Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Recorded Works In Chronological Order, Vol. 1, 1927-1928
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop, R&B
The '20s produced many entertaining jug bands, but few were as readily likable as those led by banjoist-vocalist Gus Cannon. His recordings have an irresistible melodic quality that still charms. Take for example his rendi... more »
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The '20s produced many entertaining jug bands, but few were as readily likable as those led by banjoist-vocalist Gus Cannon. His recordings have an irresistible melodic quality that still charms. Take for example his rendition of the blues standard "Poor Boy Long Ways from Home," on which he plays banjo with a slide! Gus also courageously took on social concerns with his "Can You Blame the Colored Man?" The rollicking "Feather Bed" has all the makings of an old-time country dance tune with Noah Lewis's infectious harmonica taking the place of a fiddle. Then there's "Minglewood Blues" and "My Money Never Runs Out," two numbers that would later enchant the '60s folk crowd. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Few other jug bands managed this kind of consistent quality. For fans of early blues, these sides come under the heading of absolutely essential. --Lars Gandil
A treasure of Black Blues, banjo, and string band music
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 10/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gus Cannon was one of the great music masters of his time. His various groups includiong his most famous, the Cannon Jug Stompers, were at the height of Black blues, black string band music, and any kind of banjo playing for his time. It is a shame that he is so neglected today. C
annon had been making music as a wandering Blues and folk music performer in the South for many years before he started recording in the 1920s. He had a great skill aT finger picking the five string banjo in a style similar to that used by Charlie Poole of Northern Carolina, but with a better used of the swing required by Blues music. He was not slouch as a singer either. Myself, I think that Cannon's greatness also had to do with his ability to put together salty, basic, sometimes way out in the alley songs. He was a good band leader.
This is a very good example of Black string band music which flourished in the South into the late 1940s. It is unfortunate that commercial recorders and folk music collectors tended to avoid this music for guitar and piano playing bluesmen, or older forms of music during those years, because some tremendous music has been left behind. Cannon was lucky to take advantage of the "Jug Band" craze that started in the 20s and was centered in Louisville, Memphis, and Nashville which allowed these recordings to be made.
This music is significant given that generally commercial recording companies back in this time avoided Black banjo players who played the blues, even though the first Black male to cut a banjo record, Poppa Charlie Jackson, played banjo not guitar. Cannon was a multitalented banjo player with a unique finger style that is captured in these recordings. It is also true when he was "found" and recorded by Stax records in the early 1970s, he also did some great frailing as well.
If you recognize some of these tunes from the repertoire of the Jim Kweskin Jug band, you are in for a surprise. Kweskin was really interested in creating a pop sound that was based on the popular music of the 1920s rather than the real Black jug bands that many of his tunes were ripped off from. As such you will be surprised to find out how Black, bluesy and untrivial many songs that Kweskin took from Cannon are.