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But seriously ...
April 5, 2008 - Bill Ackerbauer
I guess I didn't have too many folks fooled with that April Fool's Day post about having a long-lost, fiddle-playing, goat-wrangling uncle.
I thought I should mention, though, that the band in that YouTube clip is Whistler's Jug Band, one of many jug bands that played throughout the South in the 1920s and '30s. I have long been a huge fan of this genre of music, both in its early incarnations and as it has been played by all manner of jug bands since its heyday.
Jug band music includes a variety of styles of music -- blues and jazz and country and old-timey stringband stuff. It's a melting pot of American roots music, and it hearkens back to a time when most vernacular (i.e., non-classical) musicians (white and black) played all these genres with equal enthusiasm. It's music with an eclectic spirit and a big sense of humor. And it's got a good beat and you can dance to it (if you don't mind people staring at you and chuckling as you dance).
Not many folks are playing this kind of music today, certainly not in our neck of the woods. Along with myself, I can count on one hand the number of people I know in Fulton and Montgomery counties who care or even know about this kind of music. But today I turned on the radio (97.7 FM out of Amsterdam) and heard John Sebastian (from the '60s band The Lovin' Spoonful) talking about Mississippi John Hurt and the jug bands of the 1960s folk revival. He played "Satisfied & Tickled Too," one of my favorite John Hurt tunes.
And even here on the outskirts of the Albany area, we occasionally get a chance to see and hear the Ramblin' Jug Stompers perform. Excuse me while I go all multimedia again:
If this sort of stuff does anything for you (other than make you want to throw your iPod out the window of a moving vehicle), you might want to check out www.jugband.org, which appears to be the go-to site on the Web for all things jugadelic.
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