“The Jawbone Song”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1917 (Cecil Sharp collection)
Keywords: music marriage nonballad nonsense floatingverses dancetune
Found in: US(SE,So)


""Dance all night with a bottle in my hand/Just 'fore day give the fiddler a dram." "Jawbone walk and jawbone talk/Jawbone eat with a knife and fork" "My old Miss is mad at me, Cause I wouldn't live in Tennessee" 'I laid that jawbone on the fence...."


I'm including versions of "Give the Fiddler a Dram/Dance All Night With a Bottle In Your Hand" here, because many of them share the same tune and several verses. A case could be made for splitting as well, but in practice the two branches of the family are hard to distinguish. - PJS

This is an instance where, unusually, Roud does not lump; "Jawbone" is Roud #7728 and "Give the Fiddler a Dram" is #3657. But Paul has heard far more of the 78 recordings than I have. My initial description of "Jawbone" was as follows:

"My old Miss is mad at me, Cause I wouldn't live in Tennessee, Wah-jaw-bone to my jangle lang, An' a wah-jaw-bone to my jangle lang." "I laid that jawbone on the fence, An' I ain't seen that jawbone since. Wah-jaw-bone to my jangle lang...." - RBW

Cross references



  1. Randolph 259, "The Jawbone Song" (1 short text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 222-223, "The Jawbone Song" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 259)
  3. Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 103, (no title) (1 fragment, without the chorus); also p. 103, "Dweley" (1 text, a collection of floating verses including one from this song, one from "Crawdad," and others); also p. 104, "Lula Gal" (1 text, 1 tune, at least partly this song though the chorus appears to be something else)
  4. SharpAp 246, "Give the Fiddler a Dram" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #7728 and 3657
  6. BI, R259