Early jug bands played a mixture of jazz, country and pop that had its roots in ragtime.
Cannon's Jug Stompers, along with the Memphis Jug Band (see earlier post), was one of the greatest jug bands of the 1920's.
Gus Cannon was a banjo-playing jack-of-all-trades whose musical abilities included trombone, fiddle, piano, and guitar.
Gus ran away from home at the age of 15 and began his career entertaining at sawmills and levee and railroad camps in the Mississippi Delta around the turn of the century.He supported his family through a variety of jobs, including sharecropping, ditch digging, and yard work, but supplemented his income with music.
During the 1910s and 1920s, Cannon performed at medicine shows, playing, juggling, and doing comedy routines in the role of "Banjo Joe."
Cannon recorded as "Banjo Joe" in November 1927 for Paramount Records but soon strapped on a jug (Gus made a harness for his jug so that he could wear it around his neck and play banjo at the same time.) and assembled a jug band after the success of the Memphis Jug Band's first records.
"Minglewood Blues": Recorded on January 30, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee. This recording features Gus Cannon on banjo and jug, Ashley Thompson on vocals and guitar and Noah Lewis on the harp. Minglewood was a lumber camp in Ashley, Tennessee, which was popular amongst musicians in the Mississippi Delta as a "hot spot." (This tune became a popular staple of the Grateful Dead).
"Viola Lee Blues": Recorded on September 20, 1928 presumably in Memphis. The lineup is the same as on "Minglewood Blues". Noah Lewis sings. (also an early Grateful Dead staple)
"Pig Ankle Strut":Recorded on September 5, 1928 in Memphis.
"Bring It With You When You Come":