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I'm so blue, my house got washed away. And I'm crying 'How long 'fore another payday? - Barbecue Bob Hicks, Mississippi Heavy Water Blues

Author Topic: Jug Band Waltz source  (Read 304 times)

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Offline arlotone

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Jug Band Waltz source
« on: February 26, 2019, 11:19:51 AM »
I've been wondering about the origin of the Jug Band Waltz by the Memphis Jug Band, recorded in 1928. The Kentucky Waltz recorded by Bill Monroe in 1946 is pretty similar. It's hard to imagine Monroe based his song on that, but I guess it's possible. I imagine it's more likely there was a common melody or chord progression they were both based on. Does anyone know?

Then consider Winterlude recorded by Bob Dylan in 1970. He was probably familiar with both songs; was he copying one or the other, or both, or a common ancestor?





No Dylan on YouTube, but here's a sample clip:
https://www.amazon.com/Winterlude/dp/B008EDFBHW
« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 11:23:27 AM by arlotone »

Offline tmylet

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2019, 01:04:47 PM »
I have no idea about Monroe being influenced by the Memphis Jug Band but he certainly had a big hit with Sitting On Top of the World which originated with the Mississippi Sheiks.
Dr. Tommy

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2019, 07:47:29 AM »
arlotone,
I may be totally off here but listening to it I thought it reminded me of something I'd heard before. It took me all day to realize I was thinking of a version of 'Sweet Bunch of Daisies' by McMichen's Melody Men. Looking it up it looks like it's an old standard from pre 1900 that was first recorded by an old time band in 1925 (Homer Davenport & The Young Brothers Band).

Here's a not very great sounding version of the McMichen's Melody Men version:


Again, I may be totally off but thought I'd share.



Offline Stuart

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2019, 01:01:55 PM »
I imagine it's more likely there was a common melody or chord progression they were both based on. Does anyone know?

I don't know about any specific or generic version that can be definitively said to be the basis, but since waltzes had been around for decades, if not longer, in the U.S. by the 1920s, I agree with you in that there were probably many waltzes, both recorded and played live for dances, that the MJB was familiar with before they composed and recorded the "Jug Band Waltz." Obviously it has the defining features of a waltz, but I'd have to do a lot of listening before either tracing it to or ruling out any extant recorded waltzes that preceded it.

BTW, Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Waltz" is said to have been the inspiration for "The Tennessee Waltz."

Offline arlotone

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2019, 04:07:30 PM »
I may be totally off here but listening to it I thought it reminded me of something I'd heard before. It took me all day to realize I was thinking of a version of 'Sweet Bunch of Daisies' by McMichen's Melody Men.

That's cool! I had a similar experience with Winterlude: after listening to the Jug Band Waltz and Kentucky Waltz, I had this tickle in my brain and kept hearing echoes of another song, but it took a while to remember what it was.

I think the melody of this one is similar, but the chord progression isn't as close a match to the other three songs. I'm not sure where to draw the line on which melodies are related. Maybe someone well-versed in waltzes would say that so many waltzes share a similar melody that, relatively speaking, none of these are anything alike.

In any case, this at least helps put the jug band version into the context of what they'd have been familiar with.


Offline Rivers

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2019, 04:25:09 PM »
You might find this thread interesting that Pan started a while back, it's devoted to waltz time in country blues and covers a lot of ground - https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=3475.msg26393#msg26393

I've added the "waltzes" tag to this thread also.

Offline arlotone

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Re: Jug Band Waltz source
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2019, 08:42:57 PM »
You might find this thread interesting that Pan started a while back, it's devoted to waltz time in country blues and covers a lot of ground

Ah, great. I'll be curious to listen to the examples in that thread and see how different or similar they are to the set I'm looking at here.

Tags: waltzes