Shane Speal recently discovered a rare appearance by a cigar box guitar in a vintage film clip, this one from a 1942 music video recorded for the Spike Jones song “Pass the Biscuits Mirandy”. According to the Youtube video post, this short film (which really is a precursor to modern music videos) was called a “Soundie” and was made for playing on special jukeboxes. Continue reading “Cigar Box Guitar in 1942 Spike Jones Music Video”
This video from December 4, 1928 shows a young African American (likely identified as “CoCoMo” Joe Barthelemy) playing a homemade drum kit consisting of a wooden box, tin cans and cake tin cymbals. As he plays, two other boys dance. This type of homemade instrument was a part of the New Orleans “spasm band” tradition, which began in the late 1900’s on the streets of the city, playing a variety of Dixieland, skiffle, jug music and other forms of early jazz forerunners. Continue reading “Homemade Drum Kit being Played, filmed in New Orleans 1928”
The first “spasm bands” were formed on the streets of New Orleans in the late 19th century, playing a variety of Dixieland, skiffle, jug music and other forms of early jazz forerunners. Usually the term “spasm” was applied to bands, often made up of children, which crafted their instruments out of cast-off items and junk. Drum kits made out of wooden boxes and tin cans, cymbals made from pie plates, horns made from old pipes and parts of other instruments, and of course guitars and fiddles made from cigar boxes and other items. These spasm bands were not just one of the forerunners of what we know as jazz… they are also a key part of the history of homemade musical instruments.
Click the image below to visit the University of South Carolina page where you can watch the full video, which is itself a series of excerpts from a longer film.
This clip comes from the 12.12.12 Hurricane Sandy benefit concert, and shows Paul McCartney playing a Matty Baratto Cigfiddle (cigar box guitar) with Dave Grohl and the other surviving members of Nirvana. A few days later, they did it again on Saturday Night Live. These two appearances of a cigar box guitar on stage, in the hands of one of the greatest living musicians, was the biggest public recognition ever received by our namesake instrument, and we include the clip here because of that historical significance.
McCartney also played this cigar box guitar (rumored to have been given to him by Johnny Depp) in Grohl’s “Sound City” film (the single of the song “Cut Me Some Slack” later won a Grammy), and it also made an appearance in one of Sir Paul’s music videos.