Electric blue, jugs, all that hoo…

This past spring, a brilliant thing happened: Sign of the Three Eyed Men was release.

What’s that, you say? It’s this beyond brilliant 10-disc box set of stereo and mono mixes of all of the 13th Floor Elevators albums, including two more records worth of previously unreleased material, as well as some delicious live materialO.

And if you didn’t like psychedelia, may I introduce you to one of the genre’s first. I have, since that release, been working my way through much of the material housed on the set–albeit more on days like today, when its raining buckets and I can play some tunes in work.

One of the most intriguing things about this band was Tommy Hall’s electric jug playing; jug bands are a favorite of this here Pulp and Circumstance, having been popular in the south during the 1920s–the jug played as an instrument by poor blacks who built up bands around raggle taggle trash.

And it sounded brilliant. Part of the band’s rhythm section, a musician creates sound by buzzing the lips above the opening of the jug without the mouth ever making contact; it simply acts as a way to resonate the sound a musician makes with the mouth through the chamber and amplifies it back out.

While it is most often used as an acoustic instrument, Hall was known for his electric version–also used as “musical prop”.

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