Bebo's & Reebo's Jug Band Jam
Bebo White, Wayne Hagen, and Richard Rice
Saturday, June 9, 2012, 2:00pm
Jam Room - Room #117
Like "bluegrass" or "Celtic" or "folk", "jug band music" is one of those catchall, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink terms that doesn't go very far in explaining what the music is really like.
There's no real agreement where exactly it started. Somewhere in the minstrel shows and medicine shows of the Southern states, musicians starting putting together bands comprised of homemade improvised instruments. Jugs, kazoos, paper covered combs, even sections of stovepipes made up the horn section. Rhythm sections of guitars mandolins, wash tub basses, and washboards laid out the beat. The Memphis blues bands added banjo and harmonica to the mix. The size of the early bands and exact instrumentation seem to have been all over the map. The repertoire was rich and varied as well, incorporating Memphis blues, string band, hokum, novelty songs, ragtime, jazz, parlor songs, popular songs and more.
But the aim of these old bands left no room for doubt. They enlivened dances, juke joints, carnivals, Vaudeville shows, and street corners. They were found wherever a good time could be had.
Bands like Cannon Jug Stompers, Memphis Jug Band, the Mississippi Sheiks, and the Hokum Boys became popular performer in the early days of recordings. Big name acts like Ma Rainey, Tampa Red, Memphis Minnie, Bill Broonzy, and even Jimmie Rodgers cut sides with jug bands.
Though its heyday ended with the Great Depression, jug music has enjoyed several resurrections over the years. The jug revival of the early sixties spawned some of the most important rock bands of the era. Acts and performers as varied as Grateful Dead, the Mamas and the Papas, Jimmy Page, Norman Greenbaum, Country Joe and the Fish, and the Lovin' Spoonful got their starts in jug and skiffle bands.
A whole new jug/string band revival is spreading coast to coast these days fueled by young bands like the Blair Street Mugwumps, the Dusty Porch String Band, Fruition, Hokum High Rollers, Crow Quill Night Owls, Stay All Night Rounders, Sour Mash Hug Band and the Inkwell Rhythm Makers.
The jam will be led by the engaging accelerating Bebo White and the eminent jug blowing wunderkind Wayne Hagen, with occasional help from the mysterious, certifiable Rebo. Both Bebo and Wayne are celebrated members of the California Jug band Association. Wayne hosts a radio show called "Sounds So Sweet" on KDRT.org.