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What is a mountain jack?

Suffet 20 Sep 09 - 11:50 AM
Fred McCormick 20 Sep 09 - 12:10 PM
VirginiaTam 20 Sep 09 - 12:14 PM
VirginiaTam 20 Sep 09 - 12:17 PM
Fred McCormick 20 Sep 09 - 12:34 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Sep 09 - 02:46 PM
open mike 20 Sep 09 - 02:58 PM
Amos 20 Sep 09 - 03:53 PM
greg stephens 20 Sep 09 - 04:03 PM
Bettynh 20 Sep 09 - 04:08 PM
Amos 20 Sep 09 - 05:03 PM
stallion 20 Sep 09 - 06:19 PM
Barry Finn 20 Sep 09 - 06:37 PM
Peace 20 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM
Jeri 20 Sep 09 - 07:12 PM
Stringsinger 20 Sep 09 - 08:32 PM
Bob the Postman 20 Sep 09 - 09:18 PM
Amos 20 Sep 09 - 11:15 PM
Roger the Skiffler 21 Sep 09 - 08:28 AM
sharyn 21 Sep 09 - 09:46 AM
VirginiaTam 21 Sep 09 - 03:07 PM
open mike 21 Sep 09 - 03:48 PM
VirginiaTam 21 Sep 09 - 04:35 PM
Fortunato 21 Sep 09 - 04:44 PM
Peace 21 Sep 09 - 05:07 PM
Jeri 21 Sep 09 - 05:35 PM
Amos 21 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM
Bob the Postman 21 Sep 09 - 07:23 PM
Stringsinger 21 Sep 09 - 07:34 PM
Peace 21 Sep 09 - 07:45 PM
Barry Finn 21 Sep 09 - 09:45 PM
Amos 21 Sep 09 - 11:14 PM
catspaw49 22 Sep 09 - 05:01 AM
dwditty 22 Sep 09 - 06:52 AM
Bob the Postman 22 Sep 09 - 08:12 AM
catspaw49 22 Sep 09 - 08:35 AM
Amos 22 Sep 09 - 09:35 AM
Bob the Postman 22 Sep 09 - 09:38 AM
catspaw49 22 Sep 09 - 11:43 AM
VirginiaTam 22 Sep 09 - 02:20 PM
Amos 22 Sep 09 - 02:26 PM
Bob the Postman 22 Sep 09 - 09:33 PM
Dave the Gnome 22 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM
Barry Finn 23 Sep 09 - 12:06 PM
Amos 23 Sep 09 - 12:27 PM
Bettynh 23 Sep 09 - 01:16 PM
Amos 23 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM
Stringsinger 23 Sep 09 - 03:29 PM
Amos 23 Sep 09 - 06:45 PM
Barry Finn 24 Sep 09 - 12:11 AM
Amos 24 Sep 09 - 11:58 AM
GUEST,Muskwatch 20 Mar 14 - 02:26 PM
GUEST,Iain 21 Mar 14 - 04:54 AM
Jack Campin 21 Mar 14 - 07:25 AM
GUEST,SKIP RIDER 10 Nov 15 - 12:44 PM
Thompson 10 Nov 15 - 04:07 PM
Lighter 10 Nov 15 - 05:00 PM
Amos 10 Nov 15 - 10:14 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 15 Jan 17 - 04:05 PM
GUEST 02 Sep 17 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Ebor Fiddler 02 Sep 17 - 02:45 PM
GUEST,Randy 11 Apr 18 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Apr 18 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,JTT 13 Apr 18 - 06:30 AM
Mr Red 14 Apr 18 - 03:17 AM
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Subject: What is a mountain jack?
From: Suffet
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 11:50 AM

If I could holler like a mountain jack,
I'd climb the mountain and call my baby back.


So goes a well known blues couplet. But what exactly is a mountain jack? Both Google and the Wikipedia are of little help. Does any Mudcatter know?

--- Steve


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 12:10 PM

A blues pianist and singer called Neal Roberts recorded a song called Wild Jack Blues in 1928 in Dallas, with animal imitations by Billiken Johnson. I starts:

"Wildjack's on the mountain and he brays the whole day long"

and ends

"I'm gonna keep my wildjack if I have to chain him down".

The rest of the song is in similar vein and it's obvious that Roberts is using a donkey to represent a phallic motif.

Anybody ever heard of a mountain donkey?


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 12:14 PM

Might be attributed to folk hero character Jack.

Mountain Jack Tales, children's book by Gail E. Haley

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
In a lucid, vibrant voice, Caldecott Medalist Haley ( A Story, A Story ) recounts stories which originate in the rugged North Carolina mountain country. Following a diverting introduction comes an animated assortment of 10 fairy tales, fables and tall tales with one commonality: each revolves around Jack, a young man who encounters kings, giants, mysterious old men and talking animals. In one tale the kind and zealous protagonist has brothers or a wife; in the next, he has none. This folktale Everyman will "risk just about everything to have an adventure. It's like a hunger he has, and his dreams will lead him into places where an older, wiser person might think twice about goin'." Haley's use of metaphor, hyperbole and dialect captures the playful spirit of mountain lore. Her emotive, elaborate wood engravings--as well as her afterwords about the stories, the art and the language itself--enrich this buoyant anthology. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 2-6-- Haley retells nine Jack tales in this collection that provides a kind of sequel to her Jack and the Bean Tree (Crown, 1986). Once again, she uses Poppyseed, a mountain woman, to provide the framework for the stories. The selections come from Haley's grandmother, and have changed over time as she herself has heard versions from other countries and from such mountain tellers as Ray Hicks. The origins and influences on her stories are discussed in an afterword, as is the process of creating the art. Like Richard Chase's The Jack Tales (Houghton, 1943), the stories feature a North Carolina dialect (a glossary is provided), but Haley's voice is more matter-of-fact, less ironic, and there's less dialect but it seems more artificial. Each story is illustrated with one or two bland, black-and-white wood engravings that seem too stilted for what should be lively tales. Young readers will find these offerings accessible; older children, teachers, and storytellers will appreciate Haley's background information and may incorporate it into their own oral tellings. However, Chase's book is still preferred. --Barbara Chatton, College of Education, Univ . of Wyoming, Laramie
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 12:17 PM

hhmmm Jack = jackass. And seems more probable. Another allusion to the mule which figures large in American folk song.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 12:34 PM

VirginiaTam. "Jack = jackass"

That was a thought that hadn't struck me and it sounds highly plausible.

I'm less convinced by the Jack tale theory though. Firstly, and I may be talking completely out of the back of my hat here, while Jack tales were widespread in England and White America, I don't recall that they penetrated the Negro tradition very much.

Equally, and I could be talking pure off the top of my head crap again, I don't recall any Jack tales that deal with hollering on mountains.

However, another thought has just struck me. Could the term 'mountain Jack' simply have meant someone who performed mountain hollers?


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 02:46 PM

My parents called a pack mule a jack. Rather common name in the west for a mule, donkey.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: open mike
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 02:58 PM

Jackie Torrence ,storyteller had several albums of Jack Tales.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002FS4M0E/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001UXJNJK&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1VV58MFAF2ZWA2RTPVCX

and here is a book called Southern Jack Tales
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874835003/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B001UXJNJK&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1VV58MFAF2ZWA2RTPVCX

also a book called the jack tales...
http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Tales-Richard-Chase/dp/0618346929/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_b

maybe some connection there?


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 03:53 PM

A mountain jack is simply a woodsman in mountain country. They are renowned for being able to yell from holler to holler, like Swiss yodelers.

Compare the construction to a lumberjack, a jack of all trades, etc. A "jack" is, essentially, a man in some sort of work.




A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 04:03 PM

I had a book which explained Leroy Carr's phrase as referring to a jack rabbit. I have no idea, or theory, as to which suggestioin is correct!


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bettynh
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 04:08 PM

I don't know about Carolina, but in New England there's a linguistic connection between middle-sized (loud) work engines and donkeys/jackasses. "Donkey Riding" the sea song is about that kind of engine. "Wildjack's on the mountain and he brays the whole day long" had me imagining someone at a distance pulling logs from woods with this kind of engine. The mention of chains in the song just reinforces that image.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 05:03 PM

The reference was to a mountain jack renowned for his ability to holler. People who live and work in mountains, before the days of wireless comm and nation-wide phone nets, communicated by sheer lungpower, because it would take so long to go all the way down one side of the mountain and up the other.


A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: stallion
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 06:19 PM

It's a tall naturally occuring monolith - but how did you know my name was Jack?


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 06:37 PM

The song continues
"If 'n I could hollar like a mountain Jack
I'd climb this mountain call my baby back"

we're not talking bout mules, donkeys of jackasses here

IMHO, Amos is dead right

Hollar's are known from being heard at long distances. In the prison fields a field hollar would be song as a call & response usually done by one worker but far across the field it could be answered/responded by another lone worked, cutting cane or picking cotton.

Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Peace
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 06:51 PM

'He [Ray Charles] once wished in song he "could holler like a mountain jack," and holler he did. In cries and wails, screams and moans, punctuated by church chords, throbbing from the gutter on Saturday nights, he was everyman.'

Was using a google of

"mountain jack", holler

Doesn't answer the question, though.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Jeri
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 07:12 PM

I've got an older dictionary.

Under jack:

3. a sailor; jack-tar.
4. a lumberjack
11. a jackdaw

I vote for lumberjack as they're often found on mountains and they've been known to holler. Sailors, not so much and a jackdaw is a European bird.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 08:32 PM

Hollering like a mountain jack could possibly be a wild donkey. That may be far-fetched
but it's a possibility.

Mountain jack could also be some other sort of animal such a mountain lion.

I don't think the puzzle has been solved, yet.

Frank


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 09:18 PM

Loaded like a long-eared jack ?

Of course it's about donkeys.

jack = male donkey
jenny = female donkey


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 20 Sep 09 - 11:15 PM

Frank, I love you like a brother and I honor you and respect you. But that is the most tin-eared thing I have ever heard you say! :D

Come on folks. Mountain jacks is possibly a back formation from lumberjack, or it may just be a cousin to it, but there are no donkeys involved, I am sure.

A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Roger the Skiffler
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 08:28 AM

I'm with Amos on this: cf Leiber & Stoller's "Evil": My daddy was a mean-eyed Mountain Jack.


RtS
(middle name: Misery)


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: sharyn
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 09:46 AM

I've always assumed this was a lumberjack living in the mountains.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 03:07 PM

Just to add to the confusion there is this.

Gotta haul that timber 'fore the sun go down
Get it cross the river 'fore the boss come round
Drag it down that dusty road
Come on Jerry let's haul this load

Timber holler Timber
Cuz oh that timber gotta roll.

My old Jerry was an Arkansas Mule
Been every where and he ain't no fool
Weighed nine hundred and ninety two
Done everything that mule can do.


etc.

So we have a mule and we have a man hollering timber and still no explanation of Mountain jack. Mule skinners were the ones driving the mules right? So they would not be lumber jacks. Yet here is one hollering timber. Why is that?

Well that enough speculation from me.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: open mike
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 03:48 PM

i like the connection between holler as in shout/yell
and holler as in a valley between two hills or mountains. (hollow)


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 04:35 PM

I always thought that is where the word holler came from. Just a holler (or shout) away was same as a hollow away. As in one could give a shout and be heard in the next hollow.

Hence just a holler away.

Clear as mud?

I have just confused myself with my own rambling.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Fortunato
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 04:44 PM

Well, well. I don't know any lumberjacks, but I do know some jackasses, small 'j'. I've not had the pleasure of knowing any Jackasses of the mule persuasion personally, either.

But when I sing "Come Back, Baby" from now on I will think of a loud, braying Jackass on the side of a mountain, I think. Lumberjack as a word just isn't very musical. Although Amos' confidence is infectious, even if he made it up...

(I'll just get my hat...)

chance


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 05:07 PM

Two days dickin' around and nothing.

The problem here is not the mountain part, it's the jack part. I can't see the mountain jack as being a lumberjack. They scan equally well, so call it what it is.

I favour the jack as being some sort of mule or donkey (and please don't tell me the differences. I've had them explained to me by ranchers, peasants, dictionaries and folks who know. I still don't--no offense.)

I think holler is a verb (not a noun referring to a 'hollar' or a song).

If anyone really nails it, someone please let me know if you'd be so kind. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Jeri
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 05:35 PM

I'm still going with lumberjack (per my post yesterday), a lumberjack who works on a mountain. If the dictionary gives 'jack' as an shortened version of 'lumberjack', the whole word isn't necessary in the song and somebody can stick 'mountain' in there. Donkeys are nice, but they don't holler so much as bray, and mountain lumberjacks would have to holler 'timber' pretty loud.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 06:14 PM

The hollering of "Timber" is almost the trademark of the lumberjack, or mountain jack.

In the late 20th century, however, a new meaning crept into this honorable term "mountain jack", with the introduction of a new fangled device which borrowed the name: a hysroulic machine designed for making mountains out of molehills.

Lumberjacks and other mountain people holler across hollows, which are also called hollers in the vernacular. However the etymology of the two is quite different, one stemming from the ancient verb "halloo" (as in fox hunting) and the other from the word "hollow", IM not-so-HO.

"1699, Amer.Eng., var. of hollo (1542) "to shout," especially "to call to the hounds in hunting," related to hello. As a style of singing (originally Southern U.S.), first recorded 1936." (online Etymological Dictionary)


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 07:23 PM

Just as a side note, around here whenever you see a logging truck parked beside the road someone is sure to remark that the driver must have stopped to let the forestry worker off.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 07:34 PM

Lieber and Stoller wrote a lot of rewrites of old blues songs.

their "Houndog" for instance. They might not have known what a mountain jack was
but picked it up from the How Long Blues.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Peace
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 07:45 PM

But, then again, maybe it's a lumberjack.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 09:45 PM

Chance, next time you sing this just think of a mule saying "let's talk it over one more time".

I'll be laughing while your singing it too.

We'll have o dig this one up at the getaway
Amos you can listen to the two if us singing it & grin & pick

Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 21 Sep 09 - 11:14 PM

My daddy was a donkey,
And my momma was a mare,
I triedto holler to my jenny mule
But there weren't no jenny there
Oh come back baby!
Let's talk it over,
One more time.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 05:01 AM

Of course all of you are aware that when a logging train stops in the deep woods, it let's the lumber jack off................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: dwditty
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 06:52 AM

He's baaaaaaack! : )


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:12 AM

Beat you to it, Spaw, AND showed a little class.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 08:35 AM

Sorry Bob ....thought I read all the posts but.......besides, we all need a no-class jerk like me to put forth the obvious (;<))


Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:35 AM

Bob:

I needed SPaw's version to clarify what the fuck you were on about!


A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:38 AM

Then it's a good thing I didn't allude to "effecting the disembarkation of the silvicultural technician".


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: catspaw49
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 11:43 AM

Yeah Bob.....that's the idea. That's why you are in an important position.   See, a lot of 'Catters, especially types such as Amos and me, are too gawd dumb damn to dispel urine from high-topped footwear even when assisted by a comprehensive tech manual conveniently located.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: VirginiaTam
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 02:20 PM

Bless him... Spaw's back... Now git back to bed or I'll tell Sinsull.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 02:26 PM

If I could emanate vocal signals of great amplitude
Like an altitudinous silvicultural technician,
I would ascend the most precipitous promontory,
And entreat my significant other to re-establish our relationship.


Yeah, man, that really swings, ya know woddeye mean? LOL!!!



A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bob the Postman
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 09:33 PM

How many times do ya gotta be told, it ain't altitudinous silvicultural technician, it's altitudinous male individual of the species Equus africanus asinus (or hybrid thereof).


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 22 Sep 09 - 11:22 PM

Is it like a car jack but LOTS bigger?

:D (eG)


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 12:06 PM

I don't care what size they come in, I don't want to be car-jacked!

Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 12:27 PM

Bob:

You need to spend more time with your JEnny--studying etymology. It may be folk music, but ain't no mule hollering in it.


A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Bettynh
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 01:16 PM

"So we have a mule and we have a man hollering timber and still no explanation of Mountain jack. Mule skinners were the ones driving the mules right? So they would not be lumber jacks. Yet here is one hollering timber. Why is that?"

Traditional logging, at least around here, is more than just cutting down a tree. You have to get the logs out of the woods. Think crosscut saws and teams of mules or oxen pulling whole trees attached by heavy chains. (If you're in New England, this weekend is the Common Ground Fair , run by the Organic Farmers of Maine. They'll be demonstrating the mule and oxen teams all weekend.)

Loggers worked in gangs, all male, for long stretches in the woods, doing dangerous things. Sorta like landlocked sailors, with in-town reputations to match. Loggers were muleskinners when they had to be. According the to the Wiktionary, "jack" can be anything male, both loggers and mules. English has a wonderful trick of turning a blended image into a single word.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 01:31 PM

There ya go. And the ones who hollered from the mountains weren't the mules.



A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 03:29 PM

Got another idea. It could be a mountain lion.   They scream in the mountains.

I see nothing about lumberjacks being called mountain jacks. It seems unreasonable
that they would be cutting down trees in the mountains where trees are sparse.


LeRoy Carr wrote "How Long Blues" and he lived in Indiana most of his life.

Frank


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 23 Sep 09 - 06:45 PM

Frank:

There are tree-lines in all mountains above a certain height, above which conditions are not good for trees and they are sparse; but below that line, they can grow thickly. Bear in mind that any "mountains" east of the Mississippi are likely to be foothills. And they are often rich with trees, often used for lumbering.

A "jack: is a man skilled in work, regardless of the trade-sailing, lumbering, wheelwrighting or whathave you. "If I could holler like a mountain jack, I'd climb a mountain and call my baby back" is a sentiment that does not (to me) bring the yowl of painters to mind. Maybe your woman would respond to such a call, but none of mine would!!!


A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Barry Finn
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 12:11 AM

Your woman???

Sorry for laughing so hard but if'n you hollered Amos I won't be able to hear you if I'd been sleeping in the next bunk but I know you snore like a goddam ape


& that's why I have to keep the windows open

Barry


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 24 Sep 09 - 11:58 AM

OH, Barry, woe betide. Do you recall there is a list of berthing assignments at the check-in desk? If you EVER get to bed during the Getaway you can look forward to a harsh reality check as to whether you would be able to detect my "SOOOOOOO_WEEEEEEE!" call from three feet away. (I'd get closer, but your halitosis...).



A


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Muskwatch
Date: 20 Mar 14 - 02:26 PM

I'm pretty sure that a Mountain Jack is some kind of a mountain goat, perhaps the leader of a herd. I found the term in a dictionary of a native language, and am in the process of figuring out what it means.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Iain
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 04:54 AM

very vaguely related to this thread. The origin of holler or hullabaloo.
Hulla builin, outcry, noise of hunt
(from west cork history blog-Irish words in use in the thirties)


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Mar 14 - 07:25 AM

Nope. "Holler" = "hollo" which the OED traces back to the 1520s, from a French origin.

"Hullaballoo" maybe (no reason to believe it's related in origin to "holler"), but its earliest sources are from Scotland and Northumberland in the 18th century, and anybody asserting an Irish origin had better show how it might have got there.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,SKIP RIDER
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 12:44 PM

IN WEST VIRGINIA WHERE I COME FROM MOUNTAIN JACK IS A SMALL RED SQUIRREL ALSO CALLED A FAIRYDITTLE.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Thompson
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 04:07 PM

A mountain jack is a tool used by lumberjacks to lift mountains out of the way when they need to move the wood.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Lighter
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 05:00 PM

Nobody can doubt that a "mountain jack" is a lumberjack's tool used for the purpose indicated.

But beyond that, a "mountain jack" is an old term - still in use evidently - in parts of West Virginia for a fox squirrel and in parts of Pennsylvania for a snowshoe hare.

Since I've never heard a squirrel or a rabbit "holler," I'm inclined to think the MJ in the song is a narrow-gauge locomotive of the kind
sometimes used in Appalachian lumbering operations.

That term has also been around for a long time.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Amos
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 10:14 PM

Come ON you guys. Hollering "like a mountain jack" does NOT apply to squirrels or locomotives. Get real, here!

I miss Barry Finn.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 15 Jan 17 - 04:05 PM

"A jack" meant a worker. As in "jack-of-all-trades."

"Now there was Billy Anderson,
A jack from Puget Sound,
A fella who could lift a ton
Like some men lift a pound."
-- _Tote-Road And Trail, Ballads of The Lumberjack_, D. Malloch, 1917.

Some workers in the mountains hollered loud, e.g., "Timber."

Sid Harris (1885-1927), a pianist on the T.O.B.A. circuit in Alabama, wrote the song "Mountain Jack Blues," 1926, which was recorded by Ma Rainey, who was well-known and widely copied.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Sep 17 - 01:07 AM

I think "stallion" nailed.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Ebor Fiddler
Date: 02 Sep 17 - 02:45 PM

He would!


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Randy
Date: 11 Apr 18 - 05:39 PM

And don't forget it's also used in the classic Elvis song "Trouble" from the movie King Creole.

If you're looking for trouble
You came to the right place
If you're looking for trouble
Just look right in my face
I was born standing up
And talking back
My daddy was a green-eyed mountain jack
Because I'm evil, my middle name is misery
Well I'm evil, so don't you mess around with me

So it's implied here that a Mountain Jack was tough son-of-a-gun.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Apr 18 - 03:51 AM

“Mountain Jack” is how Harry Belafonte &co. sing it.

Heehaw - The mating call of the American Mammoth Jack is... very loud.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 13 Apr 18 - 06:30 AM

Side note: Jack of all trades, master of none.

A 'jack' was someone who had completed part (I think two years) of his seven-year apprenticeship, so was semi-skilled. He had not become a 'master' by completing a 'masterpiece' in his final year that would be judged by the other masters of the trade as proving that he was now fully competent in that trade.


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Subject: RE: What is a mountain jack?
From: Mr Red
Date: 14 Apr 18 - 03:17 AM

Reading all this I can't get the phallic motif out of the imagery because, quite specifically, of the word "jack".

If it's Blues and looks like innuendo, then it is innuendo. IMNSHO

If there are several meaning to be gleaned and it's a lyric, then those meanings support the wider appeal of the song. And often they are all there because they were put there. But not always, as I found with some of my songs, but mostly.


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