: "Shake Your Tailfeather" with Ray Charles, and "Think" with Aretha Franklin. If there was one great blues revival band, the Blues Brothers were it."
High Energy and Great Fun
James W. Durney | Tampa Bay area | 10/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Blues Brothers were a sideline for two very talented men. Their sideline produced some very good blues and some great fun for everyone. Much of this is "live" and you can tell how much fun the performers and the audience is having. 20 tracks, Ray Charles, Aretha, Soul Man and a Rubber Biscuit on one CD.