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When you hear Gary play that song 50 years later, or when he was in his prime at whatever time period, and brilliant on top of it, that's a really damaging thing to the head. That causes a lot of people not to be able to play all their creative energy because they're really just playing with their own head - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Fritz Richmond dies  (Read 1995 times)

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Offline Chezztone

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Fritz Richmond dies
« on: November 22, 2005, 12:26:08 PM »
Probably the world's only professional jug player since the 1930s, Fritz Richmond died Sunday here in Portland, where he lived since 1977. He had had lung cancer for about a year. I did get to meet him a few months ago, when he was still up and around, at North Portland's Beaterville Cafe, where he would have breakfast every Friday. He gave me and Taizz some advice on selecting, cleaning and playing a jug. He was very friendly and sharing of his expertise, although low-energy and frail-seeming, probably because of his illness. Not the wild freak I understand he had been. Still had a great smile.
Richmond was born in 1939 in Massachusetts and became part of the folk revival of the '60s. He's most known as the jug and washtub-bass player with Kweskin's Jug Band. A total hipster, he also is credited with popularizing the granny-style sunglasses that are so much an icon of the 1960s! He used to wear them onstage.
In the past few decades he worked occasionally with old buddies John Sebastian, Maria Muldaur et al, and had a band here, the Barbecue Orchestra, that I didn't get to hear. His last public performance was with Geoff Muldaur at the Boston Folk Festival in September 2004.
I haven't heard about funeral arrangements yet; the paper says his wife suggests remembrances go to 1000 Friends of Oregon, a charity I'm not familiar with.
And let's continue his work by appreciating and re-creating the great jug-band music of the 1920s and '30s!
Steve Cheseborough

Offline Johnm

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Re: Fritz Richmond dies
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2005, 01:31:41 PM »
Hi all,
I am real sorry to hear about Fritz Richmond dying.  I saw him play many times with Jim Kweskin in the '60s, and he was an ace musician, not only an excellent jug player, but the best wastub bass player I ever heard (it was not even close to the next best).  He was such a good washtub bass player, in fact, that he was employed as a bass player in many recording sessions, like those with Boston-area Bluegrass groups like the Lilly Brothers and Bill Keith & Jim Rooney, in which a washtub bass would never normally be used.  He was an awfully good musician who also communicated something really good from the stage, usually without speaking at all.  He will be missed.
All best,

Offline Cleoma

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Re: Fritz Richmond dies
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2005, 02:36:17 PM »
I got the chance to play a little bit of music with Fritz during the last few years. I even got to record with him, on my own CD and then last year on Maria Muldaur's Cd -- that might've been his last session.???I only wish I could have connected with him many years before that but I feel so thankful that I was lucky enough to get to play any music with him at all.  It was an honor and a joy to play music beside him.  Besides being the king of the jug, his washtub bass playing was unbelieveable. He really played it like a real instrument, beautiful tone, pitch perfect, right in sync with Geoff.  Sad doesn't even begin to express how I feel.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Fritz Richmond dies
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2005, 02:40:44 PM »
Re. cleaning a jug. John Sebastian's website at has a section called Fritz's Column by Fritz Richmond. Click on the link for that and then click on the second diamond near the top left of the page (I know, I know, but someone went Shockwave nuts), and you will get a column from Fritz called Making a Jug, which describes what to look for in jugs, how to clean them and care for them (but alas, not how to play them like Fritz). There are a few other reminiscences from him there as well.

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: Fritz Richmond dies
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2005, 06:13:13 PM »
Sad news indeed. He was a huge inspiration to me personally even though I never met him.
     Although he seems to be more well-known for his jug playing, he was, hands down the greatest Washtub Bassist ever.
  JohnM hit the nail on the head. Second best wouldn't even be remotely close.

  I learned earlier today that one of the Rock Guitar Heros of my youth, Link Wray, died this past weekend.
  I read earler today, on a Newsgroup I subscribe to, that Chris Whitley has just passed away today.

  Now this very sad news about one of the unsung heros, Fritz Richmond.

Offline book

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Re: Fritz Richmond dies
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2005, 01:12:11 PM »
Steve, Too bad Fritz is gone......I sent you a new cd a few months ago and it came back to me......did I re-send?  Not sure If I have your address.......Roy BB
Roy BB

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