The term "fusion" has come to be accepted as meaning a mix/combination of jazz with elements of rock, R&B/funk and/or pop. But fusion has been around for a long time, but nobody called it that: there was Western Swing, combining big band and "hot" jazz with country & western, blues and Tin Pan Alley pop, in the 30s through the 50s and its revival in the 70s; and there was Third Stream in the 50s and early 60s was a conscious attempt to conjoin jazz with the Euro-American classical/notated tradition. And don’t let’s forget that magnificent bastard child of the 50s, the one that came to be known as rock & roll. Back in the 20s & early 30s, there was a style known as jug band music, an amalgam of country blues, ragtime, gospel, early country music, minstrelsy and vaudeville, played on guitars, harmonica, fiddle and little and "improvised" instruments like the kazoo and a (blown) jug. One of the best known was The Memphis Jug Band, a quartet who played that funky music of their day. And if you harbor notions this was some quaintly "homey" and innocuous style/genre of music, think again: the loping "Cocaine Habit Blues" slyly celebrates and condemns the joys of nostril in a brazen way that no rowdy top-o’-the-world gansta rapper or dissipated jet-set rocker could match. "You May Leave, But This Will Bring You Back" and "Memphis Jug" are filled with a randy irreverence and joie de vivre matched by sizzling, exacting musicianship and hearty, gospel-derived vocal harmonies. Nobody could conceive of it at the time, but this was 20s rock & roll, folks, but all acoustic and filled-to-bursting with the down-home roots music of the American South and charged with the inventiveness and impudence of the era’s jazz. (The fiddle on "Memphis Blues" anticipates some bluegrass and country fiddle styles in the decades to come.) With their style, approach and songs, The Memphis Jug Band contain/epitomize the roots of the Grateful Dead and The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Merle Haggard and Cephas & Wiggins. This here nicely annotated, fine-sounding 23-song package is heartily recommended to ANYONE at all interested in the roots of ALL kinds of American music.