Back to Home Page... The back ground of the music... Photographs etc.... The Archive CD is now available... Other Juggee Places...

Origins
The GJB  can be traced back to around 1967, to a one-off performance for a local charity by a Folk Band dubbed "The Well Hill Billies." The band included, amongst others, brothers Geoff & Andy Beaumont and Ivor Jones. Geoff, then 17, continued playing with Ivor Jones, who was at that time probably in his late 20s. Ivor Jones had been an amateur Trad Jazz Band banjo player. Ivor had an extensive jazz & blues record collection, including an LP of the Kweskin Jug Band, an American revival jug band of the early 60s. This LP included 'Borneo' and 'Coney island Washboard', which they all learned and can still play to great effect to this day! Also, at this time, Geoff was tape-recording blues from Mike Raven's programmes on the pirate radio station 'Radio 390'. This programme was the band's first source of original 1930's recordings, such as Gus Cannon's 'Mule Get Up In The Alley'.

The Start
Geoff's brother Andy moved to North Wales and some time later formed his own very popular "Rub a Dub Jug Band," which recorded several cassettes. Geoff, meanwhile, recruited 2 school friends, Rick Harper on Washboard & Jug, and Hugh Loughlin on Guitar and, with Ivor, the first line-up of the GJB had arrived. The idea for the name came from an earthenware Lyle's Ginger Beer bottle they used as a jug. 

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 France Blues.

Wee Juggie Cuts Its Teeth
After about the 3rd GJB gig, it became evident that with first Hugh and then Rick going elsewhere to attend college they would be unable to continue as regular band members. At the folk club at the George & Dragon pub in Downe in Kent Folk Club Geoff met and recruited Tony Petto who played guitar and "was of fine voice." Some time later, Ivor had to bow out of the GJB due to family and work commitments. Tony Petto recruited his friend Pete Baston, who played 12 string guitar & harmonica. Pete brought in Steve Horne on washboard & jug, and Steve brought in his mate Bob Jones on guitar so the GJB was up to strength again.

GJB circa 1972..

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.

Maturity, of a Sort
In 1971, the band came 2nd in the Melody Maker music paper's Folk-Rock contest and was packing in  more gigs than ever.

 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 contacted Tony Petto and Rick Harper with the idea that a "Refried" version of the GJB could be put together for a few gigs at the 2000 Broadstairs Folk Festival. The band line up was to be made of; 

Geoff Beaumont... Fretless Slide Banjo, Jug, and vocals
Tony Petto... Guitar, Banjo, Kazoo, Big Drum and vocals
Andy Beaumont (Geoff's brother)... Guitar, Violin, Jug and vocals
Tom Beaumont (Andy Beaumont's  son)... Guitar, Bottle neck Guitar
Rick Harper...Washboard, Jug

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.

Now,
More Broadstairs Folk Festivals were to follow and eventually in 2006 a new album was released. This new album is called "The Old Folks Started It" and is available on CD. The band line has grown to include Jayne Petto and Gideon Payne permanently; who add there considerable talents on vocals and harmonica respectively. The new album credits the band as "The Ginger Jug Band"  i.e. a return to the original band name.. it was felt with all the new material that the band were not any longer "Refried."

The Future?
The band is booked for the 2006 Broadstairs Folk Week...  and there may well be more gigs in the pipeline... See Latest News for the gig list. News of the continuing adventures of the GJB/RGJ/GJB will be reported on this web-site as and when it breaks. So please bookmark this web-site and come back and check for the latest GJB/RGJ/GJB news.

Thanks go to Geoff Beaumont, Tony Petto and Suzanne Artus for help with this potted history.

 



2000 Osiris-AG & GJB