“Rubber Biscuit” by the Chips (1956)
“Rubber Biscuit” by the Blues Brothers (1978)
The Chips were a doo-wop group in the fifties led by Charles Johnson. “Rubber Biscuits” was the first and most famous song they recorded. It was supposedly contrived while Johnson was at the Warwick School for Delinquent Teenagers, it was more of a minor East Coast break-out radio hit than a national hit. Mostly done in kind of a ‘scat’ style about the only things you can understand in the song sound like Johnson making fun of the food at the ‘School’.
In 1973 the Martin Scorsese film “Mean Streets” resurrected the song for its score. It is likely through that medium that John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd of Saturday Night Live fame came to bring it into consciousness and later resurrect. Starting off as a skit on SNL, Belushi and Ackroyd were soon touring as a ‘real’ band. As Jake and Elwood, they covered a lot of soul songs, my favourite was “Soul Man” where Ackroyd does a brilliant, manic dance to Belushi’s rag-tag vocals. Ackroyd is actually not a bad harmonica player as well. Steve Cropper (guitar) and Donald “Duck” Dunn formerly of Booker T. and the MG’s provided the backbone to a decent band, as well as a number of members of the SNL band.
After a tour they released an album called “Breifcase Full of Blues” in 1978, and followed up with a not-bad movie in 1980. Belushi of course passed away in 1980; ever the hard living performer died in his Hollywood bungalow overtaken by a ‘speedball’ – a lethal combination of cocaine and heroin.