Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Soul Men: A Tribute Thirty Years After

Thirty years ago tonight, this great act appeared live on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Growing out of the "Bee Band" comedic performances on SNL, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi appeared as their alter egos "Elwood Blues" and "Joliet Jake Blues" respectively. Together they were known as -- what else? -- "The Blues Brothers."

In this performance of Sam and Dave's "Soul Man," they are joined by one of the finest rhythm and blues lineups in recent years: Steve "the Colonel" Cropper, rhythm guitar; Donald "Duck" Dunn, bass guitar; Murphy "Murph" Dunne, keyboards; Willie "Too Big" Hall, drums; Tom "Bones" Malone, trombone; "Blue Lou" Marini, saxophone; Matt "Guitar" Murphy, lead guitar; and Alan "Mr. Fabulous" Rubin, trumpet. (There is one other person in the horn section whom I cannot identify.) These gents also appear with Aykroyd and Belushi in the 1980 film also named "The Blues Brothers." The plot was pretty lame, but the car chase scenes were mildly amusing, and some of the greatest R&B/soul artists of all time made cameo appearances. Not to mention Cab Calloway.

This second clip is my personal favorite cameo, featuring the late James Brown, and (unfortunately) interspersed with other scenes from the movie.

One interesting thing about lead guitarist Matt Murphy, is that he used his bare thumb as a flatpick for lead work, which is quite rare. Only two other guitarists played lead that way to my knowledge; the late jazzman Wes Montgomery, and a guy who backed Ricky Nelson on television whose name escapes me.

I could use a little help here. Where are my music trivia buffs?


paul said...

Doesn't claw-hammer picking involve the thumb? I know that Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits used claw-hammer picking back in the Sultan of Swing days.

David L Alexander said...

Nah, I do clawhammer style banjo, and it's nothing like that. Basically it involves using the thumb for the regular up-and-down motion of the flatpick.

robert verdi said...

that is classic

Anonymous said...

Late to the party from a fellow Cincinnatian...

James Burton, who later became Elvis' guitar player