They also occasionally had the musical benefit of one Mark Abraham on
Spasmophone. The Spasmophone is a cobbled together musical invention
with a tuba mouthpiece connected by apparently random plumbing to a giant antique gramophone horn.
There aren't many of these around! Mark was a former member of
Humber Jug, a band which also included well-known
washboard player John Pilgrim, who had featured in several successful skiffle bands.
Humber Jug made 2 EPs, the 2nd of which included Empty Pocket Blues, Stealing, I
Can't Give You Anything But Love, and Mobile Line which is also known as
To avoid the band being "guitar-heavy," Bob took up mandolin and later fiddle, Tony took up the banjo, and Pete jammed a trumpet mouthpiece into an ancient wooden vehicle-inspection lamp handle, thus inventing a sort of wobbly cornet
that the band called a "Lumpit." This line-up developed into the definitive GJB sound, and
they soon started packing North Kent & S.E. London folk clubs and
other venues from about 1969.
In 1972 the four remaining members of the
GJB recorded the album called The Ginger Jug Band. Steve Horne emigrated
to South Africa with his family shortly after, and Bob Jones left to concentrate on his graphic arts career. Mark Abraham rejoined for a while, and John Huttlestone stepped in on guitar and fiddle. Some time later, Geoff
himself left for new pursuits. Tony kept the band going for some years with Charlie Jacobs
and Rick Harper who had returned from college and resurrected his
washboard and jug.
Interest in the GJB started again in 1998 when Geoff Beaumont paid a flying visit to the Broadstairs Folk Festival where he ended up jamming with Tony Petto, Rick Harper and others at a late night session. Tony and Rick were at the festival as part of the Hartley Morris Dance side. Everybody, particularly the original GJB members enjoyed themselves immensely. The following year Geoff was able to stay a little longer and there was a lot more music and even more interest. It was at this time that Kenn Wards started work on the restoration of the old GJB album with the aim of getting it on to an archive CD. The idea of re-forming the band for the following year's festival was mooted. However, it seemed unlikely to take off as the original band members were so widely dispersed and Pete Baston had died some years earlier. However...
Refried GJB is Born
Geoff Beaumont... Fretless Slide Banjo, Jug, and vocals
Add to this line-up the invaluable help of Jayne Petto, Tony's wife, who was there to stop the big drum from sliding out of control and into the crowd by bracing it with her feet!
The line up was later joined by Gideon Payne on harmonica. The Refried Ginger Jug Band played several highly successful pub gigs at the Festival to packed audiences. Interest in the original band was rekindled and stocks of the now available double CD of the original band was sold out within 3 gigs.
Thanks go to Geoff Beaumont, Tony Petto and Suzanne Artus for help with this potted history.
|© 2000 Osiris-AG & GJB|