A Need To Reclaim Our Soul

   Never did care much for the “Blues Brothers 2000.”  It just didn’t have the snap of the Belushi/Aykroyd original.  Introducing the character of “Buster” didn’t help.  Should have left it to the adults.  Things do finally come together near the end though, with a battle of the bands at the home of a 130 year old voodoo queen deep in Louisiana.  It gets pretty hot as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Lou Rawls, Billy Preston and a host of soul and blues legends take the stage.  The one other part of the film that merits attention is Elwood’s speech, delivered in an effort to keep his R&B band together, as they threaten to split up just prior to their arrival at Queen Moussette’s battle of the bands.

It’s then that Elwood says-

“You may go if you wish.  Remember this: Walk away now and you walk away from your crafts, your skills, your vocations; leaving the next generation with nothing but recycled, digitally-sampled techno-grooves, quasi-synth rhythms, pseudo-songs of violence-laden gansta-rap, acid pop, and simpering, saccharine, soulless slush. Depart now and you forever separate yourselves from the vital American legacies of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmie Reed, Memphis Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Louie Jordan, Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonny-boy Williamson I (and II), Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley, Lieber and Stoller, and Robert K. Weiss.” -Elwood Blues, Blues Brothers 2000

I bring it up now, because Elwood’s soliloquy seems more prophetic than ever.  We seem to suffer from all the ills he warned against.  So many of the old blues artists are dying off and with them go bits and pieces of our uniquely American musical soul.

“My love is like a fire….yours is like a cigarette.  I watched you step down on it baby and crush it.  Tell me how blue, how blue can you get?”   -How Blue Can You Get?  (Leonard & Jane Feather)

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