“Jenny Jenkins”


The young man/men try to invite Jenny to the dance by asking her what color she will wear: "Will you wear the (red), O ne'er, o ne'er, o, Will you wear the red, Jenny Jenkins?" She objects to most colors, but at last may agree to one of them


Often used as a courting game. The boy will ask the girl if she will wear a particular color. She is required to answer in rhyme (e.g. "Will you wear the blue... No, I won't wear the blue, for the color isn't true"). If she fails, she must kiss the boy or, perhaps, go to the dance with him.

This has been known to produce some rather strange rhymes -- "I won't wear purple; it's the color of a turtle"; "Orange I won't wear -- and it rhymes, so there!" "Oh, what do you care If I just go bare?" - RBW


  • E. C. & Orna Ball, "Jennie Jenkins" (AFS 8, 1941; on LC02 [the latter listed as by Mr & Mrs. Estil C. Ball])
  • Warde Ford, "Jinnie Jenkins" (AFS 4198 B4, 1938; tr.; in AMMEM/Cowell)
  • Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "Jinnie Jenkins" (on BLLunsford02)
  • Margaret MacArthur, "Jenny Jenkins" (on MMacArthur01)
  • New Lost City Ramblers, "Jennie Jenkins" (on NLCR10)
  • Frank Proffitt, "Julie Jenkins" (on Proffitt03)


  1. Randolph 453, "I'll Never Wear the Red Any More" (1 fragment, related to if not part of this song)
  2. BrownIII 69, "Jennie Jenkins" (2 texts plus 1 excerpt and mention of 1 more)
  3. Flanders/Brown, pp. 164-167, "Jennie Jenkins," "Jane Jenkins" (2 texts plus some odds and ends, 1 tune; one of the texts is from the Green Mountain Songster)
  4. Linscott, pp. 299-300, "Will You Wear the Red? or Jennie Jenkins" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. SharpAp 260, "Will You Wear Red?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Lomax-FSUSA 15, "Jennie Jenkins" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 65, "Will You Wear Red?" (1 text, 1 tune)
  8. Scott-BoA, pp. 48-49, "Jenny Jenkins" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Arnett, p. 11, "Jenny Jenkins" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Silber-FSWB, p. 346, "Jenny Jenkins" (1 text)
  12. Roud #731
  13. BI, R453


Alternate titles: “Jillie Jenkins”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1823
Found in: US(Ap,NE,SE,So)