Born Sept. 12, 1883 in Red Banks, M.S. Died Oct. 15 1979 in Memphis, TN.
A remarkable musician (he could play five-string banjo and jug simultaneously!), Gus Cannon bridged the gap between early blues and the minstrel and folk styles which preceded it.
Self-taught on an instrument made from a frying pan and a raccoon skin, he learned early repertoire in the 1890s from older musicians, notably Mississipian Alec Lee. The early 1900s found him playing around Memphis with songster Jim Jackson and forming a partnership with Noah Lewis, whose harmonica wizardry would be basic to the Jug Stompers' sound. In 1914, Cannon began work with a succession of medicine shows which would continue into the 1940s, and where he further developed his style and repertoire.
Cannon's Jug Stompers first recorded at the Memphis Auditorium for the Victor label in January 1928. Hosea Woods joined the Jug Stompers in the late 1920s, playing guitar, banjo and kazoo, and also providing some vocals.
Although their last recordings were made in 1930, Cannon's Jug Stompers were one of Beale Street's most popular jug bands through the 1930s.
By the end of the 1930s, Cannon had effectively retired, although he occasionally performed as a solo musician.
He returned in 1956 to make a few recordings for Folkways Records. In the "blues revival" of the 1960s, he made some college and coffee house appearances with Furry Lewis and Bukka White He also recorded an album for Stax Records in 1963, following the chart success of "Walk Right In", with fellow Memphis musician Will Shade, the former leader of the Memphis Jug Band.