Get this crazy baby off my head!


Jim Kweskin Band with Samoa Wilson

Jim Kweskin Band with Samoa Wilson - Now And Again - 2003 - Blix Street Records

Big Grammy wins in recent years for tradition minded recordings like O Brother Where Art Thou? and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me show that the music industry and its fans will embrace traditional styles if done well. 60s folkster Jim Kweskin was more known in his heyday as a club performer and touring support act (the Doors, Janis Joplin, Peter, Paul & Mary), but this recording — coming three decades plus after the Jim Kweskin Jug Band split — could find sweet spot in our culture as we yearn for a simpler style from a simpler time. The rhythm guitarist has a pleasant and engaging voice, but the real stars here are the crisp and sparse arrangements of a wide variety of classics, a band featuring such accoutrements as fiddle and mandolin, and the secret weapon of traditional blues and country-styled vocalist Samoa Wilson. Kweskin handles vocals on a few songs (most notably "Sweet Sue," on which he also plays banjo, but the best tracks are ones like the classic blues gem "Why Don't You Do Right," which features Wilson's straightforward confrontations backed by the punctuation of Kweskin and Titus Vollmer's guitars. Material ranges from Nina Simone's "Sugar in My Bowl" to the depression era classic "Brother Can You Spare A Dime." While this is an irresistible group effort all the way through, the track that is hardest to not sing along with is the four part harmony gospel tune from the Leadbelly catalog, "Linin' Track," with Geordie Gude's magical harmonica solo bridging the a capella and instrumentally enhanced parts. © Jonathan Widran, allmusic.com

"Now And Again" contains some marvellous covers of early jazz, jug, country, swing and blues classics, originally recorded by artists like Nina Simone, Leadbelly, Julie London and others. This is great Americana music, and there is nobody better qualified to sing and play this music than the great Jim Kweskin of the legendary Jug Band. His great friend, Samoa Wilson's vocals are superb, and can't be praised highly enough. Geordie Gude plays some amazing harmonica, but all the musicians are top notch. "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" is performed by Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band, and is a fabulous rendition of this old classic. Not a weak track on this album which is VHR by A.O.O.F.C. Listen to Samoa Wilson's great "Live the Life" album, and Jim Kweskin's "Unblushing Brassiness" is a brilliant folk album. Thankfully, there are artists like Jim Kweskin still around who are preserving this fantastic music genre


1 Sweet Sue - Finkel, Harris, Young 3:56
2 Why Don't You Do Right? - McCoy, McCoy 4:25
3 Linin' Track - Leadbelly 3:49
4 I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter - Ahlert, Young 3:43
5 The Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me - McCarron, Morgan, Morgan, Swanstrom 3:14
6 Exactly Like You - Fields, McHugh 3:43
7 Sugar in My Bowl - Simone 5:27
8 Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? - Gorney, Harburg 5:25 [ ]
9 Trouble in Mind - Jones 3:36
10 Cry Me a River - Hamilton 4:56


Jim Kweskin - Banjo, Guitar, Guitar (Rhythm), Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Samoa Wilson - Vocals, Vocal Harmony
Titus Vollmer - Guitar
Leo Blanco - Piano
John Ramsey, Jerry Deupree - Drums
Mickey Bones - Drums (Snare)
Paloma Ohm - Drums, Sax (Alto)
Bruce Millard - Mandolin, Slide Mandolin, Vocal Harmony
Matt Leavenworth - Fiddle, Vocal Harmony
Geordie Gude - Harmonica
Sam Wilson Voices


Jim Kweskin (born July 18, 1940, Stamford, Connecticut) is the founder of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band, with Fritz Richmond, Mel Lyman, and Geoff and Maria Muldaur. They were active in Boston in the 1960s. Kweskin released six albums and two greatest hits compilations on Vanguard Records between 1963-1970; Jim Kweskin's America on Reprise Records in 1971; and four albums on Mountain Railroad Records between 1978-87


The fun side of folk music was explored by the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. During the five years they were together, the group successfully transformed the sounds of pre-World War II rural music into a springboard for their good-humored performances. A communal-like musical ensemble, the Kweskin Jug Band was formed by Jim Kweskin, who had been inspired by a folk group, the Hoppers, featuring washtub bass player John "Fritz" Richmond. As a student at Boston University, Kweskin would often attend the Hoppers' performances at Cafe Yana in Harvard Square, learning much about guitar fingerpicking by watching the band's fingers. After Richmond was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving time in Korea and Europe, Kweskin began to frequent other folk clubs in Cambridge and Boston. Before long, he was playing guitar well enough to perform English and Appalachian ballads in folk coffeehouses. Although Kweskin temporarily left for California, he returned to Cambridge, along with his wife Marilyn and dog Agatha, and resumed his musical career. A split-bill booking with blues enthusiast Geoff Muldaur at the Community Church in Boston on February 3, 1963, proved a turning point. In addition to peforming their own sets, Kweskin and Muldaur played several songs together. When Kweskin was invited by Maynard Solomon of Vanguard Records to record with a band, he immediately remembered Muldaur. Together with Fritz Richmond, and banjo and harmonica player Mel Lymon, Kweskin assembled the original Kweskin Jug Band. The group was a smash from the onset and were quickly signed to a record contract by Vanguard. During a two-week stint at the Bottom Line in New York, Maria D'Amato, fiddler and vocalist for the New York-based Even Dozen Jug Band, attended a show, became enamored of Muldaur and accepted an invitation to move to Cambridge and join the Kweskin Jug Band. D'Amato and Muldaur were soon married. Shortly after the Kweskin Jug Band performed on the nationally aired Steve Allen Show, on March 4, 1964, Lymon left the band and was replaced by banjo wiz Bill Keith, who had just left a gig with Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys. The Kweskin Jug Band continued to bring their unique style of folk music to a national audience, appearing on The Roger Miller Show and The Al Hirt Show. Although Kweskin planned to move to California, the group left Vanguard and signed with Reprise, and virtuosic fiddler Richard Greene was added to the band. Just when it looked as though the Kweskin Jug Band was going to become commercially successful, Kweskin, who had moved into Lymon's commune in Fort Hill, a rundown section of Boston, shaved off his trademark mustache and announced that he was breaking up the group. In the aftermath of the Kweskin Jug Band's demise, Kweskin continued to work as a soloist, and he formed the U & I Band in the mid-1980s. Richmond went on to become a well-respected recording engineer and producer. Geoff and Maria Muldaur recorded several memorable duo albums before their marriage dissolved in the 1970s. Keith resumed his partnership with guitarist and vocalist Jim Rooney. In addition to working on each others' albums, Keith and Rooney were instrumental in the forming of a folk supergroup, the Woodstock Mountain Revue. Lymon, who ran his commune as a cult, disappeared under still-mysterious circumstances. © Craig Harris, allmusic.com


Samoa Wilson, the Boston-bred, roots singer was raised on folk-influenced Americana classic Americana music. The great Jim Kweskin was a great family friend, and eventually the two artists merged their talents. Samoa joined Jim's current band in 1997 and appeared on Kweskin's "Now and Again" album.


A.O.O.F.C said...


p/w aoofc

Anonymous said...

Great record!
Thanks a lot!

A.O.O.F.C said...

Cheers, Stiggy! It's rapidly becoming one of my fav listens. Thanks for comment, & ttu soon