Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band rivaled the Memphis Jug Band in popularity during the 1930s and continued playing into the 1950s, when jug bands were a rarity. Founded in the early '30s by guitarist and vocalist Jack Kelly, the band included fiddler Will Batts, guitar picker Dan Sane, and "Doctor" D.M. Higgs on jug. They were originally called Jack Kelly's Jug Busters when they first entered the recording studio in August, 1933. During this trip, the band cut songs including "Red Ripe Tomatoes," and "Believe I'll Go Back Home" for the NY label, American Records Co. The songs were released under the new band name, Jack Kelly & His South Memphis Jug Band, and one number, "Highway No. 61 Blues," became a best-seller for them. The group was regarded as the bluesiest of Memphis area jug bands, and were in demand as live performers. They often performed for white audiences, as well, at country clubs, hotels and picnics. The band recorded through the late '30s, with a total of over 20 songs for American Record Co., Banner and Vocalion.
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