“Got the Jake Leg Too”


Singer wakes up in the middle of the night with "jake leg"; he can't get out of bed and feels nearly dead. His Aunt Dinah has it; a preacher drinks and gets it too. Singer warns against drinking "Jamaica ginger"; he will pray for his fellow jake-leggers


In 1929-1930 public health authorities in the USA became aware of an epidemic of neurological disease, "jake leg", characterized by irregular, halting gait and muscular palsy, caused by impurities contained in bootleg liquor, most notably "Jamaica ginger." Jake leg inspired numerous tunes and songs among country and blues artists. - PJS

Cross references

  • cf. "Jake Limber Leg Blues" (topic)


  • Ray Brothers "Got the Jake Leg Too" (Victor 23508, 1930; on RoughWays1)


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (recording, Ray Brothers)
Keywords: disease warning drink