adapted by John Feierabend as one of his SongTales that accompany First Steps in Music curriculum. Illustrated by Ashley Maurer.
This picture book is one in a series based on beloved children’s folksongs, part of John’s lifelong goal to identify and preserve the best music of our heritage for future generations.
In the United States, Jennie Jenkins was sung as a way for a boy to ask a girl to dance. The boy would sing the first part and pick a color and the girl would have to make up an answer that rhymed. If the girl failed to quickly respond with an appropriate answer, she would be required to dance with the boy.
“Jennie Jenkins” (as “Jane” Jenkins) is first found in the United States in the 1823 collection, The Green Mountain Songster, compiled by a Revolutionary War soldier from Sandgate, Vermont.
Includes a description of the history of the song, the notation of the song, and a link to a free MP3 download of the song (see below).
"Jennie Jenkins is among the most sprightly of the old dialogue songs which were sung at social gatherings such as apple-peelings, quilting bees, and church socials. On these occasions much entertainment was provided as the young folks teased each other through the medium of answer-back verses, some of which, depending upon the song, had to be improvised on the spot."
- Alan Lomax, in his Folk Song USA (1947)