Oh man, don' tempt me with jug 'cause I cain't resist, Jeeter! Kickin' off with a Memphis Jug Band version of the chestnut Jug Band Music makes for the perfect expository opening, with Michael Crawley's extremely fluid harmonica flying all over the place. No sooner does the sophomore cut (The Ace) arise, though, than you find the unique element in the Y'uns, who oft take a near-barbershoppy approach in their vocals. When was the last time you heard a barbershop quartet? Well, you don't get it full-on here, but the proximity is tantalizing and fun as hell…as are the several kazoos, sireen, whistles, and even a theremin, f'gawdsakes!
The Y'uns' CD is a collection of covers, many standards, including Roger Miller's truly righteous Chug-a-Lug which gets a mite Ozarky, as you'd expect. The surprise of the potpourri, though, is the Byrds' Hey, Mr. Spaceman, a song never covered enough and more than welcome here. Though jug's frequently endearing for its elements of slop and slur, these guys are tight as an oil drum, well-practiced musicians who take the flip side of the coin and wring it for all the juice inside (Jesus, I think I just made a three-way unaligned metaphor!). The slidey If You're a Viper gets prime treatment, a jazzy boozy ode to reefer that tickles as it wafts through the speakers, and I suggest Jesse Winchester's classic Stems & Seeds as a chaser, if you have it in your collection, but there's an offset as well: Miss the Mississippi is full-on cowboy replete with yodelling. Brought me back to my kid years and Roy Rogers.
The eponymous Y'uns is a great conflation of kindred modes that sit extremely well together and should without reservation please any fan of old-time music. I don't know what it is with the psychedelic Baby Boomers, but as we advance into our early dotage, the generation seems to be taking a Left turn into our parents' and grandparents' musics. Good! Because there was a hell of a lot of great material there. Start here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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