On this day, February 5, we remember Will Shade, leader of the Memphis Jug Band, on the 118th anniversary of his birth on that day in 1898. Unfortunately, this disc by his illustrious Memphis Jug Band has seen a lot of action in its eighty-nine years of existence, and is in pretty poor condition, but, as is the case with many jug band records, it’s quite uncommon, and this is the best copy I was able to procure. “Audible but muffled” is the description given to the record by its previous owner, and the music sort of fades between “almost decent” and “downright lousy”. Oh well. Nonetheless, here it is.
Victor 20552 was recorded February 24, 1927 at the McCall Building in Memphis, Tennessee, the first two sides from the Memphis Jug Band’s first recording session, and their first issued record. The band includes Will Shade on guitar and harmonica, Will Weldon on guitar, Charlie Polk on jug, and Ben Ramey on kazoo.
“Stingy Woman” may or may not play a little cleaner than the flip side, which unfortunately isn’t saying a whole lot, and was recorded second in the session. Apparently the original owner wasn’t a fan of Will Weldon, going by their defacement of the label.
“Sun Brimmers” takes its name from Will Shade’s nickname, Son Brimmer, and perhaps was intended to be titled “Son Brimmer’s Blues”. This was the first side recorded by the Memphis Jug Band.
Updated with improved audio on June 21, 2017.