Many folks brush up against something like this music when they are in first grade; you know, the triangle, flute, drum pad bands. And then again when they join the senior citizens kazoo band, but never anything in between. We aim in our lives to correct that omission and, at the same time, to keep the tradition. Washboard/jug (or skiffle or spasm) band music by now has a long and glorious history in American music (as well as a somewhat ignominious history in minstrelsy). the broad category of bands using "found" instruments includes plantation music, rural and streetcorner jug bands, and 1920s jazz washboard bands. Emile "Stalebread" Lacoume's turn of the century New Orleans spasm band, the Washboard Rhythm Kings, Spike Jones, Dave Van Ronk, Jim Kweskin, the Memphis Jug Band, and the Hoosier Hotshots are just a few of the better known manifestations.
If you are interested in our music, and like what you hear, you can purchase our CD at www.pxrec.com.
From the album notes:
Track 1: The Sheik of Araby
, or The Sheik, as it was originally published in 1921, became another jazz standard, obviously inspired by Rudolf Valentino movies. The patented New Orleans riff refrain evolved later. Pianist Ted Snyder, the composer, started out as a song plugger, and went on to a publishing partnership with Irving Berlin. I should note at this point that the driving perpetuation of the beat by Tom and Tom in the rhythm section is the very essence of rhythm band music. With that going on, the horns can just hang by their thumbs or do anything and the audience will say "How do they do it?" It's a kind of magic.
Track 2: Remon,
is a Creole tune from New Orleans that was included in the earliest published collection of African American music, entitled Slave Songs of the United States, and published in 1867 by a group of prominent abolitionists. Remon was among the Creole songs undoubtedly contributed to the collection by Madame L. Lejeune and the well-known American authors George Washington Cable and Lafcadio Hearn. The tune reveals the close rhythmic and melodic ties between New Orleans colloquial music and Caribbean folk. The second strain, for example, is the same as "Women's Sweeter Than Man", recorded by Trinidadian calypsonian Sam Manning in 1928, and "En Sens Unique SVP" (second strain), recorded by the Martinican Stellio in 1929.
And here is a fine place for us to express our appreciation to the late Gil Carter, founder of the Sunshine Skiffle Band, who started us all down this wonderful yellow brick road.
Track 3: And now a blast from the past (and unrelated to the above CD), an informal dub by Dave Littlefield of the old Sunshine Skiffle band in 1981at the National Theater; Dave Robinson, trumpet; John Jenkins, Don Rouse, clarys; Gil Carter, rhumba box; Bill Riddle, washboard; Dave Littlefield, banjo; Dave Kastler, bass viol de gamba. (digitized by Dick Parks).