NOTE: This is the debut CD of the Jake Leg Stompers and very few copies remain, which will not be re-printed. Get it now, or pay big bucks later on Ebay!
Street walkin’ down Beale, blood-red sun fading on the Mississippi, you turn east, your shoes worn and heavy with damp mud, the air thick with flies, mosquitoes, and the stench of failed sewers. Nobody knows you. Leaning on your cane in the warm dark, wondering where the Southern cross the dog, you feel the indolent eyes of vipers, whores, and crapshooters staring out at you from lamp-lit basement rooms. Nobody knows you.
He steps out from the shadow of a clothesline then, a thin, disheveled slip of a man, dragging something along behind him--"something heavy and twisted, like jointed stonework, and you realize it’s his left leg he’s pulling in paralyzed tow. You venture a confused, contorted smile. “Limber Louie,” he says, sweeping hat-in-hand ceremoniously through the still air by way of introduction. “Drink?” he asks, and soon enough your throat tightens around a tall, sweet swallow of pure grain alcohol. Louie used to drink the Jake--"until it took his leg, anyway. That was two years ago, during the Great Flood. He can still find the best speakeasies though; the ones with plenty of good hooch, where the flashy hookers purr and prowl, and the blues are hot enough to burn you, brain and soul.
Underground, aromas of gin and whiskey float daintily on smoky clouds of sweat and strain. There isn’t much light; your muscles ache to mime the swaying shadows of dancing legs and stomping feet, and as your belly warms to the whiskey, you aren’t crouched in a dank, dirty Beale Street cellar anymore; you’re sittin’ on top of the world.
THE JAKE LEG STOMPERS ARE:
-Brandon Armstrong (string bass, trombone, tuba, jug, balaphone, mandolin, banjo, percussion, vocals);
-Ron Bombardi (fiddle, guitars, mandolin, tinwhistles, accordian, jews harp, percussion, autoharp, vocals);
-Bill Steber (vocals, guitars, banjo, ukelele, banjo-uke, harmonica, saw, mandolin, dujo, diddly-bow, autoharp);
-Charlee Tidrick (vocals, fiddle, mandolin, washboard, percussion)
Based in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the Jake Leg Stompers offer tangy tastes of chicken-fried, pre-war, hokum-billy jug music to gourmet audiences throughout the greater Nashville, Middle Tennessee region. Acclaimed for their spirited, eclectic, and wildly unpredictable street performances, the Stompers are equally at home playing for dozens in night clubs or hundreds on festival stages.
JAKE LEG - A SHORT HISTORY: Paralysis brought on by drinking jake, Jamaican ginger extract, a patent medicine. It is believed that the malady was first discovered in Oklahoma City by Dr. Ephraim Goldfain in February 1930. "The first person to record a connection between jake and the paralysis may have been Ishmon Bracey, the black blues singer who cut 'Jake Liquor Blues' in Grafton, Wisconsin, in March of 1930." Jake leg "afflicted enough souls to instigate an entire subject of folk music. Blacks and whites were affected. It rendered men impotent. And it was no longer inspiring musicians by 1934, which meant it was a cataclysmic but discrete event." What had turned the harmless patent medicine into a crippler was the addition of tri-ortho-cresyl-phosphate, TOCP, a "plasticizer" used to keep synthetic materials from becoming brittle. This was during Prohibition and the Treasury Department tackled "the problem of people getting too much pleasure from patent-medicine tippling by ordering that the solids in fluid extracts be doubled." TOCP was believed to be harmless and was used to "boost the solids." --"Annals of Epidemiology: Jake Leg: How the blues diagnosed a medical mystery," by Dan Baum. The New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2003, Page 50.
ABOUT THE ENGINEERING (and other mechanical matters): the aim of this project was not only to revive the styles but also to capture the sonorities of pre-war American roots music. Accordingly, we made every effort to reproduce the recording techniques, production standards, and live performance environments commonly in use between the Great War and World War II. We hope you will enjoy these exercises in analog anachronism on your favorite digital media, but in this ever-litigious 21st Century, we must also request that you do not reproduce this music for public consumption without asking first.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Guaranteed Absolutely Pure would never have been bottled without the help, support, and encouragement of multitudes; to all of you, named and unnamed, go our warmest thanks: Jason Howard, Ray Stephenson, Carol Creel & the E.Spresso Shelf, the Radio Café, Jenny, Robin, Molly, and Maddy Bombardi, Danny and Margaretta Goodpasture, Axel Kustner, Mamaw Susie, Granny Oneida, Ken & Phyllis Jarnagin, Mike Armstrong, Harold Norman, Alvin Goodman, David Loucky, Larry Long, Libi Smith, Jamie Tidrick, Charlotte King, Phyllis Smith, Ryan Dingus, Sam Rorex, Damon Runnels, Joe DeSarla, Jack Purcell, Garner, Liza Jane, Moose, Mary, Chloe, Mike the Headless Chicken, The Statue of Liberty, Captain John Yossarian USAF, Bucksnort, TN, Mycroft Holmes, Phineas T. Bluster, Charles "Speedy" Atkins, Fred Nietzsche's Summer Camp for Boys, Henry Oldenburg, the 9th and 21st Amendments, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, George Sand, J. Alfred Prufrock, Ann Lee, The People's Republic of China, Edward D. Wood, Jr., Pythagoras, J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, anarcho-syndicalist communes, E.J. Bellocq, Australopithecus afarensis, The Emperor of Ice Cream, Prince Randian, Johnny Meah, Tex Avery, electromagnetism, leopardskin pillbox hats, Bentham's head, barnacles on presidents, and beloved ghosts too numerous to mention.