The Jake Leg Jug Band
Some Glad Morning
Green Bullet Records (release date: March 5, 2024)

By Robert M. Marovich

To categorize the Jake Leg Jug Band as simply a jug band leaves out the group’s traditional jazz, country, and bluegrass influences. All of these styles are on display on Some Glad Morning, a twelve-song collection of classic hymns, spirituals, and gospels.

Joining the UK-based American roots music trio of Duncan Wilcox, Liam Ward, and Warren James are a team of talented supporting musicians and singers. The vocalists sing with gut-busting gusto on selections such as “Just Got Over at Last” and “Meeting at the Building.” They are supported by a mélange of instruments that include jaw harp, washboard, banjo, musical saw, comb and paper and, of course, jug. In other words, something akin to sacred skiffle.

The band’s chugging rhythm in that distinctively propulsive jug band rhythm as displayed on “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel” and “They Hung Him on the Cross” (aka “I Know It Was the Blood”), is what makes these two selections the album’s finest moments.

On the other hand, “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” is rendered in old-time country style, with mournful dobro and fiddle juxtaposed against a jazzy clarinet to suggest the bittersweet reality of dying as the passage to glory. The group gives a similarly somber treatment to “I Want Jesus to Walk With Me.” “Light from the Lighthouse” (aka “Shine On Me”) demonstrates the group’s traditional jazz chops, which are substantial. In fact, the arrangement for “My Life Will Be Sweeter Someday” sounds plucked from the Yerba Buena Jazz Band songbook.

Some Glad Morning is joyous music performed with joyous abandon, a tent revival where jazz and country musicians lead the singing.

Four of Five Stars

Picks: “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel,” “They Hung Him on the Cross”

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Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.