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VARIOUS Ruckus Juice & Chittlins: The Great Jug Bands Vol. 1 YAZOO-2032-CD

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If you're going to throw a party, invite this CD first. Way back when jugs were added to juke and barrelhouse performances in 1910 or so and American dance music really got down for good, these dazzling new trance rhythms smashed Western culture's sound barrier at the previously unheard-of speed of 78 rpm. From Louisville to Memphis to Birmingham to Cincinnati, these popular party bands mixed fine musicianship with clever songwriting and an unblushing sense of burlesque. Whether it's the raw wailing of young Ashley Thompson with Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers' "Big Railroad Blues" or the jazz-inflected wizardry of Earl McDonald and Clifford Hayes on the Dixieland Jug Blowers' "Banjoreno" or the Memphis Jug Band's raucous ribaldry on "Cocaine Habit Blues" and "Ruckus Juice and Chittlins," this first of two inspired volumes of jug-band classics blows out the lights, stops time in its tracks, and rocks. - Alan Greenberg