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
CROSS-REFERENCES:
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: 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

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.