Jug music got its name from the bass sound created by blowing into a whiskey jug. It started as a bunch of poor southern blacks who could really play, getting liquored up on moonshine and letting it rip. This was long before modern (post-WWII) amplification.
American blacks of this time were (of course) segregated and their best performers were generally not allowed a white audience.
Very little survives, as there were few recording sessions, no biographers, and only rare photos to record actual events. This happened during the Great Depression, and most performers didn’t consider a long career in jug music. It was simply good-time music of the moment.
What came out of all this influenced jazz, pop, western swing & country, rhythm & blues, and finally spawned rock & roll.
The Memphis Jug Band was the ‘rockin-est’ jug band of their era, and “Memphis Shakedown” is the genre’s quintessential song. Recorded in 1934, a listener can still sense the fumes kicking in about halfway through, when it gets really crazy. Play it boy… blow dat jug… what’s the matter with you over dere? If you click on only one of the linked videos, make it this one:
Gus Cannon, AKA ‘Banjo Joe’ is the best known jug music artist .
This link seems to be all anyone knows about Jed Davenport & his Beale Street Jug Band .
Jug music still lives & breathes, everywhere.