Led by guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Donnie "Mr. Downchild" Walsh, the Downchild Blues Band is the premier blues band in Canada. Their saxophone-driven jump blues provided a major inspiration for Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi's Blues Brothers, who included Walsh's tunes, "Everything I Need (Almost)" and "Shotgun Blues," on their 1978 debut album, Briefcase Full of Blues. Formed in 1969 by Walsh and his brother, Richard "Hock" Walsh, the Downchild Blues Band endured continuous personnel turnover. More than 18 musicians came and went, including Gene Taylor, who went on to play with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Kenny Neal, who joined after leaving the employ of Buddy Guy and relocating to Toronto. Conflict between the Walsh brothers resulted in Hock Walsh being fired from the band shortly before work began on their third album in 1974. Although he returned to work with the band in 1977 and 1985, his hard living caught up with him on February 1999 when he succumbed to an apparent heart attack. Since the early '90s, Downchild Blues Band has benefited from a more-fixed lineup. Vocalist/songwriter Chuck Jackson, who joined in 1990, received a Maple Blues award as "best male vocalist of 1999" and a "Blues with a Feeling" award, from the Toronto Blues Society, for his "achievements during a distinguished career". A former member of '60s rock band, Rhinoceros, Michael Fonfara received a Maples Blues award, in 2000, as "piano/keyboards player of the year." Mike Fitzpatrick has played drums with Big Joe Turner, Sonny Rhodes, Hubert Sumlin, and Bob Margolin and has recorded with such blues artists as Snooky Pryor and B.B. Odom. Gary Kendall, who played bass on the band's earliest recordings, returned after a 12-year break, during which he booked concerts at Toronto blues club the Silver Dollar. The recipient of a Toronto Blues Society "Blues with a Feeling" award, in 1993, he received Maple Blues awards as "bass player of the year" in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2002.