Duluth’s 8th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands, sponsored by Coho Handcream for Men and Women has come and gone; yet it leaves slowly, discipating. Good soul food, real music to feast on. A filling of the well you might say.
The musicians delighted the crowd, as homage was paid to all veterans. Held again at the Amazing Grace Café, it was a standing crowd only, from start to finish. Some of this was due To Duluth hosting one of its typical rain and 30mph winds, directly off the BIG LAKE Gitchi-Gumi. It did make for a cozy atmosphere inside. This event was recorded.
People showed up from Texas, Oregon, and points in-between; goodness how word gets around. It proved to be a wonderful exhibition of Home-made music and the joy of jamming and making your own music. Acknowledging the Vets, seemed to make the event special, as musicians came and freely gave their all, in vying for The Coveted Yid-wegian Krumkake Iron.
Blind Willie, the instigator of the event, and head bozo of de Elliot bros. (the host band) when asked why Jug Band music seemed so popular now said, "good timing". "Within the scope of American Folk Music, the recording industry, the MACHINE, has for over forty years, offered the public, the most sophisticated technical recording ever. The public is jaded. Yet a lot of this music was dead, without a heart, noise, no soul or spirit. No joy in creating it. Jug Band music is real, alive, creative and risky. A lot of playing by ear, jamming, and created right on the spot. It is alive, funky, rude, charming, spontaneous, heart-warming, with each band being unique". Blind Willie says, "people are finally ready for Jug Band". We are in the midst of a Music Renaissance. Never in our music history, could a young musician record his own music digitally on computer, lay-out his own cover design, print it, and market the CD himself. Hope it scares the poop out of the recording industry. The Jug Band message is: Make your own music, its more fun.
After six hours, and all nine bands played, those who stayed all day, and there were many, were invited to share their opinion of who they liked best with the judges. Here is a breakdown of the bands, in the order that they played: THE JEREMIAH BOHN Jug Band was the first. From Mpls. And supporters from the beginning, broke the crowd in with sing-a-longs in a more quiet Folk style. Second up, ROUGH GRASS, first showed up last year and wowed the crowd with their country-bluegrass style. Volume went up, with a strong banjo-mandolin duo. The crowd loved them. Next up, The BOOGIE BONFIRE JUG ASSASSINS Jug Band, last years weiner and supporters from the start. Bill Hinkley and Judy Larson anchored the group from Mpls. Bemidji and points in-between. Always in top form and hard to beat, disguising their Professionalism with vaudville antics, they are always crowd pleasers. We love watching Bill and Judy do what they do best. Great harmony, goofing off, and proud to have them each year.
Next, The JOOK SAVAGES aka The Duke Sandwiches Jug Band from days of yore, 1964 to be exact. Down from Angora, on the Iron Range of Northern Minnesota. David Morton, chief instigator Buffalo Nickel, was among those few white boys who revived Jug Band music in the early sixties. SALUTE! Mort always seems to delight in walking the line between chaos and confusion and bringing harmony out of it in a remarkable way. We love it when he pulls off his "Poor Mans Jazz". Never one to play by the rules, or fair, he doesn’t wait for applause, but just keeps on singing and playing, and even tuning with-out stopping. Changing tempo? No problem. He just keeps on playing and lets others catch up. We are honored to have him each year.
Our own Funky Sauna Treasure. SALUTE!! The SLIPPED A MICKEY Jug Band was back again, with its own photographer and marketing paraphanalia(refrig. magnets & kazoo’s) and a serious desire to kick butt. We loved having them. They have a unique sound and great Jug Band spirit. Special this year was their mandolin players lovely voice singing Jumbalia. Let her sing more next year, share the throne. Excellent dobro playing too. They sounded hot this year, a bit more comfortable, and we are lucky to have them. The NATIONALZ Jug Band, led by Paul Pederson of Grand Marais, was excellent as usual. More along the line of old time Blues and Ragtime, he grabs some available musicians and puts it together on the spot. We love it. This is what makes the event so enjoyable; a different band every twenty minutes. Yahoo!!! Back for the second year, The SAGGY BOTTOM GIRLS and The Highly Strung G-String Band, took top honors this year. Who knows where they are really from? Their phone numbers don’t work, and their address is highly suspicious, still a hot new band. Strong on the banjo and group vocals, especially the girls loud and in your face with vaudville humor. It must be noted, this band has no shame about bribing the judges. Their bribe did take top honors, The Best Bribe Basket of 2004. (check www.elliotbrothers.com) Well done Saggys and see you next year to defend your title. The PORCH PLAYERS, a dulcimer focused new group to the battle format, was well appreciated and added more variety to the scene. Many musicians came up when invited to play, creating a unique blend of music, hard to define. Somewhere between celtic, new-age, and Jug Band. Well done and come back next year. Next and last, The GIRLS ON TOP Jug Band, formerly the Fat Chance Jug Band, was hot! Past double wieners, they absolutely kicked butt. Strong male and female vocals, added variety. Why they didn’t win we don’t know. Thanks for your continued support the last eight years gang and come back next year, we love ya.
As a special treat this year, and just before the judging, Bill and Judy put together an on the spot band, with a number of musicians from other groups too, and called it The Boogie Bonfire Embers and wowed the audience. A delightful treat for all, even tho they couldn’t vie for the Coveted Yid-wegian Krumkake Iron.
De Elliot Brothers, your hosts, would like to thank all the musicians who came and gave freely of their talents, to show the people of Duluth what real, alive music is. It is always the musicians who make this such a wonderful event. THANK YOU THANK YOU. It gives people the message, ITS MORE FUN TO MAKE YOUR OWN MUSIC. See ya all next year. Get healthy, be nice, keep it clean, and…………….GO FISH!