Mungo Jerry
Memphis Jug Band [Reissue]
Black Bottom
Old Crow Medicine Show

Country » Traditional Country » Jug Band

Although jug band music is often associated with the folk traditions of rural, predominantly white Appalachia, it was in reality performed mostly by African-Americans in urban areas. Jug bands united Appalachian folk with blues, ragtime, and very early jazz; they are best known, of course, for their novel, do-it-yourself instrumentation. The jug in question was usually a whiskey jug, and a player blew across the mouth of the jug to produce pitches in the bass register. Jug bands usually featured at least one stringed instrument from the Appalachian tradition -- guitar, banjo, and/or fiddle -- and used a wide variety of everyday, easily available household objects for rhythmic accompaniment. The most common were the washboard (whose slats were struck and rubbed in a way analogous to a snare drum) and the metal washtub bass, which was usually equipped with a broomstick and clothesline that produced the sounds. Other possible percussion instruments included spoons, gut buckets, bones, and saw blades; additional melodic accompaniment might have included a harmonica, kazoo, or even comb and tissue paper -- whatever was available and economical, really. Jug band music originated in Louisville, Kentucky at the dawn of the 1900s, but found its greatest popularity in Memphis, Tennessee during the '10s and '20s, eventually spreading to Ohio and North Carolina as well. Given the inherent playfulness of the instrumentation, jug band music was accordingly informal, spontaneous, often humorous, and rhythmically bouncy. The most important bands included the Memphis Jug Band, Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, and Earl McDonald's Dixieland Jug Blowers. The regional jug band fad had largely passed by the '30s, but the British skiffle movement of the '50s and America's own early-'60s folk revival brought a renewed appreciation of the style. Good-humored preservationist outfits like the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and the Even Dozen Jug Band sprang up Stateside; additionally, members of both the Grateful Dead and the Lovin' Spoonful got their start playing jug band music.

Jug Band Artists Highlights

Mungo Jerry
Mungo Jerry
Old Crow Medicine Show
Old Crow Medicine Show

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Jug Band Album Highlights

Memphis Jug Band [Reissue]
Memphis Jug Band
Memphis Jug Band [Reissue]
Black Bottom
Ma Rainey
Black Bottom
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1928-1929)
Memphis Jug Band
Complete Recorded Works, ...
Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1930)
Memphis Jug Band
Complete Recorded Works, ...
Paramounts Chronologically, Vol. 2
Ma Rainey
Paramounts ...
Mother of the Blues
Ma Rainey
Mother of the Blues

More Jug Band Albums

Jug Band Song Highlights

Title/Composer Performer Stream
Cocaine Habit Blues Memphis Jug Band
Don't Fish in My Sea Ma Rainey
She Stays Out All Night Long Memphis Jug Band
Everybody's Talking About Sadie Green Memphis Jug Band
Shave 'Em Dry Blues Ma Rainey
Beale Street Mess Around Memphis Jug Band
Walk Right In Cannon's Jug Stompers
Stealin' Stealin' Memphis Jug Band
Going Back to Memphis Memphis Jug Band
Flicker & Shine Old Crow Medicine Show

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