Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Document Records
Memphis Jug Band 1932-1934

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Picaninny Jug Band
Memphis Jug Band


Picaninny Jug Band
01 - You got to have that thing Listen
02 - Tappin` that thing Listen
03 - Bottle it up and go Listen
04 - I got good taters Listen
05 - Come along little children Listen

Memphis Jug Band
06 - Mary Anna cut off Listen
07 - My love is cold Listen
08 - Jazzbo stomp Listen
09 - Gator wobble Listen
10 - Tear it down, bed slats and all Listen
11 - Boodie bum bum Listen
12 - Take your finger off it Listen
13 - Little green slippers Listen
14 - Fishin` in the dark Listen
15 - Bottle it up and go Listen
16 - Insane crazy blues Listen
17 - She done sold it out Listen
18 - Memphis shakedown Listen
19 - Rukus juice and chittlin` Listen
20 - My business ain`t right Listen
21 - Jug band quartette Listen

Picaninny Jug Band: Will Shade, harmonica; Jab Jones, jug; Charlie Burse, vocal, tenor guitar, Vol Stevens, vocal, mandolin, Otto Gilmore, drums
Memphis Jug Band: Same as Picininny Jug Band with appearances by: Charlie Pierce, violin and Robert Burse, drums.
Genres: Blues, Memphis Blues, Country Blues, Jug Bands.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
Detailed discography.
In 1932 a bunch of musicians traveled to Richmond, Indiana, to cut records for Gennett's soon to be extinct cheap label Champion. Despite, or more likely because of, times being hard, the Picaninny Jug Band's music is generally up tempo, jolly music, with Otto Gilmore's capering percussion strongly featured. Even so, the discs sold poorly.
Some of the titles were to be re-cut at the Memphis jug Band's last, two-day session, for Okeh in 1934. The band that recorded then was an accomplished and versatile unit: Will Shade, Charlie Burse and Jab Jones all sang; Shade played guitar and harmonica, and Burse guitar and mandolin, while Jones doubled piano and jug (unless, as he claimed, Dewey Corley was the jug player for this date). Charlie's brother Robert handled the percussion, while on fiddle there was Charlie Pierce, older than the rest of the band, and formerly a member of W C. Handy's Orchestra.
The Memphis Jug Band's music had changed radically since their Victor days, in an effort to keep up with changing fashions. There is a considerable infusion of jazz, and Pierce's virtuoso fiddle playing draws heavily on white country music. The effect of all this, and the crosstalk, scatting and laughter, often recalls the Western Swing that was coming out of Texas and Oklahoma, itself heavily influenced by blues and jazz. The jug, of course, made the MJB's music distinct with instruments playing thunderous solos of remarkable fluency. Often, the selections amount to fiddle-jug duets, although on Gator Wobble and the high speed tour-de-force Jazzbo Stomp,it's Shade's harmonica that's the feature. If their music had altered to the point where many of the discs described it as "novelty hot dance", it was still distinctively black, and often still steeped in the blues; Jab Jones's Mary Anna Cut Off (which refers to Marianna, Arkansas) is a barrelhouse piano classic, while She Done Sold it Out reverts to the sound of their 1929-30 recordings. Did the Memphis jug Band know that this was to be their last session? No doubt that Jug Band Quartette,its melancholy harmony contrasting elegantly with the celebratory lyrics, is a conscious, elegiac tribute to themselves, their fellow musicians "way down yonder in old Memphis, Tennessee", and the music that even now sounds "so sweet, you know it's hard to beat".
The complete Memphis Jug Band titles 1927-1930 are on Document DOCD-5021, DOCD-5022 and DOCD-5023.
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