“Liza Jane”

Alternate titles: “Goodbye Liza Jane”; “Saro Jane”; “Little Saro Jane”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (Cecil Sharp collection); +1893 (JAFL6)
Keywords: courting drink nonballad work floatingverses
Found in: US(Ap,So)


"Goin' up on the mountain To plant a patch of cane, Make a jug of 'lasses To sweeten Liza Jane. O po' Liza, po' gal, O po' Liza Jane, O po' Liza, po' gal, She died on the train." About moonshine, courting Liza Jane, (and dodging work if possible)


The "Saro Jane" referred to under "Alternate Titles" should not be confused with "Rock About My Saro Jane," which is a different song.

This song is almost certainly of minstrel origin, and shares many floating verses with other, similar minstrel-show songs.

The Rufus Crisp recording, "Ball and Chain", is in fact one of those conglomerated songs incorporating floating verses from a dozen sources; RBW suggests putting it here because more of its verses seem to come from here than anywhere else.

Ditto the George Roark recording; I put it here for want of a better place. It could also go under "Don't Get Trouble In Your Mind," as its lyrics overlap with that song, but it doesn't have the plot theme of rejection. In fact, it doesn't have a plot at all. - PJS

Cross references



  1. Randolph 435, "Liza Jane" (3 texts, 1 tune)
  2. BrownIII 437, "Eliza Jane (II)" (1 text, which looks more like this than anything else though it lacks the chorus)
  3. SharpAp 244, "Liza Jane" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
  4. Sandburg, pp. 132-133, "Liza Jane"; "Mountain Top" (2 texts, 1 tune; the "B" text, "Mountain Top," appears mixed with "Moonshiner" or something similar); 308-309, "Liza in the Summer Time (She Died on the Train)" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Thomas-Makin', p. 127, (no title) (1 fragment in which the girl is "Susan Jane")
  6. Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 7-8, "I Went Up on the Mountain Top" (1 text, 1 tune); also p. 192, "Hawkie Is a Schemin' Bird" (1 text, with the "Hawkie" first stanza, a chorus from "Lynchburg Town," and verses such as "Went up on a mountain To give my horn a blow" and "Climbed up on a mountain... To sweeten Liza Jane")
  7. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 284-286, "Liza Jane" (2 texts, 1 tune. The main text is composite)
  8. Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 591 [no title] (1 text)
  9. Silber-FSWB, p. 30, "Goodbye 'Liza Jane" (1 text)
  11. Roud #825
  12. BI, San132