As many of you know by now, music legend James Brown passed away yesterday (on Christmas) at the age of 73. Like many artists, James Brown recorded a Christmas Album. And amazingly enough, one of the songs he performed is entitled Christmas in Heaven [via loudersoft].
Trying to find a lost melody in a sea of over played Christmas tunes is like finding a needle in a hay stack. About 30 years ago, Jim Henson created a special called Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas. The cute movie is about an impoverished otter family (yes, an otter- like the animal) who are trying to purchase each other gifts for the holidays despite not having any money. In order to buy his mother a nice present, Emmet Otter creates a jug band to enter a talent show (with a winning prize of $50). Anyway, you’ll have to watch the movie to find out the rest. But there are a couple of catchy jug band songs on the soundtrack- one called “Barbecue” and the other “Brothers.” I was surprised to find out that these aren’t cover songs, but are originals for the special. Download the entire album free. Or purchase the Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas DVD. (Also check out this video for the Riverbottom Nightmare Band. Muppets playing Metal? Gotta love that!)
While I’m on the topic of jug bands, check out the group that introduced me to Jug Band music- The Philadelphia Jug Band. Their version’s of Beedle Um Bum and Washington at Valley Forge are classic. The music is a lot of fun. And good news is, they are still performing! Check out the music clips and buy their album at their CDbaby site. Other Jug Band essential recordings are: The Memphis Jug Band, Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers, and the jug band revivalist Jim Kweskin. One album that I haven’t heard is Mother McGrees Uptown Jug Champions– a group that would later become the Grateful Dead.
Anyway, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year.