Up Jumped the Rabbit

As played by Lowe Stokes from the Georgia region

Reel or Breakdown in C

From the Skillet Lickers Collection

3 files for this tune:

Melody-Only Transcription (PDF)
Full Transcription (PDF)


78rpm Record


This transcription is sponsored by Dr. Fiddle contributor Patrick Towell.

Stokes recorded this tune in 1930 with a band under the name of the Georgia Pot Lickers (tunes from the same session, recorded with the same band, were released under different band names). The 78rpm for this record seems to be pretty rare; one sold on eBay for $10,126.05 (see this interesting article by Lisa Wheeler).

Two fiddlers can be heard in the recording, one playing lead and the other twin or backup. The second fiddle often played harmony. I suppose the lead fiddler to have been Lowe Stokes, and the second fiddler was probably Bert Layne. As with all such recordings, I have tried to pick out the lead as much as possible, resulting in a transcription playable on a single fiddle. It probably includes some notes from Layne, especially some of the double-stopped harmony notes.

The biggest challenge here is to get the syncopation and timing right. Beware of ties, which Stokes used to achieve his syncopation. The ending is played using Spicatto bowstrokes, marked with Xs in the transcription.

At three points in the recording, the lead fiddle stops and the second fiddle plays backups while someone (presumably Dan Tucker, as credited on the label) sang some doggerel lyrics. I have transcribed the fiddle backup to the vocals as best I could; it may not be particularly accurate, and it is likely Layne’s fiddling rather than Stokes’. The lyrics are as follows:

Up jumped the rabbit with a great big smile
A hound dog run him a solid mile
His foot slipped and he said, “oh me!
I know right now that the joke’s on me.”

Skeeter and a bumblebee playin’ Seven Up
Skeeter won the money but afraid to pick it up
Went around the mountain and over the hill
And the last we heard he’s goin’ still

Old Mister Rabbit, your eyes are mighty round
Said, “yes, by gosh, I’m ahead of the hound.
Tell you what and you know it’s true
Old Mister Hound, it’s me and you.”

Note: Seven Up is a variant of poker, and skeeter is a colloquial term for mosquito.


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