To continue to celebrate their JUNO-Award win for their Something I’ve Done and their latest Live At The Toronto Jazz Festival albums, The Legendary Downchild Blues Band have announced The Longest 50th Anniversary Tour Ever, bringing their music to theatres and festivals in Canada and the U.S. – including a stop at Mission’s Clarke Foundation Theatre on Oct. 20.
It’s hard to believe it’s been half a century since bandleader, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh and his brother, the late Richard “Hock” Walsh, formed The Legendary Downchild Blues Band in Toronto in 1969.
Named after a Sonny Boy Williamson II song, Downchild’s story begins when Donnie Walsh was a mere teenager and got his first taste of Blues at a sweet 16 birthday party for his girlfriend.
“I was absolutely amazed by the music and, like most people who heard blues, started looking for more,” said Donnie, who soon discovered artists like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Read, John Lee Hooker and B.B. King.
Inspired by those classic sounds, Downchild launched a career that has included 18 albums, countless awards and sold-out shows around the globe.
The band’s 1971 debut Bootleg, one of the first independent albums in Canada, was recorded in a makeshift studio in parking garage at Rochdale College. Soon after, they scored their first smash hit with a jumping version of Big Joe Turner’s classic “Flip Flop & Fly.” Downchild came to international prominence as the inspiration for Hollywood stars Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi’s hit film The Blues Brothers. In fact, two Downchild songs, “Shotgun Blues” and “(I Got Everything I Need) Almost” were even covered on The Blues Brothers’ 1978 multi-platinum album Briefcase Full of Blues.
The Longest 50th Anniversary Tour is dedicated to the band’s long-time keyboard player, Michael Fonfara (Lou Reed), who pass away earlier this year.