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Gus Cannon

A remarkable musician (he could play five-string banjo and jug simultaneously), Gus Cannon bridged the gap between early blues and the minstrel and folk styles that preceded it. His band of the '20s and '30s, Cannon's Jug Stompers, represents the apogee of the jug band style. Songs they recorded, notably the raggy "Walk Right In," were staples of the folk repertoire decades later, and Cannon himself continued to record and perform into the 1970s.

Self-taught on an instrument made from a frying pan and a raccoon skin, he learned early repertoire in the 1890s from older musicians, notably Mississippian Alec Lee. The early 1900s found him playing around Memphis with songster Jim Jackson and forming a partnership with Noah Lewis, whose harmonica wizardry would be basic to the Jug Stompers' sound. In 1914, Cannon began work with a succession of medicine shows that would continue into the 1940s, and where he further developed his style and repertoire.

His recording career began with Paramount sessions in 1927. He continued to record into the '30s as a soloist and with his incredible trio, which included Noah Lewis along with guitarists Hosea Woods or Ashley Thompson. (Side projects included duets with Blind Blake and the first ever recordings of slide banjo.) Often obliged to find employment in other fields than music, Cannon continued to play anyway, mostly around Memphis. He resumed his stalled recording efforts in 1956 with sessions for Folkways. Subsequent sessions paired him with other Memphis survivors like Furry Lewis. Advancing age curtailed his activities in the '70s, but he still played the occasional cameo, sometimes from a wheelchair, until shortly before his death. ~ Steve James
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Broadcasting The Blues: Black Blues In The Segregation Era

Disc 1

1. Baby, Please Don't Go

2. Match Box Blues

3. Yonder Come The Blues

4. Yellow Dog Blues

5. Walkin' Blues

7. My Soul Is A Witness

8. Long Hot Summer Days

9. Lucky Holler

10. Penitentiary Moan

11. Old Country Stomp

12. Dry Bone Shuffle

13. Mysterious Coon

15. You Shall

17. I Heard The Voice Of A Porkchop

18. Spike Driver Blues

20. Fare Thee Well Blues

21. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

22. Travelin' Blues

Disc 2

1. Chocolate To The Bone

3. Tennessee Dog

5. Washboard Cut-Out

6. Flying Crows Blues

7. Rules And Regulations 'Signed Razor Jim'

8. Ground Hog Blues

10. Wednesday Evening She Left Me

11. Lonesome Day Blues

14. Black, Brown And White

15. Pratt City Blues

16. Blues Before Sunrise

17. Blues Trip Me This Morning

18. Poor Man Blues

20. My Black Mama - Part I

21. Cotton Pickin' Blues

23. Number 29

24. Jim Crow Blues

Disc 3

1. Aunt Caroline Dyer Blues

3. Policy Dream Blues

4. North Memphis Blues

6. They Ain't Walkin' No More

7. Ice Pick Blues

9. Parchman Farm Blues

10. Shelby County Workhouse Blues

11. Working On The Project

13. Let's Have A New Deal

14. Tallahatchie River Blues

15. St. Louis Cyclone Blues

17. Fire Department Blues

18. Give Me A 32-30

20. Build A Cave

21. Crying Mother Blues

23. The Dirty Dozen

24. Three Ball Blues

25. Milk Cow Blues

26. Cool Drink Of Water Blues

27. Some Summer Day

28. Make Me A Pallet On The Floor

30. Spirit Of Boogie Woogie

31. Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room

x

Track List: Music Down Home: An Introduction To Negro Folk Music, U.S.A.

Disc 1

1. Take This Hammer

2. Field Call

3. Children's Call

4. Complaint Call

5. Water On The Wheel

6. Railroad, 1

7. Move Members Move

8. Go Pray Ye

9. The Day Is Past

12. Rockin' Jerusalem

13. Just Got Over At Last

15. Brother Hawk, Brother Buzzard And Brother Rabbit

17. Railroad, 2

18. Lost John

19. Lost John

Disc 2

1. I'm Goin' To Pack Up My Things And Back Down That Sunny Road I'm Goin'

2. Careless Love

3. Let Me Go Home, Whiskey

4. You're My Man - Slick Chick Blues

5. I Wonder When I'll Get To Be Called A Man

6. Mule Ridin', Talking Blues

7. Black Woman

8. Old John Booker - You Call That Gone

9. John Henry

11. 44 Blues

12. Sonny's Jump

14. I'm So Glad

x

Track List: Rough Guide To Bottleneck Blues (Second Edition)

1. It's Nobody's Fault But Mine

2. Bottleneck Blues

3. Bukka's Jitterbug Swing

4. No No Blues

5. Has My Gal Been Here

6. It's Just Too Bad

7. Sweet Sarah Blues

8. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

9. Paddlin' Blues

10. Frisco Blues

11. Don't Sell It - Don't Give It Away

12. C.C. Rider

13. The Hula Blues

14. You Never Will Know Who Is Your Friend

15. The Dirty Dozen, No. 2

16. Dry Spell Blues, Pt. 1

17. Jake Bottle Blues

18. Tell Me Baby

19. You Gonna Need My Help Some Day

20. You Can't Keep No Brown

21. When The Saints Go Marching In

22. John Henry (The Steel Driving Man), Pt. 1

23. Married Man Blues

24. Prayer Of Death, Pt. 1

25. Lonesome Atlanta Blues

x

Track List: Rough Guide To Unsung Heroes Of Country Blues

1. Fishing Blues

2. Never Drive A Stranger From Your Door

3. Don't Put That Thing On Me

4. Cairo Blues

5. Keep It Clean

6. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

7. California Desert Blues

8. Little Girl In Rome

9. Married Man Blues

10. Fare Thee Well Blues

11. Lonesome Road Blues

12. Pick Poor Robin Clean

13. My Buddy Blind Papa Lemon

14. Old Original Kokomo Blues

15. Labor Blues

16. Section Gang Blues

17. Let's Go Riding

18. Roll And Tumble Blues

19. Please Ma'am

20. Cottonfield Blues - Part 2

21. Tain't Nobody's Business If I Do - Part 2 (Take 1)

22. Rolling Log Blues

23. You Can't Keep No Brown

24. Cherry Ball

x

Track List: Suitcase Full Of Blues

1. The Gone Dead Train

2. Frisco Whistle Blues

4. Going Away Blues

5. Poor Boy, Long Ways From Home

6. Florida Bound

7. Pea Vine Blues

8. Rambler Blues

9. Up The Way Bound

11. Slidin' Delta

13. M & O Blues

14. Georgia Bound

15. Number Three Blues

16. Sunshine Special

17. Illinois Blues

18. I Wonder To Myself

20. Mean Conductor Blues

21. Suitcase Full Of Blues

x

Track List: We'll Play The Blues For You

1. Angel Of Mercy

2. Baby, What You Want Me To Do

3. Please Don't Go

4. Just Got To Know

5. Bear Cat (aka Hound Dog)

6. Tin Pan Alley (Long Version)

8. Walk Right In

9. Hello Sundown

10. Send Me Some Lovin'

12. Oh, Pretty Woman

13. Weak Spot

14. The Sky Is Crying

15. Goin' To Louisiana

16. That's What Love Will Make You Do

17. Don't Ask Me No Questions

Comments

Report as inappropriate
What a unique voice, his slide playin is so raw.
Report as inappropriate
miller.natha n 8 1
Great American music just learned Gus this is real American music
Report as inappropriate
I love Blues men like this guy.

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