The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #60560 Message #1473823
Posted By: dwditty
28-Apr-05 - 09:03 PM
Thread Name: Van Ronk's Early Jugband lp
Subject: RE: Van Ronk's Early Jugband lp
An excerpt from Dave's autobiography - Mayor of MacDougal Street - Page 89. DVR is talking about Sam Charters and how they used to play together.
"Right around that time, an English singer named Lonnie Donegan got a hit playing a jug band version of Leadbelly's "Rock Island Line," so there was a brief flutter of interest in the style, which the English called "skiffle." As a result, we ended up with a deal to make a skiffle record for a label called Lyrichord. We put together a group that included Sam's future wife, Ann, on washboard and one of our trad buddies, Len Kunstadt, on kazoo, and rehearsed a bunch of tunes - I recall a truly unique version of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. I still maintain that we were a pretty good band, but no one ever knew it from that record. Those were the days when stereo recording was still the neat new gimmick, and Lyrichord decided to wrap up two hot trends with one package by making an album called Skiffle in Stereo. The problem was that back in the mono days,there had been no need to separate musicians onto separate recording tracks, and hence microphones were designed to capture the full range of sound in their area. We were still using this old microphone technology, so to get separation, they had to put all of us in different rooms, and for the same reason there were no directional mics, there was no such thing as recording with headphones. The upshot was that each of us could just barely hear the two nearest players, but none of us could hear the whole band. We were constantly getting away from each other, and the result included some of the most appalling moments I have ever heard on record. To crown the whole debacle, I pulled rank on my lesser-known associates, and the band was billed on the album cover as the Orange Blossom Jug Five with Dave Van Ronk. Talk about the punishment fitting the crime..."
I have seen this album on ebay from time to time.