Walk Jawbone (2)

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WALK JAWBONE [2]. AKA and see "Alex Dice," "Jacket Trimmed in Blue," “Din Tarrant’s,” “I Have a Bonnet Trimmed with Blue (1),” “I Have a Donkey He Wouldn't Go,” “Jawbone,” "Krakoviak" (Boehme), “Old Joe Bone,” “Tá Boinéad agam,” “Tarrant’s.” Old Time, Breakdown. F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Apparently adapted by American black face minstrels from an Irish/British melody (see, for example, the version in Frank Roche's Collection of Traditional Irish Music, vol. 2, 1912, No. 302, as "Set Dance"). However, ultimately the tune is derived from a Continental melody (see "Krakoviak"), Polish in origin, that appeared in Germany as "Krakovienne" around 1842-50. It was disseminated extremely quickly, across national borders and genres, as, while it was still popular in Germany, three text parodies were printed in the minstrel songster The Negro Singer's Own Book (1843).

The "Walk Jawbone" title is derived from an instrument used in minstrel bands as a rhythmic accompaniment: the jawbone of a horse, mule or ox was held in one hand while a key or other piece of mental was pulled across the teeth, resulting in an odd sound. This practice may have its origins in slave communities, and may ultimately stem from African practice. However, according to musicologist Charles Wolfe, 'Jawbone' was also a stock character in a blackface minstrel troup. Early country music recordings are by Pope’s Arkansas Mountaineers (1928) and the Mississippi group Carter Brothers and Son (1928, as “Old Joe Bone”). Ira Ford (Traditional Music in America, 1940) printed this couplet with the tune:

Walk, jawbone, Jenny, come along.
In come Sally with her bootees on.
Walk, jawbone, Jenny, come along.
In come Sally with her bootees on.

Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers sang:

Little old man come riding by
Say, 'Old man, your horse will die'
'If he dies, I'll tan his skin
'If he lives, I'll ride him again'

Chorus:
Walk jaw bone and walk away
Walk jaw bone both night and day

Jaw bone walk and jaw bone talk
Jaw bone eat with a knife and fork

Jaw bone broke and wire flew
Hide my head in the (high land) too

My wife died in Tennessee
Sent that jaw bone on the fence
Hung my jaw bone on the fence
I haven't seen my jaw bone since



Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Ford (Traditional Music of America), 1940; p. 103. Minstrel Songs Old and New, 1882; p. 210.

Recorded sources: County CD 3506, Pope’s Arkansas Mountaineers – "Echoes of the Ozarks" (reissue). Document DOCD-8009, Carter Brothers and Son (reissue). Musical Traditions MTCD321-2, Dan Tate (et al) – “Far in the Mountains vol. 1 & 2” (2002). Rounder CD 0435, Cecil Mountaineers (1928). Goforth (et al) – “Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks.” Victor 21577 (78 RPM), Pope's Arkansas Mountaineers.

See also listing at:
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]




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