By Greg Haymes
The Jim Kweskin Jug Band never had a hit record, but they were among the most influential groups of the ’60s. Not just in folk music circles, either. Without the Jug Band, there might never have been the Lovin’ Spoonful. Or Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks. Or the Grateful Dead, who began their musical career as Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions.
With a variety of bandmembers, the Jug Band only had a short run, forming a half century ago and playing their final gig together just five years later. They left behind four albums filled with fun, clever arrangements and a surprising high degree of musicianship, especially considering that their instrumentation often included a washtub bass, kazoos, a washboard and, yes, a jug.
On Tuesday afternoon, Jim Kweskin, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur and Bill Keith – the four surviving members of the Jim Kweskin Jug Band – were sitting in a circle onstage at The Egg’s Swyer Theatre, along with along with the five members of the Barbecue Orchestra, who will be augmenting the band in concert. They were rehearsing for tonight’s (Wednesday, August 28) concert at The Egg, the first of their short, four-night east coast reunion tour.