Personalities | Memphis Jug Band | Twenties | Jazz & Blues

(Vocal/instrumental group, 1927–34)

They did not invent the style, but guitarist/harpist Will Shade (a.k.a. Son Brimmer) and his rollicking aggregation were among the most popular and influential of the jug and string bands that proliferated around Memphis and Louisville, as well as in the Mississippi Delta, during the 1920s and 1930s. With various personnel coming and going, the Jug Band included instruments such as violin, jug, kazoo, piano, mandolin, banjo, guitar, harmonica and washtub bass, and recorded nearly 60 sides for Victor.

Their members over the years included such luminaries as Furry Lewis, harpist Big Walter Horton and guitarist Casey Bill Weldon, as well as occasional female guest vocalists. Their repertoire included some blues, but their speciality was tightly arranged pop and novelty numbers, some of which (e.g. ‘Stealin’, Stealin’’) have become standards, and all of which they performed with a theatrical, vaudevillian flair. Although the Jug Band disbanded in the 1930s, Shade himself soldiered on with various reincarnated versions until his death in 1966.

Styles & Forms | Twenties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | James ‘Bubber’ Miley | Twenties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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