Jack Moore's Narrative

Page 1

While in the US Army in Germany (3rd How. Bn, 35th Arty., Peden Barracks, Wertheim am Main), I read a magazine article about a jug band in which the washtub bass player had, during his Army time, played a quonset hut by stringing a cable inside. Discharged (1963), back in school (North Texas State Univ.), lounging in the hall on a smoke break one day, I mentioned that article to my friend Bill Holloway, and he said that it was the Jim Kweskin Jug Band. He had their album and he invited me over to hear it. I was not blown away. It sounded like some people sort of singing while rhythmically shaking garbage cans full of rocks and empty cans and bottles. But it grew on me, and then Bill lent me a compilation album of jug band roots material, which I taped and listened to a lot. Before long I was a jugband music fan. Bill and I both later transferred to the University of Texas in Austin.

When I had been in the 4th grade at Houston Elementary in El Paso a band program was started. I was so late in turning in the parental permission form that the only instrument left was a tuba. So, through the rest of grade school and junior high, through high school and a couple of years of college, I played a tuba or a sousaphone (the marching form of the tuba). The word embouchure refers to the way a musician playing a mouthpieced instrument controls his lips, jaw and tongue: the embouchure of each instrument is different, and part of learning to play an instrument is the development of an embouchure. My tuba embouchure, combined with many years of singing bass and tenor a capella four-part church harmony, gave me a good start in becoming a jugplayer.

During the Summer of 1964 in Austin, I lived in the same dorm as two Dallas folkies, Micky Mooney and Marty Javors, and it was with them that I first played the jug. Marty, along with Richard Dean, in 1967 formed the Travis County Outpatient Jug Band. Mike Weakley was on washboard and I was the jug player. We played at the Eleventh Door club at 11th and Red River. The band broke up when I left Austin for graduate school.

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