Jug bands typically include Acoustic Guitar, Jug, Fiddle, 5-string Banjo,
Harmonica, Washtub Bass, Washboard, and often a Kazoo.
washboard is played like a snare drum, while the Jug & Washtub
bass are played as basses. Or the Jug sometimes serves the same function as a
kick drum, depending on musical arrangement.
Surprisingly, the sound is more like sound from a band with
conventional instruments, than anything else.
It's been said
"Jug Band history is the story of the birth of Blues"
Be sure to take the Historical Tour, under "Links" at the left.
Jug Bands have a history that dates back to the very early 1900's.
They flourished during the first two decades of the Twentieth Century.
Their popularity fell off in the late Thirties, then surged
up again in the Sixties.
It seems to run in a 30-year cycle, because Jug Bands are gaining
in popularity again currently, and The Texas Jug Band is proudly part of
Most people don't realize that The Grateful Dead started out as
a Jug Band, called Mother
McCree's Uptown Jug Champions.
The Lovin' Spoonful had it's roots as a Jug Band also, called
"The Even Dozen Jug Band".
In fact, John Sebastian is playing in a
Jug Band today, called "The J-Band". They released their first
album in late 1998.
Mother Mcree's Uptown Jug Champions featured Jerry Garcia,
Bob Weir and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, later to form The Grateful Dead.
Though jug bands abounded in the 60's, the three that stood out
above the others were the Jim Kweskin Band, The Even Dozen band,
and Mother Mcree's Uptown Jug Champions.
The blues singer Maria Muldaur sang with both The Even Dozen band
and Jim Kweskin's band, before taking off on a solo singing career.
Jug Bands trace their heritage back to Louisville, Kentucky,
playing a mixture of Appalachian Mountain Music, early Jazz, and Ragtime. By 1910, there were several jug bands operating in
Louisville, and a decade later they had spread to Memphis, Tennessee,
with recordings starting to be made.
Earl McDonalds Dixieland Jug Blowers was one of the first
to be recorded, in the early 1920s.
About this same time, Memphis began to come alive with jug bands, the
most prominent being The Memphis Jug Band formed by Will
Shade(Son Brimmer), and Cannon's Jug Stompers, formed by Gus Cannon, son of a former slave. Gus Cannon died in 1979,at the age of 96. Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers were considered to be the best, and most polished of
the jug bands from the 20's and 30's.
For booking or other information, click
HERE to leave an email