This article is 2007 THE CINCINNATI POST

 

THE CINCINNATI POST

 

DANCING PIGS MARK FOUR DECADES OF FUN

 

Date: Thursday, July 19, 2007

 

Section: TimeOut

 

Page: T15

 

Source: Rick Bird

 

Edition: Cincinnati

 

With the catchy motto "Dance and Dine with Ye Syncopated Swine," the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs are at some point celebrating a 40th birthday this year.

 

Founding Pig members, so far, have not stepped forward to recall the exact birth date of the legendary jug band, even if there is one. At this point no 40th party is planned. But they know it was indeed formed in 1967 and have been at it ever since playing what has been dubbed "America's happiest music."

 

The Dancing Pigs best sum up their legacy at their Web site: "They have been around since the early years of the Rolling Stones, have lasted longer than the Beatles and have more living members than the Grateful Dead."

 

"It is kind of amazing," said Pigs guitarist John Marlowe about the group's staying power. "There really is not too much of a call for jug bands anymore."

 

Marlowe laments that younger musicians don't seem inclined to embrace the jug band genre, saying, "Well, we're geezers," noting current members of the five-piece range in age from 47 to 63.

 

When the Dancing Pigs were formed, jug bands were being incorporated into the hippie music culture. "Jerry Garcia was a jugger," notes Marlowe. It was a time when musical experimentation was the order of the day. The folk music revival rediscovered Woody Guthrie and blues artists, and younger musicians, like the Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian, found old-time jug band music could be hip.

 

The Dancing Pigs carry on the tradition playing 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Queen City Balladeers' free Edensong series at Seasongood Pavilion, Eden Park. They likely played one of the first Edensong concerts 40 years ago as well. (It is one of the stronger lineups of the summer at the four-week series, also featuring bluegrass queen Ma Crow and her Motherpluckers, singer-songwriter David Wolfenberger and Greg Schaber's acoustic blues).

 

One reason for the group's staying power is they have had a signature venue that has welcomed them. They have played at the venerable Arnold's Bar & Grill the first Saturday of the month for nearly 30 years. And, yes, young folks do soak up their campy sound.

 

"People have told us they are amazed how young the people are that come see us at Arnold's," Marlowe said. "Half the people that come are regulars and know the words."

 

The Pigs still feature one original member and co-founder, Eric Buhrer on jug, slide whistle, kazoo and "other sound-producing devices." Other members include Keith Baker (washboard, percussion), Ed Horning (banjo-ukulele)and Tom Beck (bass).

 

The Pigs are also one of five jug bands featured on a new live CD, "Jug Band Music? You Can't Be Serious," recorded at Louisville's National Jug Band Jubilee last October. The two-disc, 36-cut set features the Pigs on such classics as "I Like Bananas Because They Have No Bones, "Eggplant That Ate Chicago," and Sebastian's anthem to the genre, "Jug Band Music"; www.cincinnatidancingpigs.org.

 

Roots rock: Those craving the world-class roots and Americana music that Tall Stacks brought to town last fall may not be able to get it in a five-day roots binge, but Magus Productions (Brenda and John Madden) has one of its most ambitious schedules ever for late summer-fall with more than a dozen acts.

 

"My lineup the next couple months looks like something out of Tall Stacks," Madden said. In turn, Tall Stacks last year had at least 14 acts that the Maddens originally introduced to local fans over the years.

 

The lineup includes Ollabelle (Aug. 9) and Rodney Crowell (Aug. 17), who played the festival last fall. In the next week Madden has three shows: Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers (Sunday), The Olds 97s (Tuesday) and Will Kimbrough (July 26). The above shows will be at the Southgate House. Upcoming fall acts include Dar Williams, The Ditty Bops and Shooter Jennings. For complete schedule, www.magus-music.com">http://www.magus-music.com.">www.magus-music.com.

 

Best bets: The Ault Park Summer Dance series features the Modulators 6-10: 30 tonight (free) -- Dweezil Zappa plays his dad's music at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Coney Island's Moonlite Gardens ($20) -- The live radio concert of the week features Rob Fetters (psychodots/Bears) at 9 p.m. Monday on WNKU-FM (89.7) as part of the station's weekly "Studio 89" live in-studio series.