A Viking Twang Jug Band Extravaganza Tuesday, Sept. 9
Written by Randy Black on September 7, 2014
Friends — The legendary Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur are playing at the The Alberta Rose Theatre Thursday, Sept. 11. To celebrate, this week’s Viking Twang on KPSU will have it’s own jug band extravaganza on Tuesday, Sept. 9.
Kweskin and Muldaur, along with Geoff’s then-wife Maria Muldaur, were the stars of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band in the early 60s, a band that took the music of early string and blues bands and put a pre-hippie twist to them.
From AllMusic.com: “At the peak of the American folk revival, Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band reintroduced an essential component into folk music: fun. While thousands attended the March on Washington in 1963 and others traveled to the South to participate in voting drives, Kweskin and his partners in crime played kazoos and washboards in Boston coffeehouses. For every time Joan Baez sang ‘We Shall Overcome,’ the Jug Band sang ‘Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me.’ While conservative commentators of the time may have seen such irreverence as the beginning of the folk revival’s end, others clapped their hands and stomped their feet as the band sang ‘My Gal’ and ‘Rag Mama’ with happy abandon.”
The band’s jug and washtub bass player, Portland’s Fritz Richmond, was so important to this form of music that the Smithsonian has one of his washtubs. Wikipedia says this: “Music writer Jim Mitchell described Richmond as a ‘notorious luminary in the field of old-time American music. Nobody with even the slightest knowledge of jug band music and traditional string-band repertoire can overlook his contributions … which are indeed of historical significance.'”
Viking Twang will start with Portland’s BBQ Orchestra (who will also open the Alberta Rose show), along with bands such as the The Washboard Rhythm Kings, R. Crumb & his Cheap Suit Serenaders, Geoff Muldaur’s Texas Sheiks, and local bands such as Sassparilla and the Pagan Jug Band. We’ll play the Kitchen Syncopaters, the Memphis Jug Band, Jesse Fuller, and a rousing stomp from today’s hit jug band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops.
Viking Twang is live from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday. You can listen to the podcast any time you like at http://bit.ly/1tQMded. Be sure to also listen to the podcasts of my previous shows.
You can like the Viking Twang Facebook page and follow @vikingtwang on Twitter. Or drop me a line and tell me what you thought about the show at [email protected].
Sept.17 is Hank Williams’ birthday, so I’ll play a lot of Hank on the Tuesday, Sept. 16 episode of Viking Twang. Hope you tune in!