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The Jug Band for the Millenium

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Big Break Archive
The Big Break

"I remembers ya when..."

It all started innocently enough,
like most of these things do...with an email:

Hey Dirdy Birdies! I found you through the Music Radio 77 website. Back in 1968 (or was it '69?) I was going to West Morris High School in New Jersey. One day it was announced over the intercom (now here's where the facts get hazy...) that one of our teachers was in a band that won WABC's Big Break, and his band was coming to perform at an assembly in the auditorium. Well, a day or two later we were treated to a beautifully wacky group called The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band, and there was our teacher, I believe on acoustic guitar. I can't remember his name, but it might have been Mark. He had longish hair in front (for that time in NJ) and wore glasses. Am I remembering this right?

Either way, I remember it was the first time I'd ever heard "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die (Rag)". My friends and I were blown away. In the months to come, I added some jug music to my record collection: Jim Kweskin, etc., and my buddies and I formed The Flick's Tavern Jug Band (named after Flick, a character from Jean Shepherd's radio tales).

I live in Southern California with my wife now, and still have an audio copy of the 1967 Big Break Finals radio commercial from WABC, among my momentos.

Glad...well, amazed actually, that you're still doin' it. Congradulations!

Dave Chrenko
Ventura, California

It's always nice to hear reports from the olden days, but one of the most intriguing parts about the message was the "audio copy of the 1967 Big Break Finals radio commercial from WABC." This was truly a historical piece of arcania! We had to have it! (If you don't know of our relationship to The Big Break, click the green button on the left for The Big Break Archives.) So, after a few more emails to Brother Dave (and finally identifying Joe Bell as the former teacher and subversive voice of the music blossoming on FM radio for this bunch of 16 year old minds,) we finally received a piece of tape for the ages....as he described it, here's how he acquired it:

How I got them was like any other teen of the time...I taped them on an old Wollensack reel to reel with a mic jammed up against my radio speaker. At the time I had a '58 Fischer Hi-Fi with two 12" speakers in two huge wood cabinets, which for the time gave me better than average fidelity. I also had a shortwave set that I could run direct out of the headphone jack into the mic input of the reel to reel.

Ahh...the persistence of youth! Where would we be without it? Turns out Dave also has some airchecks from the actual nightly competition (once again, check the BB archives for details of how this competition worked). Although he doesn't have The Birdies, he does have Silent Truth from Harrington Park, NJ, doing Jumping Jack Flash. Dave's collection of air checks will soon be featured on an Oldies website, which is still being developed. And unfortuately, because of contractural agreements, we can't post them here. As soon as we hear more details about the new site, we'll pass them on, and you'll be able to listen to the most bizarre version of Jumping Jack Flash you've ever heard!

So, if you've gotten this far, you must be dying to hear the ACTUAL promo. Listen carefully, as Bruce describes "The Blues Magoos stage show". Here's a little-known fact: I know this is going to sound like so much BS, but I actually called the light show for The Blues Magoos when they were on stage! Since the setting was decidedly low-tech, one of the guys in the band asked me to instruct the union lighting guy when to change the lights. The 'lights' were simply a strip of red, blue and yellow lights that was hoisted above the stage (just like you had over the stage at your high school). So, during the performance, I stood there in the wings, next to the union guy with the cigar, and said: "Blue, red, blue, yellow"....etc. All that being said, take a listen! And remember, as Brucie says, "It's the entertainment bargain of the century!

And finally, Dave is an artist as well. Here's the famous House of Bear photo...hand colored by Dave, and then, on the right, completely ripped off and transformed into Dyrdy Dave's Thug Band. Nice work Dave! And it's great to be remembered....

...to be continued. As the Senior Moments continue, it often takes more time to remember all the details. Thanks to Dave for breaking into the steam train of thought while we collect our collective senses and try to remember other stuff from those fateful days of yesteryear. So don't miss the next update of The DIRDY BIRDIES Jug Band Web Site!

To see previous chapters of The Big Break, click the green Big Break Archives button over on the left navigation bar.

Yes...finally! After almost a year in production, Guano Records and
are proud to announce the release of
For ordering information, a run-down of what's included on the newest offering from The Jug Band for The Millennium,

look here.

Of course, since our first CD, Endangered Species, was a million seller (I gotta million in my cellar), we still have a bunch left. If you're one of the few laggards left in the world look here for ordering info...

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Last Updated: April 15, 2003