Saturday, March 14, 2015

The House Of Blues/The Blues Brothers Part 3

House of Blues Chicago
House of Blues Chicago (Flickr user Michael/CC)
Jake and Elwood Blues: We're on a mission from God.

Part 1 Of A Series Of 4
The Blues Brothers:

Jake and Elwood Blues had a good run, with a hit album, a hit movie and a growing iconic status. Then John Belushi died and Jake Blues died with him.  Life goes on. Dan Aykroyd continued his acting career. The Blues Brothers Band would still be called to perform some shows, minus the Blues Brothers themselves, releasing live albums in 1989 and 1992.

Meanwhile, Isaac Tigrett  was a restaurateur who had co-founded the Hard Rock Cafe in 1971. By 1988 he had sold off his interest in the Hard Rock Cafe. He was unhappy with the commercialism that had come to the chains brand and had planned to retire and lead a more spiritual life. His spiritual adviser, however counseled him to stay in business. A viewing of the 1980 Blue Brothers film inspired Tigrett  to go on a "Mission From God". From Reference for Business.Com:
He conceived the House of Blues concept as a way to preserve blues music, as an art form with more than 100 years of continuous development, by providing a forum for live performance of traditional and contemporary blues. He also viewed education about the history and social influence of the blues as a way to cultivate multiculturalism, hence the company's slogan, 'Unity in Diversity.'
Tigrett recruited as investor Dan Aykroyd along with Jim Belushi (brother of John Belushi), Aerosmith, Paul Schaefer, River Phoenix and, surprisingly, Harvard University Endowment Fund combined forces to create The House of Blues. Naturally Aykroyd was an active partner.

The House Of Blues Boston
The House Of Blues Boston (Wikimedia Commons)

In 1992 across the street from Fenway Park they opened House of Blues. It seated 200 for dining or 280 as a concert hall. Again from Reference for Business.Com
The interior design of the restaurant-blues club presented a contemporary variation of the old southern juke joint like the ones Tigrett had enjoyed as a native of Tennessee. Artistic touches included African-American folk art and the plaster relief portraits of 80 renowned blues artists, such as Muddy Waters and B.B. King, embedded in the ceiling panels. A retail store--Take It Easy, Baby--offered recorded blues on audio and video, blues magazines, musical instruments, and a full line of clothing.
The Blues Brothers performed at its grand opening with Jim Belushi taking on the role of Zee Blues, Jake's brother. This clip features Elwood and Zee Blues with special guest Carly Simon getting a little funky.

The concept proved successful and grew to a chain of 13 locations. The blues Brothers Band, often featuring Elwood Blues and one of the other many stand in brothers he has used throughout the years. More on those other brothers later. Before that, here is a promo video from the House of Blues twentieth anniversary year, 2012

The House Of Blues Myrtle Beach
The House Of Blues Myrtle Beach (Wikimedi Commons)
The difference between the blues and gospel is the difference between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The House of Blues acknowledges that and is well known for its Sunday Morning Gospel Brunch that features live Gospel artists performing while brunch is served.

In 1993, The House of Blues created the House Of Blues Music Forward Foundation. Through benefit concerts at the various venues the foundation has raised over 20 million dollars since its founding funding music programs in nearly 5000 schools, funded over 600 youth music recitals and generated donations of over 6000 instruments used to further the growth of youth music education.

Hollywood's House OF Blues on the Sunset Strip (Wikimedia Commons)

Playlist Additions

The House Of Blues record label has released over 100 albums. A few of them made their way into my collection and our playlist.

Album: House of Blues Winter Sampler  Various Artists
  • Cut You Loose Angela Strehli 3:52
  • I Can't Get You Out Of My Mind Bernard Allison 4:04
  • Any Place I'm Going (Beats Any Place I've Been) Otis Rush 4:38
  • Preachin' Blues The Derek Trucks Band 5:00
  • Sunny Monday Larry McCray 6:07
  • Got A Broken Heart Walter Trout 6:10
  • It Takes A Lot To Laugh , It Takes A Train To Cry Phoebe Snow ( featuring Michael McDonald ) 4:01
  • A Stand By Your Woman Man Angela Strehli 3:35
  • Part Time Love Otis Rush 5:52
  • Look-Ka PyPy The Derek Trucks Band 4:11
  • If You Want Me To Stay Bernard Allison 4:51
  • She's Fine Luther Allison 5:44

Album: Essential Blues Piano  Various Artists

Disc 1
  • Chicago Breakdown Big Maceo 2:57
  • Chicken Shack Boogie Amos Milburn 2:50
  • Slow Leake Lafayette Leake 3:02
  • Didn't He Ramble, Closer Walk With Thee Dr. John 6:34
  • Otis Blues  Otis Span 4:21
  • 44 Blues Roosevelt Sykes 2:43
  • San Francisco Blues Floyd Dixon 3:02
  • Twos And Fews Albert Ammons & Meade "Lux" Lewis 4:34
  • Willie Fugal's Blues   Professor Longhair 2:07
  • Going Down Slow Pinetop Perkins 5:52
  • Pop's Dilemma James Booker 3:30
  • Sporting Life Blues Champion Jack Dupree 3:54
  • The Ma Grinder Robert Shaw 4:13
  • Four O'Clock Blues Speckled Red 4:44
  • All Night Long Skip James 2:55
Disc 2
  • Frances Johnnie Johnson 4:12
  • The Rattler Omar Sharif 3:06
  • Got Lonesome Here Eddie Boyd 3:21
  • Atlanta Bounce Piano Red 2:56
  • Introduction To The Blues/That's All Right For You Booker T. Laury 7:03
  • The Fat Man Fats Domino 2:39
  • Late Afternoon Blues Memphis Slim 4:38
  • Your Family Detroit Junior 3:33
  • Arkansas Blues Tuts Washington 3:13
  • Bartender's Bounce Blind John Davis 2:13
  • Going Back To Froggy Bottom Whistling Alex Moore 3:07
  • Johnson Machine Gun Blues Sunnyland Slim 3:03
  • C.Q. Boogie Katie Webster 2:40
  • Chica Boo Lloyd Glenn 2:22
  • Swingin' The Boogie Hadda Brooks 2:51
  • Vicksburg Blues Little Brother Montgomery 3:15

House Of Blues Logo

Signing Off & Coming Attractions

I thought this week would wrap up the story of the Blues Brothers, but there is still more to come, We will be looking at that our next installment. Until then, have you been to a show at one of the Houses of Blues? Which one? Who did you see? Have you been to more than one location? I'd love to hear you represent in the comments.

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