"The kings of 100% acoustic folk-skiffle-swing holiday
Christmas Jug Band CD Reviews:
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Greatest near Misses (Best Of...)"]
"Jugology - Greatest near Misses (Best Of...)":
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CHRISTMAS JUG BAND/Jugology: Not to be confused with ISP's Jugalos, this bunch of Bay Area merry pranksters
finally decide it's time to make their first greatest hits set since their inception in 1986, and they include
the bonus unreleased tracks just like the big kids do. A wild ride of hokum powered by some of the all stars you've
been digging in the background all these years, they aren't kidding about being a jug band if you've been so far
unexposed. A gasser for anyone with a sense of humor, this isn't a novelty record but it sure is a one of a kind
collection. Trust me, almost every house needs this in it's Christmas music collection. Killer stuff from the
hippie/beatnik left field.
Press Play: 'Jugology,' best of the Christmas Jug Band
Country Standard Time
Marin's perennial Christmas Jug Band has just released "Jugology," its first "best of"
collection of holiday chestnuts from its albums "Mistletoe Jam," "Treeside Hoot," "Rhythm
on the Roof," "Uncorked" and "On the Holiday Highway."
"Jugology," subtitled "Greatest Near Misses/Best Of," features 19 classic seasonal songs
from 1986 to 2009 led by the festively funny "Santa Lost a Ho," and including the classics
"Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," "Rudolph the
Bald-Headed Reindeer," "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus," "Hey Santa" and "Santa Don't Do It."
As a bonus stocking stuffer, the Globe Records collection includes two tunes previously
unavailable on CD, LP or download: "Santa Claus Is My Main Man" and the Marin drought
inspired "I'm Dreamin' of a Wet Christmas."
Described as "the kings of 100 percent acoustic folk-skiffle-swing holiday high jinks,"
the musicians, some of the Bay Area's finest, perform on washboard, drums, guitars,
percussion, kazoos, slide whistles, jaw harp, washtub bass, jug, accordions, autoharp,
harmonica, piano, tenor sax, soprano sax, alto sax, baritone sax, clarinet, chromatic
harmonica, recorder, trumpet and mandolin.
The lineup: Gregory Leroy "Duke" Dewey (Mad River, Country Joe & the Fish), Tim Eschliman
(Etta James, Commander Cody, Rhythmtown-Jive), Austin deLone (Elvis Costello, Fabulous
Thunderbirds), Dan Hicks, Paul Wenninger, Nicholas Q "Notjoe" Dewey, Ken "Turtle"
Vandermarr, Paul Rogers (Those Darn Accordions), Blake Richardson, Jim Rothermel (Van
Morrison), Lance Dickerson (Commander Cody & Lost Planet Airmen), Nik Phelps, Ken
"Snakebite" Jacobs (Kinky Friedman) and guests, Norton Buffalo, Angela Strehli and Maria
If you're tired of eggnog-sweet Christmas music, then you need "Jugology" under your tree
and in your ears.
Many times when tracking holiday albums, artists will include either a funny or overtly
religious Christmas tune, right along with the usual familiar aural wrappings. Christmas
Jug Band, however, has taken the Weird Al approach to tracking their seasonal album, as
all of these songs are either fun or funny. The disc is mainly a collection of previous
released holiday tunes plus two previously unreleased songs.
A dead giveaway about this album's fast and frivolous tone is the presence of Dan Hicks.
He sings lead on six songs, including the accordion-laced, call-and-response approach of
"Christmas Time Is Here."
Also, unlike the majority of holiday albums where the song choices are mostly retreads and
reruns, there are very few overly familiar tracks on this disc. One finds "I Want A
Hippopotamus for Christmas," which has appeared on a few country Christmas albums of late,
and a new take on Rudolph's story with "Rudolf the Bald Headed Reindeer." But for the most
part, this should be a lot of new music for most.
This group is stocked with like-minded musicians that like to throw a little swing into
their season. For instance, Maria Muldaur boogies and woogies with "Boogie Woogie Santa
Claus." This music is so lively at times you may even forget you're listening to a
Christmas album. And maybe that's the whole point. Why do people need to suddenly act all
holy and righteous during the Christmas season when they're usually not that way at all
the rest of the year? If you want to laugh and dance your way into Dec. 25, Christmas Jug
Band's "Jugology" is your golden ticket.
Many people, when they think of Christmas music, think of the same traditional, well-loved
but well-worn songs we hear year after year. Other lucky people think of The Christmas Jug Band.
The Christmas Jug Band has included many musicians over the years. This collection lists
23 in the credits. Seventeen of the 19 songs included come from the albums Mistletoe Jam,
Treeside Hoot, Rhythm On The Roof, Uncorked, and On The Holiday Highway, recorded between
1986-2009. The other two songs are new, never available for download or on CD. These two
new songs are "Santa Claus Is My Main Man" and "I'm Dreamin' Of a Wet Christmas," and they
fit into the fun and funny mode of the rest of the Jug Band's stuff.
The musical style here is typical jug band, a sort of jazzy swing. The lyrics are playful,
funny, and sometimes slightly naughty. For instance, one of this reviewer's favorite
Christmas songs of all time is the suggestive "Santa Lost a Ho," with vocalist Dan Hicks
singing the irrepressible tune. It tells the tale of how Santa suffered an unprecedented
loss. ("He never had a doll go AWOL once he had her in the sack.") That's as naughty as it
gets, so if you can handle that you can handle The Christmas Jug Band.
Other favorites here include "Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," "Hey! Santa," and the
band's unique take on "Carolin'." Then there is "S.A.N.T.A. (Gloria)," which you may
recognize as the raver by Van Morrison and Them from back in the day. You will never hear
it the same again.
There are a few less deliciously silly moments, like a dynamic version of "Boogie Woogie
Santa Claus" with vocals by Maria Muldaur, and a relatively straight rendition of "I Saw
Mommy Kissing Santa Claus." "Jug Band Romance" is a sweet little song about a Christmas
Eve Jug Band romance in the '20s. Then there is the certainly silly enough "I Want a
Hippopotamus for Christmas," which just does not work as well when sung by grown men.
I firmly believe that even Scrooge before his ghostly visits would have had to laugh along
with The Christmas Jug Band. It's the perfect holiday record unless your friends are
incredibly uptight. And why would you have friends like that?
Get this CD and get ready to sing and dance along all the way to Christmas day.
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"On The Holiday Highway"]
"On The Holiday Highway":
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Ladies & gentlemen, get ready for well over an hour (73 minutes!) of jug-infused revelry. The incredible
Christmas Jug Band made merry with prior holiday releases (Rhythm on the Roof and Uncorked); now here comes
the CJB with its brand new, fresh-off-the-presses On the Holiday Highway, and it's a hootin', hollerin'
shot-in-the-pants. In fact, the very first track is appropriately Shoot 'Em in the Pants, not exactly your
traditional entree into a holiday album, but there you have it. A honky-tonkin' romp that comes complete with
the accordion, kazoo, slide whistles, and washboard! Just because these guys are having way too much fun,
never mistake the shenanigans for poor musicianship. The CJB is talented every which way, and these live
performances (recorded 2006-08) make it amply clear that their audiences recognize and greatly appreciate the
CJB's entertaining talents and free-spirited creativity. Count me on that list--I'm a believer!
On the Holiday Highway is crazy good; the songs are cross-genre wonders blending rockabilly, jazz, salsa, and
the kitchen sink. Every track caught my attention; the CJB delivers innovative new compositions and perfect
parodies, pumping holiday themes into old classics like "My Blue Heaven." The ambiance is whimsical, bluesy,
and perhaps a little boozy, and everything clicks with first-rate, folksy professionalism.
This music is fantastic and fun; my toes were tapping throughout. Bored of routine, done-to-death, Christmas
music drivel? Crank up your audio system and give the CJB's On the Holiday Highway a whirl. What a ride!
It isn't Thanksgiving yet, but the Christmas Jug Band has already fired up its musical sleigh to deliver this year's hilarious holiday CD.
The purveyors of 100 percent acoustic seasonal skiffle, Santa-swing and jingle bell rockabilly are heading for your chimney with this live CD,
recorded during seven shows at four different venues from 2006 through '08.
Spanning almost 73 risible minutes, the 16 tongue-in-cheek tunes that grace "On the Holiday Highway" include "Santa's Going Crazy This Year,"
"Santa's on the Mainline," "Christmas in the Bottle" and "Dirty Claus Rag." For stocking stuffers, they throw in chestnuts like "High Stack O' Presents,"
"Christmas Iz Comin'" and the hearth-warming "Shoot 'Em in the Pants."
features the usual suspects: Dan Hicks, Austin de Lone, Tim Eschliman, Jim Rothermel, Paul Rogers, Turtle Vandermarr, Blake Richardson,
Gregory Leroy Dewey, Ken Jacobs, Anthony Paule, Bowen Brown and who knows who else. Special guests this year are Country Joe McDonald,
Mike Duke, Dan Hicks' Lickettes and the late Norton Buffalo.
Make no mistake, the Jug Band may be jokey, but its venerable members are some of the best musicians in the Bay Area and beyond. This could very
well take its place with "Mistletoe Jam," a previous CD, as Midwest Record Recap's "alternative Christmas record of the year." Whether your naughty
or nice, you'd be wise to put "On the Holiday Highway" on your wish list.
Seasonal/Holiday Music/Jug Band
Wired, Underwire, "The Beat Goes On"
OMG if you are planning a raucous party that needs canned music for the Holiday, this is the CD for you. With notable greats from the SF Bay area
including Country Joe McDonald and Dan Hicks to name just a couple. Funny, groovy, rockin', anything but reverent,
this mix was recorded live to rambunctious crowds of Jugband lovers. It catches the essence of jug music AND the holidays. Who'da thunk it was possible?
You will laugh at the corny jokes and be amazed at the instrumental ability of these fine musicians. With titles like "Shoot 'em In The Pants",
Santa's Going Crazy This Year", "Christmas In The Bottle", "Dirty Claus Rag", and "High Stack of Presents", well, you get the idea what you are
in for. Some kinda fun.
...Twisted traditional tunes and loads of witty originals about boozy holidaze, elfin insurrection and the pressures of being Santa Claus
in the run-up to Christmas Eve's big show. (Is this the first band to rhyme isthmus with Christmas?....
One song, the hilarious "Santa Lost a Ho" from the 2002 record Uncorked album, made
All Songs Considered Holiday Music Mix '09.
Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Kick out the jugs, motherfu...oh wait, I think the MC5 were referring to something else. Hey, jug is always
good for what ails ya, right? I mean, who the hell can be sad when a jug band's around? No one, brethren and
sistren, and so, in this dark period of governo-corporate shenanigans, your best bet for a health care plan
leading to a happy mind and body is exactly this kind of music. Lucky for you, it just so happens that the
Christmas Jug Band, which issues only one disc a year, is here to supply what Doctor Feelgood prescribes. You
may not have been too aware of them in the past, but Dan Hicks is a member, and his Lickettes join in along
with Norton Buffalo, Mike Duke, and Country Joe McDonald, all of whom who have been digging this San Fran
group for a while now.
Music News Nashville
With titles like Santa's Going Crazy This Year, Shoot 'Em in the Pants, and Evathang Gonna be All Right, you
know you're not exactly in for a high holy Mass, so loosen up them suspenders, Jeeter, grab a beer, and mosey
over to the sofa or dance floor for some hijinks inside some what they call 'Seasonal Skiffle-Swing and
Jug-Infused Revelry'. At a long 73 minutes, you're in for a treat replete with kazoo, washboard, slide
whistle, and all the genre paraphernalia. Along the way, expect lampoons of standards chockablock with a lotta
The entire gig is live and would be right at home opening for a Jimmy Buffet tour. As the band numbers a dozen
members, there's always a full sound and plenty of barrelhouse, boogie, and N'awleans sassafrassin' lifting
the likker jar right beside jug(gernaut) numbers. A lil' perky SF soul makes its way into Oh, Saint Nick and a
few other cuts, and one of the liner snaps has the crew looking like a cross between a fire brigade and Devo!!
Not odd enough for ya? Then also expect a kazoo/clarinet inclusion of Duelin' Banjos in Jug Band Romance.
Can't have Xmas without that!
Sometimes Holiday albums can be a dime a dozen. How many ways can Rudolph win over his friends, or the Three
Wise Men come to town bearing gifts? Sometimes, Christmas albums need to be a little different. Enter this
disc, recorded live in Northern California, that just might be one of the more eclectic albums of the season
ever released. Featuring some kazoo (yes, you're reading this right) work from Commander Cody's Tim
Eschliman, it will definitely get your toe tapping.
Another highlight of the album is the groovin' "Carolin," which adds to the party scene on the album with some
fun vocals from Eschliman. One of my favorite ones is the bluesy "Santa's Going Crazy This Year," as well as
the hilarious "Jolly Ol' Soul" and the somewhat tacky yet fun "Christmas In The Bottle."
No, this is not your grandmother's Perry Como Yuletide offering from 1962, but if you like things just a
little irreverent---where the music at your gathering isn't just background music-----this one could be right
up your alley, oops...I mean chimney!
Just what would you expect Christmas with Dan Hicks and a load of
pals to sound like? Why speculate when you can crack open this old timey/hokum date of snappy playing jive and fun.
Opening up with the holiday classic "Shoot Em in the Pants" and going from there with kazoos a flyin', the bay area
bunch certainly give the holidays a different spin. Unyielding fun stuff that's getting my holiday season off to an
appropriate and zany start. Check it out and see if this isn't the left of center holiday release you've been
George W. Harris,
Well, there are Christmas records, and there are Christmas records.
Some celebrate Christ's birth, other's give tribute to St. Nick. And
then there's this one with Norton Buffalo, Country Joe McDonald, Mike
Duke and Dan Hick's Lickettes, which simply use the holidays as another
reason for having a good time. The originals (and I mean ORIGINALS) by
the Jug Band mix Skiffle with good natured Hot Club Swing. The songs
were recorded between 06 and 08, mixing peppy instrumentals with
sardonic seasonal greetings. Songs like Oh, St. Nick" and "High Stack
O' Presents" aren't going to make you break into "O Holy Night" or look
for something under the tree, but they'll sure make the office
Christmas Party go a lot easier. As fun as being tied under the
The long-running acoustic-folk-swing-rockabillly-Dixieland-Americana and yes, jug band combo made up of
well-known San Franciscan musicians is back for 2009 with an album recorded live over the past couple of
seasons, compiling parody songs, some originals, and a fair amount of jug band jamming...
Things kick off with the instrumental "Shoot 'Em In the
Pants," swinging into some originals, including "Carolin'," "This Christmas Night" and "Santa's Going Crazy
This Year." "Jolly Ol' Soul" features Dan Hicks taking off on "My Blue Heaven," and later "Santa, the Man,"
based on "Song For My Father." Tim Eschliman gets into the act with "High Stack o' Presents" based on "High
Blood Pressure," plus "Santa's on the Mainline," from the song originally about Jesus. Country Joe McDonald
stops by with "Dirty Claus Rag," and the crew brings us a blues boogie, "Christmas in the Bottle," about an
alcoholic holiday. As an antidote, they also bring us "Xmas Anonymous." All told, another light-hearted romp
from some West Coast experts in old-school American music.
Chico News & Review - In the Mix
The Christmas Jug Band's Holiday Highway is a collection of the band's live performances from the
last three years. Offering what they're pleased to call "seasonal skiffle-swing and
jugabilly-infused revelry," the 16 songs here (nine of them originals) definitely live up to that
billing. The 12 musicians are featured in a variety of formats and on various instruments (e.g., accordion,
kazoo, slide whistle, soprano sax, jug, flute, clarinet, guitar and piano) that, with the witty lyrics,
conspire to ease one through the holidays.
Dr. Christmas' annual CD review - Applleton, WI Post-Crescent
...they've been making their brand of holiday joy and foolishness for some time. "On The Holiday Highway" is their
5th seasonal CD, consisting of excerpts from live performances recorded in 2006 through 2008. Many of the songs
are originals, and all are crazy fun, so if you
prefer washboard and kazoo to handbell and pipe organ, here's your CD.
This is a fun, tongue-in-cheek collaboration by several San Francisco
luminaries, including Dan Hicks, Country Joe McDonald and the late Norton Buffalo, trying to get their holiday jollies in concert.
Dig the parodies ("Santa, the Man"), clever reworkings ("Santa's on the Mainline") and delightful originals
("Santa's Going Crazy This Year")...
Bets: Samantha Campos
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle jugabilly!
Irreverence and merriment--it's what they do. Yes, it's time for the CHRISTMAS JUG BAND--that motley
crew of jugabillians and notable Bay Area musicians who, like most great American pioneers, got their
start from "a Wild Turkey-inspired momentary lapse of sanity." And now, four albums and 30 years of
fruitcakes later, the Christmas Jug Band is an indisputably unconventional holiday tradition of
folk-skiffle-swing jug band merriment from the North Pole to Marin and beyond.
Bud, East Bay Express,
Full of witty renditions of holiday-themed tunes, this album will get anyone into the true spirit of the season....
will have you giggling into your eggnog in no time. An excellent antidote to seasonal stress.
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Johnny Memphis, WSRI radio, Northampton, MA
"This is the best Christmas record of the year by far."
Jeff Lindholm (Charlottesville, VA), Dirty Linen, Dec, 2003
"Dig "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus"
with Maria Muldaur and Angela
Strehli wailing like Andrews Sisters'
kin. Dig "Santa Lost a Ho" (as in "ho
ho ho," you nasty kid). Dig the kiddie-level wordplay of "I Want a
Hippopotamus for Christmas" as
Norton Buffalo honks his harmonica.
With Dan Flicks, Lost Planet Airmen
drummer Lance Dickerson, and lots of
Austin irregulars, this one's got a
swinging, jivin' retro feel. And, with
the exception of a Salvation Army-esque "Silent Night," if you don't
listen to the (way funny) lyrics, you'd
never know this was Christmas music.
So save this one 'til the folks go home,
then tear up the rug"
ChristmasReviews.com -- 2002
Summary: Clever, lyrical, folky swing
James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle,
SF Gate --Dec. 19, 2002
It's easy to get lost in the craft of this record--
the musicianship and the clever tunes--
but eventually one gets around to posing the musical question: why are these folks called The Christmas Jug Band, and
why don't they ever play Austin? Maybe that's really two questions, and I don't have an answer for either, but if they
need a little validation in order to work up the courage to quit their day jobs, I'm here to offer it.
Actually, I've been listening to a couple of these wily veterans since the '70s, Dan Hicks' in particular. What you have
here is an assortment of their styles and licks, even better than their last offering, and almost off the scale,
I liked every song on the record, so it is unfair point to any one as being substantially better than the others. But if
I mention Angela Strehli and Maria Muldaur's rendition of Boogie Woogie Santa Claus, it would only be because it might
positively affect the search engine rankings. Besides, I've always liked Ms. Strehli best of all the Austin-based blues
singers. Her voice still has that throaty sexiness, and its pairing with the somewhat deeper textured voice of Maria
Muldaur is inspired.
Also… Dan Hicks' These Christmas Blues makes a credible blues anthem. Tim Eschliman's adaptation of Don't They
Know It's Christmas is an amusing encapsulation of the Jug Band's stylistic melange. Santa Lost a Ho is just odd. And
even the obligatory Silent Night offers a change of pace.
Bottom line: this wide-ranging CD, includes blues, swing, and folk elements (in other words, all of the important
musical genres), filled with clever new tunes and clever renditions of others, from Dan Hicks and his juggy band of
merry misfits. What more could you ask for, for Christmas?
(Reviewed in 2002)
You too can be a jug-head this Christmas
NY Daily News --
"Marin's Christmas Jug Band features some of the area's finest -- and nuttiest -- musicians,
including veterans of Those Darn Accordions!, Commander Cody's Lost Planet Airmen and backing bands
for that noted humorist Van Morrison.
By rights the joke should be wearing pretty thin: It's been 25 years since the group's impromptu
origins and 15 since the release of its first seasonal
But the band's latest set of cockeyed Christmas jingles might be its best yet. The jug-band
atmosphere -- washboards, kazoos, wood blocks and clarinet are just a few of the ornaments -- is as
cheery and tipsy as the lyrics.
'Santa Lost a Ho' is an instant classic, and the Tom Lehrer-esque lawn-decor satire, "Plant a
Santa," is right behind. Best of all in this season of overfamiliarity, the songs are mostly
originals. The group rummaged the attic for the Marx Brothers absurdity 'I Want a Hippopotamus for
Christmas.' The sole standard, 'Silent Night,' gets a typically playful two-step arrangement.
In between showcase gigs at watering holes in its own backyard, the band also helps celebrate
'Holidaze in Hicksville' with longtime member Dan Hicks on Saturday at the Fillmore. Plenty of
excuses to hit the Christmas jug."
Christmas Jug Band, 9 p.m. Friday at Rose Pub and Restaurant, 2074 Armory Dr., Santa Rosa. $12.
(707) 546-7673. 9 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday at Sweetwater, 153 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley.
$10. (415) 388-2820 or www.sweetwatersaloon.com.
Good-natured, old-time irreverence, in music and lyrics,
makes this record fun without being strictly a novelty..."
Midwest Record Recap --
"Peopled and fueled by the people that make the
music behind many of your fave front persons, this highly skewed Christmas
set is a hoot. Recording together again in the first time in forever, this
bunch of fun by some of the greatest names from 70's blues, rock and pop
will blow you away because it's done outside the system with an attitude to
match. With a songbag that pulls from many outlaw quandrants (like the Marx
Bros.), there's nothing here that adults won't find a great break from "Deck
the Halls". Let the good times roll."
Slipcue.Com Guide To Hick Music,
Recommended Records --
"A great, groovy, well-produced and really good-natured set of original roots-blues holiday tunes...
The album kicks off with
the off-color "Santa Lost A Ho" and zips through a series of similarly silly, likeable novelty tunes. The players are
cherry-picked from the ranks of overly-talented Bay Area musicians -- mostly fellows whose names you wouldn't recognize,
though roots divas Maria Muldaur and Angela Strehli drop in for a duet on "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus" and Norton Buffalo
resurfaces for "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" (don't play this song for your kids: they'll only get ideas!) Overall,
this is a really fun album... If you want a little break from the saccharine blechiness that passes for yuletide cheer,
then this is a disc that may make your holidays fun again...!"
Paul Libertore, Marin Independent Journal --
"I pulled out my stash of Christmas albums and started chuckling straight away over the Christmas
Jug Band's brand new CD, 'Uncorked,' featuring the sure-to-be hit single, 'Santa Lost a HO,' written by Paul Rogers
of Those Darn Accordions. 'We're trying to help Santa out, so we're calling our holiday gigs
"The Looking for the Lost Ho Tour,"' said the Jug Band's Tim Eschliman, who produced the
all-acoustic album at Boomtown Studio in Sausalito with the legendary engineer Fred Catero at the board."
Joseph Jordan, Southland Blues, The National Scene
"HOLIDAY FUN: From Marin County, California, with love, comes the latest unrepressed winter
wonderland recording by the wacky Christmas Jug Band. Entitled, "Uncorked" and featuring the
"smash" hit, "Santa Lost a Ho," this kick-in-the-Christmas-pants features such great musicians as
Dan Hicks (yes, that Dan Hicks,) Norton Buffalo, Paul Rogers, Austin deLone, Maria Muldaur, Angela
Strehli, Mike Duke and singer/producer Tim Eschliman (on whose Globe Records label the CD has been
released.) Including musical genres such as jazz, blues, folk & rock n' roll, and instruments
ranging from autoharp to washtub bass, it's hecka more fun than roasting chestnuts, Christmas trees
on fire or a fat men stuck in chimneys. Rating: Five holiday stars.
"Christmastime elicits a host of beloved holiday activities: tree trimming, eggnog drinking and gift
giving to name a few. For many, being bombarded with saccharine-laced holiday songs does not make
the list cherished winter memories. If you are one of these people, and find that your 400th
listening to 'Greensleeves' while at the mall has you ready to go grinch, stop shopping and head to
a Christmas Jug Band concert.
What began as a whiskey-fueled lark (the group was originally known as the Monday Night Wild Turkey
Jug Band), has become a 25-year holiday tradition. The group plays its share of holiday standards,
but makes its mark with original tongue-in-cheek odes to the season such as 'Santa Lost a Ho' and
'Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas.' The changing cast of musicians includes players who have
workeded alongside the likes of Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Etta James and many others. The Jug
Band backs up its lyrics with an entertaining blend of country, blues, skiffle and rock, a mix you
can hear on its latest collection of left-field Christmas songs, 'Uncorked.' The recording features
guest spots by such luminaries as harmonica hero Norton Buffalo, R&B singers Maria Muldaur and
Angela Strehli and Bay Area fixture Dan Hicks. With numerous shows over the holiday season, you'll
have plenty of chances to catch the Jug Band. If you haven't already, be sure to make it a holiday
"Uncorked" is a great alt-Christmas album. It's just the ticket for holiday parties and if you're
tired of that cute arff, arff, arff rendition of "Jingle Bells" that blasts from the town square,
but want something a bit more cheerful than "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," "Uncorked" is the
Ed Will, Denver Post
The Christmas Jug Band formed 25 years ago during a momentary lapse of sanity-at least that's what
the members of the group will tell you. The rumor with the most credence claims that this bunch of
single musicians were feeling kinda blue one holiday season, so trekked down to their local pub and
started performing. Now, after 25 years, it's a tradition. Made up of mostly Marin County
(California) musicians, the players get together only during the holidays. The few original members
who have moved away don't make it every year, but the show does go on as new recruits fill in the
holes and make for an even bigger sound when the originals are in town. The group's first album
"Mistletoe Jam" was released in 1987 on Globe Records.
The all-acoustic multi-instrumental skiffle-swing combo is made up of Mr. Alt-Christmas Joy
himself-the veritable Dan Hicks; Austin De Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello); Tim Eschliman
(Commander Cody, Etta James, Rhythmtown-Jive); Paul Rogers (Those Darn Accordions); Jim Rothermel
(Van Morrison, Jess Colin Young); Lance Dickerson ( David Bromberg,
Commander Cody) and Blake Richardson.
The music is jug band hybrid. In addition to using traditional instruments like guitar, accordion,
saxophone, drums, etc, etc, there's washboard, jaw harp, and everything right down to hammering on
the kitchen table.
Also featured on the "Uncorked" CD are original members Paul Wenninger and Nick and Greg Dewey.
Special guests include Norton Buffalo, Angela Strehli and Maria Muldaur.
Hicks, Rogers, De Lone and Eschliman all contribute original songs and there are makeovers and
renaming of tunes like Freddie King's "Lonesome Reindeer Blues" and the Brook and Dinah classic
"Santa, You've Got What It Takes."
Standouts are De Lone's "Hey, Santa" a smooth piano swing tune; a classic Hicks number "These
Christmas Blues"; and Eschliman's "Don't They Know It's Christmas" which includes excerpts from
"Subterranean Homesick Blues," "For What It's Worth," and "The End of the World." Sound interesting?
You bet it is. Tune in to "Santa, You Got What It Takes" and you'll know what a great party album
this will be for office or home. Add it to your collection.
On Globe Records and available at
If you happen to be in the San Francisco
area Dec. 22 and 23, you can catch the Christmas Jug Band at Mill Valley's
Sweetwater. (full schedule here)
Formed 25 years ago as a Wild Turkey-fueled romp, this irreverent crew these days includes founding
member Dan Hicks and Commander Cody alumni, plus such special guests as harmonica hero Norton
Buffalo and R&B singers Maria Muldaur and Angela Strehli. "Uncorked," the latest skewed
Christmas set, is a hoot, filled with clever new tunes (the odd "Santa Lost a Ho") and off-center
renditions of others, offered in a melange of blues, swing and folk styles.
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Rhythm On The Roof]
"Rhythm on the Roof":
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UPI Arts & Entertainment --
It's Only Rock & Roll: Dec 11, 1997
The New Christmas Jug Band CD,
"Rhythm on the Roof" (#GLO-020):
"When it comes to Christmas, Rupaul doesn't have a corner on camp, as the Christmas Jug
demonstrates on its third album, "Rhythm on the Roof". This collection of San Francisco
"jug-a-billy" musicians has been performing holiday concerts with a zany twist in the Bay
Area over the last 20 years and present newly-appropriate material here such as 'Santa
Don't Do It' and 'Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas'."
USA Today, Life Section, Pop/Rock reviews -- D.Z.:
Dec 8, 97
"Christmas Jug Band, Rhythm on the Roof: Fun guys give an offbeat twist with originals and
parodies. Instruments include washtub bass and coat hangers. "
Tony Mastrianni, The Record Finder, Albany,
NY Nov 28, 97
"Tired of traditional Christmas Music? Try on The Christmas Jug Band's "Rhythm on the
Roof." This Globe Records release is a down home 'Frisco jugabilly holiday mix that
combines parody with traditional. No amateurs here - just Dan Hicks himself and an array
of sidemen who have played backing up such top-notch performers as Etta James, Norton
Buffalo, Commander Cody, et al."
Bill Wasserzieher, Southland Blues, Dec 97
"...a bar-full of Marin County musicians including Dan Hicks, Norton Buffalo, Paul Rogers,
and Austin deLone, crooning their shaggy heads off on various seasonal favorites and
whatever appropriate new tunes they roughed up in 10 minutes-or-so of preparation. They've
actually been getting together for a decade(2) and this is their 3rd mistletoe release. If
you remember the Rhino holiday compilation, Bummed-Out Christmas, that's the Christmas Jug
Band kicking things off with "Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit". This time out we get
Hicks leading the choir on four songs, including "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,"
"I Know What I'm Gettin'," and a loopy version of "Your Red Wagon" that's so funky you'll
just about smell it. There's also a send-up "Mr. Sandman" as "Mr Santa" that qualifies as
a hoot-'n'-a-half, and a tune titled "Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas" that calls out
for heavy airplay. There's also a rasty cover of Charles Brown's "Merry Christmas baby."
Think of this collection as big-time fun in the form of woozy vocals accompanied by
harmonicas, rubboards, washtub basses, jugs, kazoos, accordions, and scuffed-up guitars."
Richard Harrington, Washington Post, Dec
"The third seasonal album from an ad hoc Mill Valley, Calif., skiffle/swing ensemble that
includes a still distinctive Dan Hicks (lead vocalist on five tracks, composer of several)
and hot licks on various acoustic instruments (washboard included...). With parody
abounding ("Mr. Sandman" recast as "Mr. Santa"), the standards are low
enough to also include "Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our Christmas" and "Santa,
Don't Do It."
Philip Elwood, San Francisco Examiner, Dec
Toe-tapping fun: LET THE good times roll! The Christmas Jug Band seems to be here, there
everywhere around the Bay these holiday season nights (they're at Sweetwater on Saturday,
Sunday and Monday). Playing to a near-capacity house at Freight & Salvage on Tuesday,
the good ol' Jug Band -- a full-blown and hard blowing swing octet with Dan Hicks leading
the charge -- near to tore-up such festive yuletide numbers as "Winter
Wonderland" (played cha-cha or mambo style with muted trumpeter Nik Phelps featured),
"Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'," with two accordions (Paul Rogers, Austin
deLone) joining in, and "Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit," guitarist Bill
DeKuiper featured in accompanying Hicks' droll vocal. With a new CD on the market
("be sure you mention that" said Hicks) and a delightful combination of tight
arrangements, new and traditional tunes -- traditional by Jug Band standards -- this show
is much the best yet. They play and sing "Mr. Santa" to an R&B beat (it's
"Mr. Sandman," of course) and feature accordion, kazoo and trumpet in a clever
arrangement of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- falsetto vocal by
Hicks, backed by the Jug Band Mumbling Four. A new number, "Washboard Road," by
guitarist, jaw-harpist, percussionist, straw-boss Tim Eschliman, features the composer as
well as drummer Lance Dickerson on washboard, clanging bell and other percussion devices
-- it's a four-beat "Chicago Southside-Shanghai Nitespot" number. "Gee,
Rudolph, Ain't I Good to You," (Hicks' variation on the old "Gee, Baby, Ain't I
Good To You," gives some space to Blake Richardson on string and washtub bass, and
along the way various novelty numbers, clever instrumental juxtapositions and outrageous
lyrics (like George "Commander Cody" Frayne's "Daddy's Drinkin' Up Our
Christmas") contribute to a grand evening of good-time holiday music."
Silke Tudor, SF Weekly, San Francisco,
Dec 16, '97
"Born out of the Old Mill Tavern music scene in Marin, the Christmas Jug Band has been
celebrating the holiday season, in one incarnation or another, for the past two decades.
This year's manifestation includes Dan Hicks, former host of the Old Mill's infamous open
mike; Paul Rogers from Those Darned Accordions; Tim Eschliman from Etta James' band;
Austin DeLone from Nick Lowe's band; Lance Dickerson from Commander Cody's Lost Planet
Airmen; Nick Phelps from Club Foot Orchestra and Tom Waits' band; Norton Buffalo from
Steve Miller's band; Gregory Leroy Dewey from Country Joe & the Fish; Bill DeKuiper;
and Blake Richardson. With these boys, the holiday blues are literally just that --
backwater renderings of Christmas sing-alongs that will have you doing the roadhouse
hip-shake before Santa can say ho. The Christmas Jug Band celebrates the release of its
third CD, Rhythm on the Roof, on radio show West Coast Live (KALW-FM 91.7; or attend the
live taping at Fort Mason) on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 10 a.m"
David Hinckley, Daily News Staff Writer,
New York Daily News, Nov 29, 97:
"Hark! Do You Hear What I Hear?: Grading new Christmas albums on a silver bell curve-
Scoring 2 1/2 Bells: The Christmas Jug Band, "Rhythm On the Roof" (Globe).
Second CJB record has its moments -- "The Real Deal" or "Mr. Santa" to
the tune of "Mr. Sandman."
Aaron Beck, Columbus Dispatch, Ohio,
@Dec 10, '97
"Offbeat slants celebrating the season continue with San Francisco's Christmas Jug Band
and it's Rhythm on the Roof. The jugabilly conglomerate - which features Dan Hicks, paul
Rogers, Tim Eschliman, Lance Dickerson, et al. performing all-acoustic renditions of
traditional songs - has been playing in Bay Area Christmas shows for more than 20 years."
Geoff Gehman, The Morning Call,
Allentown PA, Dec 7, '97
"Veteran acousticians serve spiked eggnog. Imagine 'Winter Wonderland' in Latin America.
'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' in a doo-wop corner, Dan Hick's hangdog suavity
is dandy, Norton Buffalo's 'If I Don't Have a Chimney' is effortless country, No. 1 number
is 'Santa Don't Do It.' a bodacious campaign to stop Mr. Claus from obeying Mrs. Claus'
order that he 'lose the beard or sleep with the reindeer.' Yes, indeed, Santa's got
another brand new bag."
Do You Hear What I Hear. [ full review ]
"This is a very fun record. These guys don't take themselves or the Christmas season too seriously, and they
have done a great job conveying a goofy merriment that me and mine will be listening to through
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Pamela Winters, Dirty Linen
"A 'Tree-Side Hoot' is what the Christmas Jug Band, the 'kings of skiffle-swing
holiday highjinks,' inspires with its annual Christmas Eve concert at
in Mill Valley, CA....the Jug Band is a party band par excellence, and this live recording
will do more than Uncle
Bobby's eggnog to make you merry. Selections range from the predictable 'Jingle Bell
Rock' to the inspired 'S.A.N.T.A. (Gloria)' (which Van Morrison might've thought of himself
if he'd gone to more frat
parties) to the possibly blasphemous (but very funny) 'Rockin' the Nativity Scene.'... a cup
of good cheer."
Chris Lunn, Victory Review
This is like a jam of musicians after a Victory Open Mike at a local pub. Dan
Hicks, Gregory Leroy Dewey, Tim Eschliman, Austin Delone., Ken Vandemarr, Paul
Rogers, Jim Rothermel, Blake Richards are the perpetrators of this live at the
Sweetwater Christmas eve. The delight is the funky feel that lives between jug band
and Dixieland as war-horses like 'Jingle Bell Rock', 'Let It
Snow', 'I Saw Mommy' get mixed in with the Jerry Lee Lewis like 'Run, Rudolf, Run' or
'Rockin The Nativity Scene.' If you want low down fun on the holidays this belongs
in your sock.
Dan Hicks, of the band Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks, here leads his perennially quirky and hip Jug Band (who've individually played
with everyone from Elvis Costello to Etta James and Commander Cody) through a live set of loose standards and a few egg-nogged
originals. The Jug band rocks, swings, and swerves off the road in performances recorded live on Christmas Eve 1989, and December
23 and 24, 1990. Hicks's and his fellow Juggers' droll and often tongue-in-cheek delivery of Christmas goodies is certain to charm
even the most vexed Scrooge. And with his originals "Under the Mistletoe," "Santa As Seen on TV (Sheik of Araby)," plus a reworking
of Van Morrison's "Gloria" (here aptly titled "S.A.N.T.A"), it becomes clear that the band is inviting listeners to a great party.
Throw in sundry chestnuts like "Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'" and Tim Eschliman's "He's on Holiday in His Mind" and you've got
highly flammable contents under pressure that are bound to be "Rockin' the Nativity Scene." A great companion piece to the Jug
Band's five-star Mistletoe Jam album.
If you're like me, you probably dread hearing the old worn out yule tunes that start
flooding the airwaves around this time every year. Don't start the bah humbug's
just yet. The Christmas Jug Band is a yearly tavern collaboration of some of the Mill
Valley, CA area musicians, better known for their contributions to other artists and
bands (i.e. Charlatans,
Fabulous Thunderbirds, Hot House,
With tongue firmly in cheek, and instruments ranging from guitar and piano to
accordian and washboard, they dish out acoustic renditions of some traditional and
some not so traditional xmas songs, highlighted by a new twist on Gloria,
appropriately titled S.A.N.T.A. This one will certainly grab some attention at your
holiday gatherings, so keep those spirits flowing and give your ears a break from
"Santa Got Runover By A Reindeer".
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Here's what they're saying about
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"A welcome relief from the solemnity of the season...wonderful kazoo-and-washboard
favorites...swingin' blues-jazz arrangements..."
Midwest Record Recap
"Clearly the alternative Christmas record of the year. The fun and the funk rollick
along and a good time is sure to be had by all."
Phil Elwood, San Francisco Examiner
"Forty minutes of pure delight. Guitar-based rhythmic swing...frequent bright
solos...fine performances, distinctive material, and the wonderful combination of
good cheer and good fellowship."
Paul Hartman, Dirty Linen (Baltimore,
"Bizarre new holiday songs sure to become dearly-beloved seasonal classics, covered
by the Ray Coniff Singers in the near future."
"A delightful, bluesy cassette...will put a charge into your Christmas bash. Dan
Hicks and crew breathe new life into some old standards."
Aldo Pedron, Buscadero (Italia)
"Il repertorio e altamente spettacolare, pescato nella tradizione natalazia...le
esecuzioni non sono certe le classiche melodie natazie, Dan Hicks e soci come
abbiamo gia detto presentano un suono unico, originale con jug music e molto swing."
Greg Cahill, Marin Independent Journal
"Mistletoe Jam brings the warmth of a family reunion to the holidays with collective
toungue planted firmly in cheek...should shake the humbug from the most jaded
What's Happening, Daily Reporter of Sioux City, Iowa
"This release is full of fun, good times and a blues-buster for anyone with holiday
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Globe Records Compilation 2000]
REVIEWS & QUOTES of "Globe
Compilation 2000" by The Christmas Jug Band, Rhythmtown-Jive, and more...
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Gordon Baxter, Blues On Stage
, mnblues.com, January, 2000
"Globe Compilation 2000/ Happy New Millennium" serves a double purpose: first it is a single, and second it is a compilation
sampler of the Globe Records roster of artists. The title track (and single) features several of the Globe
artists on a tune that has a Latin beat, and features the chorus sung in English, and spoken in nine
other languages. An edited take of the song opens the CD, but you have to wait until the end to hear
the full unexpurgated version.
Vicki Wanless, WVMR, Dunmore. WV
The sampler features several different musical styles, with something for just about everybody, including
a number of tracks from the blues genre. As samplers go, it is pretty good stuff, and there are a couple
of bands that merit further investigation. In particular, Rhythmtown Jive, who serve up a honking sax
R&B tune called
Stream", and the laid back musings of the Christmas Jug Band (Big Boy Crudup's
His Red Wagon" and Frank Loesser's "What Are You Doin' New Year's Eve?") come out ahead of the
rest. Joe Goldmark also deserves special mention for doing a pedal(?) steel guitar version of the Beatles
Only Sleeping," whilst most amusing song title goes to
"First Bratwurst of Summer"
by the Germanic
sounding band called Those Darn Accordions!
Overall "Happy New Millennium" is something of a musical smorgasbord rather than a blues CD as such.
As a sampler it offers a useful insight into what Globe Records are up to. Most of the material sits in
fairly safe mainstream territory within its own particular style, so do not expect any exciting new fusions
of different styles. Good clean fun, nonetheless.
"Great music and everything will definately be played."
Doug Leclair, Any Swing Goes, KPLR, San Diego, CA
Norman Davis, Midnight Flyer, KEGR, Pinellas Park, FL
"This is fun. Love Susie Davis! Thanks!"
Vicente Zumel, La Hora Del Blues,
Radio PICA, Barcelona, Spain
"They sound fresh, strong, and powerful"
Josh Gage, WSCL Web Radio, Bronxville, NY
"Would love to hear more of these artists!"
Walt Gander, WXPR, Rhinelander, WI
"Thanks, we'll use it!! Will play from entire CD!!"
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