In June 1980, Muddy Waters' backing musicians Willie "Big Eyes" Smith (drums), Pinetop Perkins (piano), Calvin "Fuzz" Jones (bass guitar), Luther Johnson (Guitar Junior) (guitar), Bob Margolin (guitar) and Jerry Portnoy (harmonica) quit over a salary dispute. The year before, Smith, Jones, Johnson and Perkins backed John Lee Hooker and Big Walter Horton in the film The Blues Brothers, playing a live version of "Boom Boom" in the Maxwell Street Market. Smith was the only band member to appear in close-up. In 1981, Portnoy, Jones, Smith and Perkins were joined by Louis Myers on harmonica and guitar, and they formed the Legendary Blues Band, using a monicker Muddy Waters used to introduce them when on stage. They recorded their debut album Life of Ease for Rounder Records.Duke Robillard guested on their second release Red Hot 'n' Blue.
The Legendary Blues Band recorded seven albums, Life of Ease, Red Hot 'n' Blue, Woke Up with the Blues (nominated for a W. C. Handy Award), Keepin' the Blues Alive, U B Da Judge, Prime Time Blues, and Money Talks, between 1981 and 1993 and toured with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton.
Later recordings included Billy Flynn, Little Smokey Smothers, Tony O. Melio, Nick Moss and Madison Slim although the rhythm section of Jones and Smith remained through to their final release in 1993.