Jim Belushi & the Sacred Hearts

36-22-36

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It took him several years, but Jim Belushi finally decided to cut his own blues/soul record in 1997. He had toured with his band, the Sacred Hearts, for several years, pounding out uptempo, electric Chicago blues in a style similar to the Blues Brothers. 36-22-36 follows in that tradition, offering 11 tracks of driving blues. Belushi isn't a particularly distinguished vocalist -- he occasionally bellows in an attempt to sound soulful -- but he has energy and good taste, picking such classics to cover as "The Chicken & the Hawk" and "Born in Chicago," as well as such fine contemporary numbers as "If the House is Rockin'." He also has enough sense to bring in such musicians as Huey Lewis, Charlie Musselwhite, Delbert McClinton and McCoy Tyner for cameos, thereby giving the album some musical weight. On the whole, 36-22-36 isn't a distinctive modern electric blues album, but it is an entertaining one, and a lot better than some naysayers might believe.

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