When listening to blues singers from another era, many are turned off by the music's rustic simplicity. Just a guy or gal with a guitar, singing in a whiny voice. Compared to your average country-blues singer, a band like Cannon's Jug Stompers is downright accessible. Equipped with a guitar, banjo, harmonica, and, of course, a jug, these folks were bona fide noise makers. If the listener happens to be a Deadhead, he or she will be familiar with songs like "Minglewood Blues," "Viola Lee Blues," and "Big Railroad Blues." As one can also divine from the song titles, banjoist Gus Cannon, harmonica player Noah Lewis, and a number of bandmates stick close to the blues. There's a relaxed laziness to pieces like "Wolf River Blues" and "The Rooster's Crowing Blues" that separate the group from noisier, more boisterous bands like the Skillet Lickers. There's a great version of "Walk Right In," a song that became a big hit for the Rooftop Singers in 1963. A disclaimer on the back of the CD case mentions that it is impossible to completely clean up these old recordings. Nonetheless, considering the 70-75-year-old records Yazoo had to work with, the end product sounds pretty darn good. The liner notes include a nice long essay on the history of the band by Don Kent. The Best of Cannon's Jug Stompers delivers 70 minutes of traditional jug band music, offering a fine introduction to both the band and the musical style. In other words, it's a classic.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.