This is the latest from The Bluesmobile’s C.C. Rider, who spends her life venerating the founding fathers of the blues. She’s walked the crooked highways of this singing country to resurrect the voices of the past. With the dirt of the Delta on her hands, she sleeps in the shadow of the giants on whose shoulders popular music now stands.
(February 5, 1898 – September 18, 1966)
Young Will Shade was a Memphis-born musician who played a bunch of instruments. A serious harmonica player. He’d been dabbling for a while when he heard a recording of a new type of music by a group called the Dixieland Jug Blowers. Hearing that, Will knew he could make a living by rustling up some street musicians from his hometown. And so the Memphis Jug Band was born.
The group had a revolving membership of blues masters over their 40-year reign on Beale Street. Memphis Minnie. Furry Lewis. Hattie Hart. All the best on the Memphis scene joined up with Will Shade at some point to blow a little jug. But during all those years, Shade remained the backbone of the group, writing and arranging most of their songs. Not to mention totally changing the game with his harmonica playing.
Here’s one of the Memphis Jug Band’s more famous tracks. From 1928, “Stealin’ Stealin’.”