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Birmingham Jug Band - JPop.com
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Birmingham Jug Band

Birmingham Jug Band

Birmingham Jug Band


The Birmingham Jug Band were one of the first and one of the most raucous and most irrepressible jug bands ever to record. It's varied repertoire reflects the general diversity of African American music in the deep south in the late 1920's. Early jug bands were typically made up of African American vaudeville and medicine show musicians. Beginning in the urban south, they played a mixture of Memphis blues (even before it was formally called the blues), ragtime, and jazz music. Read more on Last.fm
The Birmingham Jug Band were one of the first and one of the most raucous and most irrepressible jug bands ever to record. It's varied repertoire reflects the general diversity of African American music in the deep south in the late 1920's. Early jug bands were typically made up of African American vaudeville and medicine show musicians. Beginning in the urban south, they played a mixture of Memphis blues (even before it was formally called the blues), ragtime, and jazz music. Two of the group's most pronounced musical characteristics: its tempo is rather quick and it features a thick musical texture, enriched by the blend of jug, percussion and stringed instruments.

The eponymous jug sound is made by taking a jug (usually made of glass or stoneware) and buzzing the lips into its mouth from about an inch away. As with brass instruments, changes in pitch are controlled by altering lip tension, and an accomplished jug player could have a two octave range. Jaybird Coleman teamed up with Big Joe Williams in The Birmingham Jug Band and toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrel Show, working shows throughout the South in 1922 through 1924. He settled in Bessemer to work with his wife, Irene, in his local church, at parties, suppers and picnics through the 1920's. He recorded for the Gennett, Silvertone and Black Patti labels in Birmingham in 1927.

He toured as a single entertainer, working club dates throughout the South in 1929, and frequently worked with the Birmingham Jug Band in Bessemer, Birmingham and Tuscaloosa areas into the 1930's. He recorded with the Birmingham Jug Band on the Okeh label in Atlanta in 1930 and with the Columbia label in Atlanta thereafter. Paul Oliver, in The Story of Blues, describes Jaybird Coleman's music this way: "His technique was close to the field holler with a sung vocal line and then an interpreting response on the harmonica". He worked mostly outside music with occasional work as a single with other jug bands, and sometimes accompanied sister Lizzie Coleman on the streets in the Bessemer and Birmingham areas through the 30's and 40's.

He entered the Veterans Administration Hospital, where he died of cancer on June 28, 1950 and is buried in Lincoln Memorial Gardens in Bessemer, Alabama. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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