Thursday, October 30, 2008

THE SOGGY BOTTOM BUNCH JUG BAND, SINGERS & DANCERS

About seven years ago friends from two Methodist churches formed a band for a one time performance. At that time the movie "Oh, Brother, where art thou? was out. The heros of that movie, excaped convicts, called themselves "The Soggy Bottom Boys". Well, in jest, we said we were the soggy bottom bunch, their poor cousins from on down in the swamp. Since then the band has grown and the name has stuck. On a recent gig the ice cream store was confused by the name and in their circulated brochure advertised that they were having "The Wet Bottom Bunch". That name may be more than appropiate as we range in ages from 10 to 85.

The band has 11 musicians, (I use that term lightly), a director and dancers whose number vary from performance to performance. Our instruments, if they might be called that, are crude to home-made. By default, I now play the 5-string banjo. I use to have the "touch" on that silly, amplified bass which I made from a #2 wash tub, a hoe handle and some parachute cord.

The Director, a retired school teacher, is the church organist and knows music. So does our Spoon Player who also plays the Accordian. We have an outstanding Jews Harp player and also a talented Harmonica player. The lady who plays the Washboard is a musician. At 85 years of age she is the senior member. The Tambourine and the Washtub Bass players are man & wife. The Kazoo sisters plays that instrument. A great grandmother and great granddaughter, play the Jug and the Whistles and the 10 year old is a talented singer. The spoon and tambourine players are the comedians and use everything from big red bloomers to rubber chickens for laughs.

Using recorded fiddle music for dancing we do a rousing rendition of the Cowboy Two Step and a slow, progressive Round Dance. We do reels and Southern Mountain Style Square Dances. I am the caller for the square dances. Most popular are "The Chicken Dance", "Hokie Pokie" and "Splish Splash". We end the dancing with a slow Waltz. I have been presented with an honorary PhD for my music and calling, although I am anything but talented. I just have fun!

Our goal is to have fun and bring joy to others. Monday night practices can be frustrating but are always hilarious. We play at hoedowns, barn dances and home comings. We play for churches and for assorted dinners. We play for businesses. And, most enjoyable, we play at nursing homes. When we are paid we donate the money to the church. Although we have been featured on television shows a number of times no one is quitting their day time jobs.

Let there be music! Let there be dance! Let the good times roll!

God Bless!

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