Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Memphis Jug Band

  • Memphis Jug Band [Yazoo, 1991] A

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Memphis Jug Band [Yazoo, 1991]
Will Shade didn't invent jug bass, which began in Louisville, but he sure professionalized it, leading an aggregation whose shifting cast of dozens recorded more than 60 tracks between 1927 and 1934. On the pop side, leaving the likes of Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman out of it, they were the best small group in America before Louis Jordan's Tympany Five: prophetic going-up-the-city worldview, crowd-pleasing songbag of happy hokum and well-remembered folk tunes, infectious beat, and drolly soulful singers, topped by lowdown party girl Hattie Hart. But this former double LP, reduced in its reprogrammed 1991 digital version from 28 to 23 tracks, is a fine place to begin even if it skips the seminal bait track of Yazoo's recent and redundant The Best of the Memphis Jug Band, "Memphis Shakedown," which in turn omits both "Lindberg Hop," which leads this CD, and the metathematic "The Old Folks Started It." Haphazard-on-purpose Yazoo guarantees, however, that you'd be better off with several of the five omissions, especially "I'll See You in the Spring, When the Birds Begin to Sing," which leads the vinyl version, and the spelunking tragedy "Cave Man Blues." It's enough to make me mention the well-selected, budget-priced double-18-track of Classic Blues' The Essential Memphis Jug Band sound quality unheard. A