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Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk) 09 Sep 99 - 12:54 PM
Wally Macnow 09 Sep 99 - 03:33 PM
Valerie Sommerville 11 Sep 99 - 10:36 AM
raredance 11 Sep 99 - 04:36 PM
Azizi 05 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Dec 04 - 10:51 PM
masato sakurai 06 Dec 04 - 12:38 AM
Azizi 06 Dec 04 - 10:06 AM
Lighter 06 Dec 04 - 10:38 AM
Azizi 06 Dec 04 - 12:57 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Dec 04 - 02:18 PM
Azizi 06 Dec 04 - 02:57 PM
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Subject: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 12:54 PM

I'm looking for the lyrics to the song Lula Gal. The only part I can remember is the chorus which goes: Jawbone walk and Jawbone talk Jawbone eat with a knife and fork I left my Jawbone sittin on a fence And I have not seen my Jawbone since I believe it came up to Canada via the underground railroad, but this is just a guess. Any information is appreciated.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Wally Macnow
Date: 09 Sep 99 - 03:33 PM

"Jawbone walk and Jawbone talk
Jawbone eat with a knife and fork
I left my Jawbone sittin on a fence
And I have not seen my Jawbone since"

These are zipper verses meaning they appear in a number of songs as the singer zips 'em in and out. Bob Gibson recorded a "Lula Gal" for Riverside about 40 years ago but it had verses like

"Oh my Lula Gal, don't you guess,
You'd better be makin' your wedding dress
Wedding dress, wedding dress
You'd better be makin' your wedding dress

Well it's already made. It's trimmed in red.
Trimmed all around with a golden thread
Golden thread, golden thread
Trimmed all around with a golden thread.

Hope that helps. I can probably post many of the rest of the verses if you want them. Problem is I don't know the tune that you have in mind.


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Subject: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Valerie Sommerville
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 10:36 AM

Does anyone know the words to this song? The chorus goes: Jawbone walk and jawbone talk Jawbone eat with a knife and fork Left my jawbone sittin on a fence And I have not seen my jawbone since. Lula gal Lula gal Lula gal Lula gal Wash my shirt girl wash my shirt.....memory fades.

I believe this song came up to Canada via the Underground Railroad to Chatham, Ont. Where I heard it as a girl.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: raredance
Date: 11 Sep 99 - 04:36 PM

Vance Randolph in "Ozark Folksongs" includes a brief song called "The Jawbone Song". He cites other authors who had reported a number of 'Jawbone' songs most commonly collected from the black community in the southern USA. He also says a number of country dance tunes were known as 'jawbone' songs. The jawbone was sometimes used as a musical instrument. The jawbone of a large hoofed mammal (horse, cow, mule)was preserved with the teeth left in it. It was played by dragging a key or some other piece of metal across the teeth. These words aren't exactly the ones you are looking for but maybe someone else can take this further.


My old Miss is mad at me,
Cause I wouldn't live in Tennessee,
Wah-jawbone to my jangle lang,
An' a wah-jawbone to my jangle lang.

I laid that jawbone on the fence,
An I ain't never seen that jawbone since,
Wah-jawbone to my jangle lang,
An' a wah-jawbone to my jangle lang.

rich r

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Azizi
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 09:04 PM

I found this thread by reading a reference to the Calypso song "Rum and Coca Cola" in "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" thread and from there finding a reference to a thread on the calypso song "Tingalayo".

So what does this have to do with "Jawbone"?

These two songs share a "walk & talk" verse as shown below:

my donkey walk
my donkey talks
my donkey eats
with a knife and fork

Samson, shout! Samson, moan!
Samson, bring on yo' jawbone.

Jawbone,walk! Jawbone, talk!
Jawbone, eat wid a knife an' fo'k.

Walk, Jawbone! Jinny, come alon'!
Yon'er [Yonder] goes Sally wod de bootees on.

Jawbone, sing! Jawbone, sing!
Jawbone, kill dat wicked thing.
   in Thomas W. Talley: "Negro Folk Rhymes"{Kennikat Press, p. 12}

Also, I found a similar verse in a passage about plantation dances and instruments in Paul oliver's "The Story of The Blues" {Radnor,PA, Clinton Book Co; third printing, 1973;p.49}

In Texas, where the dances were subject to many ethnic influences, Mance Lipscomb played the Buck and Wing, a plantation dance with bird-like steps and flapping arms, the Buzzard Lope, with hunched shoulders and loose-limbed slides, the Hop-Scop which was danced in "stop-time", with suspended rhythm, and the Heel and Toe Polka which hinted at European origin. Most blues guitarist of an older generation, or songsters, and musicians played for such balls for both white and coloured people, who danced similar dances. Henry Thomas, "Ragtime Texas", called out the sets of his Old Country Stomp while strumming his guitar and playing his pan-pipe "quills".

Get your partners, promenade
Promenade 'round the hall
Fall in this side of the hall
take yo'(your)partners-Promenade

Miss Jenny eat, Miss Jenny talk,
Miss Jenny eat with knife and fork

The playing of "quills" is an indication of Thomas' generation.
A Pan's pipe [is]of but three reeds, made from single joints of common brake and called by the English speaking Negroes "the quills".

end of quote.

From the title of this thread I surmise that the song "Lula Gal" also has these "walk/talk" lines. Are there other such songs?

I wonder how the same verse is found among Black people in the United States South and in the Caribbean? Maybe it's as "simple" an explanation as enslaved people from the Caribbean being re-sold to the South and bringing their culture with them. And I've read that some White Southern slave owners had property in the Caribbean and would travel with their slaves back & forth. So this verse could have come from the US South to the Caribbean and not vice versa.

I welcome any comments regarding this.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Dec 04 - 10:51 PM

Azizi, contact between the West Indies and Venezuela and the south and east coasts of the United States could have occurred almost any time.
"Tinga Layo" originally was found in French patois in Trinidad. Slave owners not only traveled with slaves to their holdings, but hired them out to crew ships not owned by them. The slave owner, of course pocketed the bulk of the money. Contact was especially frequent between New Orleans and the French-speaking islands of the Caribbean (some of which became British colonies). Jawbone songs in the States are known back to the 1840s at least.

"Walk Jaw Bone" was a minstrel song written for the performer known as Cool White in 1844 by Silas Sexton Steele. I am sure that the idea came from slave dances and instruments. The chorus was:
"Walk, jaw bone, Jenny come along,
In come Sally wid de bootees on,
Walk, jaw bone, Jenny, come along,
In come Sally wid de bootees on." See thread 52308: Jawbone

William Beckford reported the jawbone among instruments brought from Africa in 1777 (Dena J. Epstein, "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals").

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: masato sakurai
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:38 AM

The Levy Collection has this edition.

Title: Songs of the Virginia Serenaders. Walk Jaw Bone.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: Written expressly for Cool White by S.S. Steele. Arranged for the Piano Forte by J.W. Turner.
J. W. Turner Publication: Boston: Keith's Music Publishing House, 67 & 69 Court St., 1844.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: In Caroline whar I was born, I husk de wood, an I chop de corn
First Line of Chorus: Walk Jaw Bone, Jenny come along, In come Sally wid de bootees on
Performer: As sung by them with distinguished success in the principal Cities of the Union.
Dedicatee: [Cool White]

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 10:06 AM

Q and Masato, thank you for your comments.

My purpose for posting in this thread was to point out the use of floating verses in songs from African Americans in the United States, from Black people in the Carribean,and{given Valerie's original 1999 post}from Black people in Canada.

I was hoping by posting here to elicit other comments about the similarities between these songs and also hear from members & guests about any other floating verses that they may have found in songs that are part of Black traditions in the United States, in the Caribbean,in Canada, and elsewhere.

Yet, given your comments that credit the writing of Walk Jawbone to a European-American composer, I feel compelled to briefly comment on the attribution of Black folk songs by White collectors of those songs.

I consider Walk Jawbone and many other "minstrel" songs to have been collected from antebellum Black folks in the South. In my view, this song and many other minstrel songs are just earlier examples of what happened with "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" in South Africa and "Rum and Coca Cola" in Trinidad: White individuals ripping off Black folks   and their{our}folk songs and taking the credit and the money for themselves.

See this quote regarding "Buffalo Gals", another song that was allegedly written by the European-American performer John Hodges {Cool White}:

"Buffalo Gals was published in 1844 with the title Lubly Fan; John Hodges a black-faced minstrel published this song. According to Allen and John Lomax, other songs referring to cities like Charleston, New York gals, etc. is a reference to the city, not the animal AND it was a popular tune known before the 1844 publishing."

Here is some information for those who are unfamiliar with Cool White:
Cool White (1821-1891)

Cool White was an actor, singer, and composer, primarily appearing in minstrel shows. He specialized in the caricature of African-American "dandies." White started out with the Falconbridge company, debuting in 1836 as Christopher Strap in the "Pleasant Neighbor" in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. In 1848 he appeared at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, singing "Ethiopian" or minstrel songs between pieces.

All of the above notwithstanding,Q and Masato, I am still very appreciative of the knowledge about folk music that you both share in this discussion forum.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Lighter
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 10:38 AM

This is fascinating, Azizi. I only wonder how you'll be able to show that the songs were originally African American. Isn't the evidence you need - pre-minstrel publication versions - unobtainable?

Except for the occasional couplet, I don't picture the minstrel writers doing any "field collecting." But I'veben wrong before.

I hope you'll pardon my habitual skepticism. This is not to deter you. It's the result of having seen "conceivably" turn magically into "unquestionably" in the writings of too many folksong commentators.

Best of luck with your project.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 12:57 PM


I appreciate your comment.

My purpose is not to prove that any or some or all ministrel songs were in fact sung by African Americans before they were published.
I will leave that possible or impossible task to music historians and ethnomusicalogists and others who have the training, the interest, the will, and the funding to mount such a study.

However, from my reading it certainly seems to me there was a considerable amount of "field collecting" going on back then.

I'm willing to state, though I can't prove it, that White black faced minstrels stole quite a few verses and/or complete songs from African Americans and published those songs under their names. The song "Jump Jim Crow" that is attributed to Rice comes immediately to mind. And since others must consider many minstrel songs such as "Shortnin Bread", "Liza Jane", and "Buffalo Gals" to be associated with African Americans, you will routinely find them in books on African American music such as the book from which I got this incomplete list "Echoes of Africa In Folk Songs of The Americas {Beatrice Landeck: New York, David McKay Company, Inc.,1961}.

However, my purpose in posting here was to elicit comments about and other examples of the same or similar verses in folk songs from the USA {African Americans} and the Caribbean and other communities of African descended peoples.

Any other examples anyone?

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:18 PM

Hi, Azizi. I think that you missed my comment on "Walk, Jawbone," when I said that I "am sure that the idea came from slave dances and instruments."
I agree with Lighter that proof is hard to get. This is why research such as that done by Dena Epstein, in her "Sinful Tunes and Spirituals, Black Folk Music to the Civil War," is important. A comment here, a comment there, in old books, journals and manuscripts, may be put together to provide a picture, albeit sketchy, of the conditions in the period 1780-1840. Black and minstrel music became two sides of a coin.

In Louisiana and Mississippi, especially New Orleans, dances by the slaves on Sunday (for many allowed as a day of recreation) were observed by writers, and were an attraction for white sightseers in "Congo Square" and elsewhere. In 1823, one writer observed the "great Congo dance" where "hundreds of Negroes, male and female, follow the king...." Regarding tThe dancing and revelry in "Place Congo," one writer stated "Every stranger should visit Congo Square... once at least, and my word for it, no one will ever regret or forget it." I am sure minstrel troupes visiting the region knew these performances. The same was true for what had been French territories in the Caribbean, (quotes from Dena J. Epstein) and elsewhere.

Another song with minstrel versions:
House slaves often entertained their masters and guests. One Savannah resident had an African-born slave they called 'Mom Jinny.' He wrote that she had many stories and songs about animals. She sang (ca. 1835) a song that either was borrowed by minstrels or that she had heard from them (which? this is the question):

Dare's a ting dey call him de 'gator.'
He lib on de lan' as well as de water.
He go chingering, chingering, chingering,
Charigo, chingering, chingering, chaw.

Dere's a little ting dey call 'im de chigger,
He lib on de lan' and he bites po' nigger.
He go chingering, chingering, chingering,
Charigo, chingering, chingering, chaw.

Quoted in Dena Epstein, from C. S. H. Hardee, "Reminiscences of Charles Seton Henry Hardee," Georgia Historical Quarterly 12 (1928).
(I well remember chiggers from army training and southern pastures)

Charleston and Savannah were other areas where the 'folk pot' boiled. Both cities had, for a period, black slave owners as well as white. Slaves were often hired out for all kinds of jobs. Information is scattered, but I am sure information on music and entertainment there remains to be found and collated.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lula Gal (Jawbone Walk)
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Dec 04 - 02:57 PM


Your comment "I am sure that idea {for Jawbone Walk}came from slave dances and instruments." is duly noted. I would extend it to include song lyrics.

I appreciate your information and example and the spirit in which they are given.


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