Jug Band Songbook

Jug Band Songbook

Jug Band Music. The Kweskin Jug band version starts and ends with seven “F” chords. You can easily put a kazoo on a harmonica rack and become a one man/woman band!

Blues In The Bottle. The original recorded version from the 1920’s by Prince Albert Hunt. This is more Old Time Southern Style and not the same lyrics as the later jug band version. (see below). I like hearing the original, when it’s available.

Blues In The Bottle. The later jug band version, and the one with the matching lyrics to the songbook.

Who Broke The Lock ? On the hen house door! This song was published in 1895 and has been covered by countless artists and groups….but not a jug band I could find. I’ve been playing it as a jug band song for years and it works well for kids of all ages. My lyrics are based on the Old Time version by the Highwoods String Band from Ithaca, N.Y. Copy and paste this link to hear it –  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXjLw2GIO_Q Here is a great version by the Tennessee Ramblers circa 1930: slide guitar and and a group chorus sing along.

Shake That Thing. Papa Charlie Jackson recorded this in the 1920’s, one of the earliest blues on record.There he is with his Gibson Guitar Banjo, which you’ll hear on this sound file.This ragtime blues song makes for some fun jug banding. Believe it or not, Jerry Garcia and the Dead were Mother Mcree’s Uptown Jug Band first and this was one of their tunes!

Sadie Green. Mid 1920’s Cowboy-Vaudeville-Jugband! You can hear the ukulele playing great back up during the singing. There is another verse, and although not recorded, it’s included on the lyrics sheet. This tune has about as many harmonic twists and turns as you’ll see in this type of music.

Kansas City Blues.Recorded by many bluesmen in the 20’s, and rewritten as a rock n roll song in the early fifties, and once again covered by many bands. Here’s an original recording on ukulele with the earlier lyrics.Key of C.

Wild About My Lovin’. Early blues recording, played with a flat pick. This tempo was later recorded by the Kweskin Jug Band,and there are faster, driving tempos as recorded by the St. Regis String Band.

Beedle Um Bum. Revived by the Kweskin Jug Band in the 1960’s from this recording by McKinney’s Cotton Pickers about 40 years earlier. A great nonsense song with a lot of bounce.

Button Up Your Overcoat.See the original music and hear the original recording at Free Fret Files on this site.

Folding’ Bed.Considered one of the first, if not the first jug band tune recorded by Whistler’s Jug Band. Quite the line up with guitar, mandolin banjo, and THREE jugs.Oh, and if you search it on youtube, you’ll see an astounding movie from the mid 20’s of this very song.

The Separation Blues. Sung here by Pat Sky. This is an easy, fun song following an iconic jug band format using the circle of fifths. I’ve included less lyrics than the sound file: I learned this decades ago from a friend, way before the internet, CD’s, and cassette tapes!

Crazy Words,Crazy Tune, and the sheet music title is VoDoDeeOh. Amazingly popular in the 1920’s having been covered by vocalists, dance bands (listen to the Golden Gate Band); than later revived by the Kweskin Jug Band.Here’s the great vocal version by Johnny Marvin.

Mobile Line. A great example of jug band arrangement, especially at the beginning of the song. This is a standard blues structure: I-IV7-I-V7-IV7-I.

Stealin’,Stealin’, by the Memphis Jug Band. Some nice vocal harmonies, and quick chord changes on the bridge( a kazoo playing the alternate melody here, on a rack, is a classic). Later revived and covered by Jerry Garcia, and Arlo Guthrie.

The Cat’s Got The Measles.This is a novelty song, perhaps from the days of minstrel shows, first recorded by Papa Charlie Jackson in 1924. The author is unknown, so maybe it was he who wrote it!

San Francisco Bay Blues. Written by Jesse Fuller, an amazing one man band: bass and percussion with feet, guitar, and rack harp! This has been covered by Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul, and Mary: the list goes on. This recording is from 1954 by Jesse Fuller. Makes a fine jug band song, and lots of folks can sing along.

Ukulele Lady. Here’s the version recorded by the Kweskin Jug Band. The original sheet music (with uke chords by May Sing Breen) and recording by Vaughn De Leath can be found here under Free Fret Files. Now you CAN have it all!

Take Your Fingers Off It. Attributed to, and first recorded by the Memphis Jug Band in 1928; this blues incorporates a lot of lyrics found in old time country music, also. You can hear the Memphis Jug Band here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpF-wZSX250. Below is the revival version by an early revival jug band, The Even Dozen.

The Morning Blues. Written by Uncle Dave Macon, the irrepressible early star of the Grand Old Opry. Terrific and influential finger picking by Sam McGee. This was later revived by jug bands, singer songwriters, and rockers in the 60’s. Here’s the original. The lyrics are somewhat racist. Maybe Uncle Dave heard a version in a minstrel show and rewrote it…his parents owned a hotel in Tennessee,where musicians stayed: he was born in 1870.

Uncle Dave Macon on the right, with Sam McGee

Baby Keep Stealin’. The Mississippi Sheiks, an all black string band, wrote and recorded this.They were unique in having a blues fiddle in the mix, and this style of playing can be heard in revival string and jug bands.