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Cannon's Jug Stompers


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Gus Cannon (12 September 1883 — 15 October 1979) was an American blues musician who helped to popularize jug bands (such as his own Cannon’s Jug Stompers) in the 1920s and 1930s.

There’s doubt about his birth year; his tombstone gives the date as 1874.

Although their last recordings were made in 1930, Cannon’s Jug Stompers were one of Beale Street’s most popular jug bands through the 1930s. A few songs Cannon recorded with Cannon’s Jug Stompers are “Minglewood Blues”, “Pig Ankle Strut”, “Wolf River Blues”, “Viola Lee Blues”, “White House Station” and “Walk Right In”, later made into a pop hit by The Rooftop Singers. By the end of the 1930s, Cannon had effectively retired, although he occasionally performed as a solo musician.
Cannon began recording, as “Banjo Joe”, for Paramount Records in 1927. At that session he was backed up by Blind Blake. After the success of the Memphis Jug Band’s first records, he quickly assembled a jug band featuring Noah Lewis and Ashley Thompson (later replaced by Elijah Avery). Cannon’s Jug Stompers first recorded at the Memphis Auditorium for the Victor label in January 1928. Hosea Woods joined the Jug Stompers in the late 1920s, playing guitar, banjo and kazoo, and also providing some vocals.

Born on a plantation at Red Banks, Cannon moved to Clarksdale, Mississippi, then the home of W.C. Handy, at the age of 12. Cannon’s musical skills came without training; he taught himself to play using a banjo that he made from a frying pan and raccoon skin. He ran away from home at the age of fifteen and began his career entertaining at sawmills and levee and railroad camps in the Mississippi Delta around the turn of the century.


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  • PThomasAnderson

    Geniales, por suerte su estílo permanece vivo, gracias a bandas como Carolina Chocolate Drops.

    6 Nov 2011 Reply
  • kshanti

    We still know Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong and a couple of other famous stars from the 1920's and 30's. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Gus Cannon and his buddies, but their music didn't reach part of the white audiences until they were very old men. You can't really compare them to the Beatles, they've been famous in ways the Cannon's Jug Stompers never could have been when they were performing. But hopefully their music will be remembered and preserved as it should be.

    16 Jan 2010 Reply
  • oldhomehaibane

    If current trends are any indication, I think a hell of a lot more people are going to know The Beatles than Cannon's Jug Stompers 79 years from now.

    7 Oct 2009 Reply
  • Dunnemin

    Unbelievable these people were. Last recordings were in the 1930s. Thats 79 years ago!!!! Awesome. I wonder if people know bands like The Beatles, the Stones etc. in 79 year time from now?

    1 Apr 2009 Reply

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