The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band
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The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band

Band Americana Folk


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: Endangered Species"

On the appropriately named Guano label, this New Jersey band drops some of their lovely ensemble work onto CD. Beautifully recorded, they put their strong musicianship and vocals in the service of cooperation, not competition. Endangered Species is full of finely crafted arrangements, making it one of the most musical and enjoyable jug band recordings available.

Each track features from five to eight players, out of a pool of ten musicians, six of whom take turns on lead vocals. Aside from occasional washboard percussion, the instrumentation is of two basic kinds. The mouth instruments give a homegrown, downhome novelty sound (kazoo, harmonica, jew’s harp and jug), while the string instruments (fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, ukelele and the washtub bass) provide a blues and sometimes bluegrass sound.

While the inspiration from the Lovin’ Spoonful and Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band is evident on certain pieces, the Dirdy Birdies find good songs in many places, from ‘60s folkie Patrick Sky to bluesman Washboard Sam to the Fats WaIler tune, “Looking Good But Feeling Bad,” they learned from a Jack Teagarden album. Red River Dave’s “Ballad of Amelia Earhart” from 1939 is one of many standout tracks.
- Planet Jazz Magazine

"Make tracks to buy Dirdy Birdies’ ‘Tracks’"

Just because they call themselves a jug band doesn't mean
the Dirdy Birdies Jug Band sounds like the Jim Kweskin Jug Band Or the late Yank Rachel.

Fact is, there isn't a jug or washboard in this terrific band that includes Goshen's Joe Bell, But that doesn't mean the Dirdy Birdies aren't making some darn good music.

Think of the Dirdy Birdies as
a mix of Dan Hicks and his Hot
Licks, Commander Cody and his
Last Planet Airmen and Bill
Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, with a dash of Maria Muldaur thrown in when Barbara Brummer sings.

The Dirdy Birdies' album, 'Tracks,' is chock-full of finger-lickin', bluegrass-pickin', swingin' and bluesy music with lots of fun lyrics about naughty sweeties, delicious pigeons and masculine women and feminine men.

You might not know how to categorize “Tracks,” but once you listen, you’ll know this: It’s darn good.

Steve Israel

- Orange County NY Times-Register

"Dirdy Birdies Jug Band packs wry humor with its engaging repertoire of folk, pop"

by George Kanzler

In folk music, there are many styles and approaches to the basic material - the music. Some performers are dedicated traditionalists, others create their own songs and styles, but even when doing satirical songs or sing-alongs, most folkies are serious about what they are doing.

And then there are the members of the Dirdy Birdies Jug Band, whose approach can best be described as seriously irreverent and amiable fun. The Northern Jersey based group, once part of the sixties folk scene in Greenwich Village, performed Friday night at The Minstrel Coffeehouse at the Somerset County (Great Swamp) Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Sterling Rd., Basking Ridge.

The original jug bands were a hybrid outgrowth of black minstrel bands in the 1920s, combining novelty instruments like the jug, kazoo and washboard, with stringed folk-blues instruments like guitar, banjo, fiddle and harmonica. The seven Dirdy Birdies Jug Band members employ all of those instruments plus a washtub bass (a single string strung taut from the bottom of an upended washtub to the top of a broomstick).

Some of the material the Dirdy Birdies do they call “traditional jug band songs,” but their approach isn't exactly atavistic; they're more interested in having fun with the music rather than preserving it in formaldehyde. And the songs they do come from a wide spectrum of pop and folk sources, from the Beatles to Roy Rogers.

With a washtub and washboard providing a zany rolling beat, the members of the band careen through songs with zestful, infectious glee, trading off lead vocals or singing in harmonies that draw from such sources as bluegrass, white gospel and Sixties pop-rock.

The approach brings rollicking life to such old songs as “Blues My naughty Sweetie Gives to Me,” “Wild About My Lovin’” and “Rose of Old Kentucky.” And it works just as fine with pop songs from a later era, as the group's Beatles tribute, “I’ve Just Seen a Face” amply proved.

One of the highlights of the band's first set was “Zen Gospel Singing’” a delightful parody of white gospel singing, delivered in authentic four-part vocal harmony, purporting to tell the story of a Southern Baptist converted to Buddhism who misses his gospel singing heritage. The song ends with a typically outrageous, awful pun, delivered with such good humor it wins you over: "Om Sweet 0m.”

The second set included “My Gal,” a song comparing the titular subject to rich and poor girls in often hilarious fashion, "Bravest Cowboy" delivered with a fine cowboy warble by the group's high tenor lead singer, and “Blues in the Bottle", a traditional song with really fine harmonica and banjo solos that reminded us that despite all the casual fun this band is having, it also sports some good musicianship.

One of the funniest songs of the night was "Big Fine Woman,” sung by "Anna Conda," the washtub bassist (all the group members employ stage pseudonyms), with a tag line, "I'd like to show you what it's like to be loved by a woman of my size," answered with a dreadfully slow male chorus of "yes's".

Two other comic-novelty songs stood out in the second set, “Euphoria’” a quirly celebration of same, and “Extrasensibility,” a comic send-up of paranormality.
- The Star-Ledger (New Jersey)


'Endangered Species' - Guano Records DB0001
'Tracks' - Guano Records DB002



- May 14, 1965 - Montclair State College, Montclair, NJ. The very first performance of The Dirdy Birdies Jug Band, who, at that time, didn't even have a name.

- September 29, 1967 - The Birdies headline at Gerde's Folk City in New York City, a venerable Village club, notable for some of the first performances of a guy from Minnesota named Bob Dylan...whatever happened to him anyway?

- January 13, 1968 - The Dirdy Birdies win "The Big Break" a battle of the bands sponsored by Cousin Brucie and WABC Radio in New York City. The Birdies beat out 500 other bands, almost ALL of them of the rock and roll variety.

- June 12, 1987 - Birdies headline at The Half Moon in London, capping off a 10-day tour of the UK.

- October 21, 2006 - The Birdies celebrate their ONE MILLIONTH performance with an appearance at The National Jug Band Jubilee in Louisville, KY, the birthplace of jug band music! (See the video!)

Those are a few career highlights of a band that has been playing jug band music for more than 40 years.

The term "home-made music" is particularly appropriate in describing the musical meanderings of The Birdies...jug, washboard, washtub bass, kazoos and a plethora of percussion-producing devices combine artfully with banjo, guitar, fiddle and dobro to celebrate a truly American musical style, while dragging it kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

THE DIRDY BIRDIES JUG BAND are the descendants of a long standing tradition of jug bands, beginning during the early part of the 20th century as "spasm" bands, and consisting of street musicians with little or no formal musical training. These bands, including the Memphis Jug Band, and Gus Cannon's Jug Stompers, utilized few true musical instruments, but made up for that shortcoming with the imaginative use of home-made instruments and tight vocal harmonies.

The tradition was continued during the folk music revival of the 1960's by such new groups as the Even Dozen Jug Band and the Jim Kweskin Jug Band.

Of all these groups, only one, clinging to and reaffirming the Darwinian thesis of "survival of the fittest," remains...THE DIRDY BIRDIES JUG BAND, The World’s Most Dangerous Jug Band!.