County Jail (I), The

DESCRIPTION: "As I was standing on a corner, Not doing any harm, Along came a policeman And took me by the arm." The singer ends in prison. He watches the bedbugs and cockroaches play ball. The food is terrible: "The coffee tastes like tobacco juice"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1939 (Gardner/Chickering)
KEYWORDS: prison police food hardtimes floatingverses bug
FOUND IN: US(MW) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Gardner/Chickering 147, "The County Jail" (1 text)
Lehr/Best 106, "They Locked Me Up in Bonavist' Jail" (1 text, 1 tune)

ST GC147 (Partial)
Roud #3673
cf. most other prison songs, especially "Song of an Old Time Jailbird" (theme of hard times in prison and the dangers posed by bugs)
NOTES [64 words]: Nearly every part of this has parallels elsewhere, but the combination, particularly the bedbug/cockroach contest, seems to be unique. - RBW
Lehr/Best's tune is close to the usual one and the cockroaches and bedbugs playing ball are replaced by "a hundred and fifty bedbugs playing a game of ball." It has "coffee like tobacco juice and bread so hard as steel." Close enough for me. - BS
File: GC147

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