The Blues Foundation

Blues Hall of Fame - 003 - Memphis Jug Band

March 1, 2017

Led by the enigmatic Will Shade, the Memphis Jug Band was an ever-evolving collective sporting different, talent-packed lineups for every gig and every recording session. The group was on hand for the very first commercial recording session in Memphis, TN, and went on to record over 100 sides for Victor, Champion, and Okeh Records in their heyday.

Guitars, fiddles, kazoos, washtub bass, and ceramic jugs laid the foundation of their unique sound, but what drew the crowds and sold the records were their well-crafted songs full of witty hooks and choreographed call-and-response sections.

The Memphis Jug Band would often record under different aliases. Sometimes album cuts were credited to individulal members of the band - Will Shade, Hattie Hart, and Memphis Minnie. The band recorded gospel songs under an entirely different moniker - The Memphis Sanctified Singers.

The Memphis Jug Band popularized the jug band format, which evolved into the blues combo that is the basis for most popular music today.