Let’s Explore The Blues – Memphis Jug Band

Memphis-Minnie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the late 20’s and early 30’s a group of Memphis musicians played in an ensemble known as the Memphis Jug Band.  The players came and went, with one constant, Will Shade.  Will wrote the songs, played harmonica and guitar as well as handling vocals.  The players were many.  It was almost a school for up and coming artists.  Will would book the gigs and recording sessions and arrange the players.  The venue never knew who would show up,  Some of the people who passed through were Casey Bill Weldon, Memphis Minnie, Charlie Burse, Charlie Nickerson, an endless list.  their sound was, how to say it, interesting.  They used jugs, kazoos, washboards, you name it, it was in there.  The bands heyday extending into the mid 30’s when demand for their services died off.  The band’s members drifted off and the Memphis Jug Band was defunct.  Will Shade recorded one last album in 1963.  He died of pneumonia in 1966.  In their time, the group recorded over 100 sides.  Her’s a couple of them.

Cocaine Habit Blues

K.C. Moan

This is a cover, live, of KC Moan by Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead.  It cuts off towards the end, but still a worthy listen.

This might be their biggest and most important song.  A great song for kazoo lovers.

Stealin’ Stealin’

The song has been recorded a multitude of times.  Here are a few versions.

Grateful Dead

Taj Mahal

And finally a version by Jim Kweskin, live, unfortunately, without jugs.

Jim Kweskin

You gotta love the blues!

8 responses to “Let’s Explore The Blues – Memphis Jug Band”

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