Release Date: 12/17/06
It must have been quite an exciting experience to have been at a dance or jook joint where Gus Cannon's Jug Stampers were providing the music, for they can really swing! The two excellent collections of Gus Cannon and his associates are a must for early country blues enthusiasts providing all 42 tracks of Gus Cannon's issued output, covering all aspects of his music. From his first recording session in Chicago, November 1927, comes the memorable, 'Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home', with Gus playing slide banjo! The first session with the Jug Stampers came in January 1928 and was recorded in Memphis, with Gus playing jug and banjo, Ashley Thompson on guitar and Noah Lewis on harmonica. Their most enjoyable song from this session is 'Madison Street Rag' where it sounds like everyone is having a good time. Noah Lewis is a fine harmonica player and adds a great deal to the 'band' and for me he is often the driving force. From this first volume my particular favourite, which again has some fine playing from Noah, is 'Bugle Call Rag' and the final track 'Riley's Wagon' has a nice rag feel. The opening tracks on Volue 2 'Last Chance Blues' and 'Fourth And Beale' has Gus with the guitar player Hosea Woods, and they called themselves 'The Beale Street Boys'. There are same very nice guitar riffs particularly on 'Fourth And Beale', (The personnel notes on the sleeve are incorrect for Hosea Woods is given as a banjo player! Gus said: 'Hosea Woods play the guitar and cornet... we was good ... sure was'...) Mistakes apart, Woods shows himself as a fine singer, recording with Gus until 1930, after which little is known about his life. It is thought he died during the 1930s. For me the most interesting and enjoyable tracks are the harmonica solos by Noah Lewis with 'Devil In The Woodpile', showing all of his skills and reminding me of the great Sonny Terry. There are four tracks of the 'Noah Lewis Jug Band' where Noah has Sleepy John Estes on guitar, Yank Rachel on mandolin and Ham Lewis on jug! (not so easy to blow as you may think!) - what a line up! An extra bonus are the fine vocals by Mrs Van Zula Carter Hunt on 'Selling The Jelly' complemented by Sleepy John's steady guitar playing. I certainly enjoyed both of these collections, they are very fine examples of the best in jug band music... and certainly make the feet tap!
|Label: Document Records|
|Run Time: 70 mins|
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