Vanguard - 79521 - 1998

Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band

featuring Maria Muldaur

Acoustic Swing and Jug


Offbeat Reviews 99-07

Dig it. They're marketing this as "acoustic swing" now, but during its previous incarnation (in the early Sixties) it was called "jug band music," and it was just about the hippest stuff to come out of Cambridge, Mass., and Greenwich Village, and anywhere else the revolution was taking shape as an insurrection of euphoria and joy in the face of an encroachingly grim military-industrial complex waging war on Third World peoples. All that's changed now, of course. What resistance the political-media complex can't dispel through distraction, the MTV crowd takes care of, making conformity look sexy. But here's the rub: sex always has been, and truly still is, fun. Get it? Fun, not a fashion statement. Yeah, fun as a form of rebellion. Pure joy not just as a political statement, but as a human statement, in the face of a dehumanizing mainstream. Say what you will about the Squirrel Nut Zippers, pale as their brand of fun may be, if they can help bring back Kweskin and the gang, more power to 'em. So, here's the 100-proof stuff, what in its original day (Memphis during the Roaring Twenties) was dismissed as "hokum" music, and in the Sixties as "good-time" folk-rock (see, for example, the Lovin' Spoonful, Grateful Dead, etc.). Extraordinary musicianship, hysterical tunes, sly performances, the human spirit in all its defiant and shining glory. A truly exotic cultural expression smack dab in the middle of the American landscape. Maria Muldaur back when she was the babe of all babes, ex-hubby Geoff practically defining folk-funk vocals, Big Jim Kweskin scat-jiving all over the place, goofy Fritz Richmond (alias Sebastian Dangerfield) kickin' it on washtub bass. Washtub bass? An actual jug? A washboard for rhythm section? Kazoos, harmonicas, banjos, fiddles? Swinging like demons straight from heaven? Absolutely. If you're into the swing thing, you've got to check this out. And even you're not, this amazing amalgam of blues, jazz, folk, Tin Pan Alley, and defiantly high spirits is bound to bring a smile to your face, a tap to your toes. Don't think you need it? Who're you fooling?

— Roger Hahn

Relix magazine 26-01 Jan-Feb 1999

by Mick Skidmore

The Vanguard label has also been plundering its vaults with good results. This is most notable with the 20-track, 20-bit mastered compilation Acoustic Swing & Jug by Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band. Aside from Kweskin, the band featured Fritz Richmond on jug, Bill Keith on banjo and guitar, Mel Lyman on harmonica and Geoff and Maria Muldaur (at the time Maria D'Amato). Although much of the material sounds dated, the performances are good. The more folk-blues cuts such as "Rag Mama" and the funky, slide driven "Chevrolet," which features a great vocal by Maria Muldaur, stand the test of time better.

The Village Voice Dec. 22-28, 1999

Consumer Guide
by Robert Christgau
Cheap Gifts!

Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band : Acoustic Swing & Jug : Vanguard

Milder but steadier than their brothers in dissipation the Holy Modal Rounders, whose first two albums have been remastered onto one Fantasy CD, this aggregation set the standard for folkiedom's hedonist wing, committed only to good-time blues, goofball hokum, and the occasional silly pop song. At this historical distance they're at least as far out there as their inspirations Will Shade and Gus Cannon, neither of whom followed his harmonica player onto a commune when he decided he was God (Mel Lyman, you could look it up), and their selected works pack more fun than Yazoo's muddled Ruckus Juice and Chitlins comps: "Beedle Um Bum," "Ukelele Lady," "Borneo," "Never Swat a Fly," and a Maria Muldaur "Richland Woman" that couldn't make you forget John Hurt but might just inspire you to look him up. A MINUS

Tucson Weekly 12-03-98

Rhythm and Views

JIM KWESKIN & THE JUG BAND: Acoustic Swing & Jug (Vanguard)

SIXTIES JUG BAND music was one of those gone-before-you-know-it moments in American music; both an East Coast, post-beatnik revival of a '20s/'30s black style, and a stateside equivalent to England's skiffle music scene. Oddly, both were incubators of significant pop/rock bands: Skiffle brought about the Mersey Beat era as well as the Beatles, while the jug band music of Kweskin and a few others morphed into The Lovin' Spoonful, The Mamas And Papas and Maria Muldaur (a former Kweskinite). Kweskin was an admirable balance of music archivist and comedian, slapping Mississippi John Hurt's gorgeous "Richland Woman" up against the goofy but definitely swinging "Never Swat A Fly." Unfortunately, this group of wild characters fizzled out in a pre-rock era now mostly remembered for the Diet Folk Music of the Kingston Trio. In this writer's opinion, the Vanguard label never produced a more colorful band, and this album is up their with their best.

— Dave McElfresh


  1. Jug Band Music
  2. Beedle Um Bum
  3. Somebody Stole My Gal (Wood)
  4. That's When I'll Come Back to You (Biggs)
  5. I'm a Woman (Leiber)
  6. Never Swat a Fly (Brown/D/H)
  7. Rag Mama (Fuller)
  8. Richland Woman (Hurt)
  9. My Gal (Boone)
  10. Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me (McCarron/M/S)
  11. Chevrolet (Young/Young)
  12. Ukelele Lady (Kahn/Whiting)
  13. Memphis (Berry)
  14. Blues in the Bottle (Boone)
  15. Morning Blues (Macon/Simon)
  16. Crazy Words Crazy Tune (Ager/Yellen)
  17. Borneo (Donaldson)
  18. Downtown Blues (Stokes)
  19. Wild About My Loving
  20. I'm Satisfied with My Gal (DeRose/Trent)
Time 60:03