My recent foray into the document folder turned up bits of writing from one of my favorite blog events from Aprils past –the A to Z Challenge. They’re pretty interesting, if I do say so myself. I’ll be sharing a few until life quiets down around here. I hope you enjoy. Scroll back to read earlier From The Stacks posts.
J for Jug Band
I heard a story recently about how an abundance of empty whiskey jugs from the bourbon-fragrant streets of Louisville Kentucky led to an American music form — jug band. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it’s a cute story.
The musical pastiche of jug band was at its root a poor man’s pastime. You didn’t need money when love of music and sheer joy played tunes on anything one could wrangle a tune out of. As a world drummer who finds music latent in all sorts of things, I understand this. I play a few odd instruments myself — spoons and bones, and a washboard with thimbles. I’ve even played tabletops, glass bottles, and the occasional iron gate! Needless to say, jug band intrigues me. 😀
Instruments were mostly home made: washboards and scraping thimbles kept time. Mouths blowing into empty jugs produced tuba sounds. Washtubs or gut-buckets played bass while cigar-box or gourd-bottom fiddles, bowed saws, spoons, and paper-on-comb kazoos played melody. If you were lucky, a neighbor might join in with a real guitar, banjo, or harmonica. Jug band music was popular in the old vaudeville days between 1880 and the 1930’s, and often appeared in traveling medicine shows, on riverboats, and in southern honky-tonks.
I think one of the coolest things about this improvised music style was how it influenced other music such as Jazz, the Blues and eventually Rock. Examine it further and you’ll see American skiffle and that musical style eventually influenced the Beatles. Skiffle, by the way, was “rent party” music. Gathering musicians together and charging a few cents to hear them allowed you to make your rent payment — a popular idea in the 1920’s. I know a young couple who do that today, quite successfully too.
So many music greats started in jug band. Bands like Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards, Clarence Williams’ Seven Gallon Jug Band and Washboard Five, The Mound City Blue Blowers, Ma Rainey’s Tub-jug Band, and many more, gave a start to several music legends. Greats like Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jimmy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, and Glen Miller all cut their musical teeth here.
The USA and Great Britain saw a Jug band revival in the 1950’s.
Few people know the effect of jug band on the music we grew up on. The Even Dozen Jug Band had musicians John Sebastion and Steve Katz. John Sebastion went on to form The Lovin’ Spoonful and Steve Katz joined Blood Sweat and Tears. Zal Yanovsky of The Lovin’ Spoonful got his start in The Mugwamps Jug Band as did Cass Elliot and Denny Dougherty who later formed The Mommas and the Papas. Gerry Garcia from Mother McCree’s Jug Champions went on to form the Grateful Dead. My favorite, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, had John McEuen and is still pickn’ and grinnin’.
In the UK, the Midnight Special Skiffle Band had Van Morrison who was also in the Sputniks Skiffle Band. The Kingston’s Bucktown Skiffle Group had Mick Jagger. Singer Cliff Richards sang in the Dick Teague Skiffle Group. A whole slew of folk musicians played Skiffle and so did Rock musicians like Roger Daltrey, Jimmy Page, David Gilmour, and Robin Trower. Graham Nash and Allan Clarke of The Hollies were all in lesser Skiffle bands. Ringo Star also played in the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group around the same time John Lennon was forming The Quarrymen Skiffle Band with Paul McCartney and George Harrison which eventually became the Beatles. From here on is a post for another day…
Here’s an interesting trailer for a documentary called Chasin’ Gus’ Ghost about Gus Cannon and the impact of jug band on other music.
My washboard needs some spiffing up!
David Holt can teach you to play some unusual instruments, and youtube is filled with his videos. I could spend all day watching him. I once saw him play a bag of potato chips. Now that’s improvisation.
I had such a hard time choosing the visuals for today’s post. There are so many terrific examples online. If you want to smile, look up the Yokohama Jug-Band Festival on youtube.
J for Jungian Archetypes
Many years ago, while researching for my as yet unnamed, 5-book, 500,000 word, Magnum Opus, I read Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. The book discussed the journey of the archetypal heroes found in world mythologies. (One modern example of the archetypal hero is Harry Potter). Campbell’s book directed me to look into Jungian Archetypes.
What are they exactly? To begin, the origin of the word archetype comes from the Greek archétypon, which means first-molded. In essence, this is the original model of a person – a prototype which others emulate. In psychology, an archetype is a model of personality or behavior universally recognizable by all. In works of fiction, these become the personality traits for the characters.
After splitting from his one-time colleague Sigmund Freud, Swiss psychotherapist and psychiatrist, Carl Jung, founded analytical psychology. It was Jung who named the personality traits we all know today – the outgoing extravert and the quiet introvert, for example. But he discovered there were more facets to human personality than just those two traits. Jung created some of the best known psychological concepts of all time, one of which was the archetype. In some respects, it was his interest in world folklore and literature spanning thousands of years, (including his study of prehistoric artworks), that led him to categorize.
Here’s what he came up with. I tap into these traits when creating my characters for my stories. See how many make instant connections in your mind.
I’ll start with the ego and its four functions: Sensation, Thinking, Feeling, and Intuition. From there we have:
The Self: the regulating center of the psyche. The whole, unified consciousness and unconscious of a person.
The Shadow: the opposite of the ego image. Contains qualities the ego does not identify with but still possesses. The part of the unconscious mind consisting of instincts, repressed weaknesses, and shortcomings.
The Anima: the feminine image in a man’s psyche, aka, the unconscious feminine qualities that a male possesses.
The Animus: the masculine image in a woman’s psyche, aka the unconscious masculine qualities that a woman possesses.
The Persona: how we present ourselves to the world.
Within these, Jung determined the archetypes were limitless. Here are a few recurring ones:
The Child: or innocent, is more likely to suffer at the hands of others
The Hero: comes from a position of weakness, but in the face of danger or adversity will display courage and self-sacrifice for some greater good.
The Great Mother: the bountiful embodiment of the Earth. Refers to any mothering goddess associated with motherhood, fertility, or creation.
The Wise Old Man: usually a profound philosopher, who uses personal knowledge of the world to teach wisdom and sound judgment.
The Trickster: intentionally breaks the rules but unintentionally gets positive effects out of it.
The Devil: displays characteristics of pure evil. Typically self-centered and power-hungry, only interested in achieving personal goals.
The Scarecrow: Mysteriously knows everything about the world, yet has had no interaction with the world to gain that knowledge.
The Mentor: Are often imaginative people who are more intrigued by future possibilities than concerned with the here and now. A great source of inspiration to the people around them.
I write intelligent characters because I appreciate intelligence. The heroines in all of my stories are strong competent women. All of my equally sharp heroes walk through their world confident and unashamed to be tender and kind-hearted. That’s what makes both interesting and loveable!
Here’s an intriguing clip about the Anima and Animus ~
What’s your type? Take the test and find out!
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