Six weeks ago Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd) advised a sellout crowd at the Merriweather Post Pavillion to go see the great living blues bands whenever they could. Only a modest crowd took Aykroyd's advice at Desperado's last night.Big Twist & the Mellow Fellows entertained that crowd with all the virtues of the Blues Brothers Band and better vocals than John Belushi -- for all his good intentions -- will ever manage.

Big Twist was born Larry Nolan 43 years ago in Terre Haute, Ind. He sang and played drums for Ike & Tina Turner and Earl Hooker. Eight years ago he joined some young downstate Illinois players and formed his own blues band.The round, affable singer displayed the full belly power of a Joe Turner and the easygoing charm of a B.B. King.

Like the Blues Brothers Band, the seven Mellow Fellows are hightlighted by a sharp horn section. Led by saxophonist Terry Ogolini, the three Fellow hornmen pumped like pistons through their unison parts. They gave each line a sparkling twist at the end to send it home. Drummer Melvin Crisp and bassist Tim Caron added the thump and swing that made the music more rythm and blues than classic blues -- again like the Blues Brothers. The show's highlight was "Here In The City," a brand new Will Dixion song that serves Big Twist as well as Dixon songs once served Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.