The Speckers- The Jack of Diamonds

On his birthday, local fiddling sensation John Specker performs in the Okemo Valley TV studio. Jack of Diamonds (a.k.a. Jack o' Diamonds and Jack of Diamonds (Is a Hard Card to Play) is a traditional folk song. It is a Texas gambling song that was popularized by Blind Lemon Jefferson.[1] It was sung by railroad men who had lost money playing conquian.[2] At least twelve white artists recorded the tune before World War II. It has been recorded under various titles such as "A Corn Licker Still in Georgia" (Riley Puckett) and "Rye Whiskey" (Tex Ritter).[3] The song is related to "Drunkard's Hiccoughs",[4] "Johnnie Armstrong", "Todlen Hame", "Bacach", "Robi Donadh Gorrach", "The Wagoner's Lad", "Clinch Mountain", "The Cuckoo", "Rye Whiskey", "Saints Bound for Heaven", "Separation", and "John Adkins' Farewell."[5] This family of tunes originally comes from the British Isles, though is most well known in North America.[6] The lyrics may originate in the American Civil War song "The Rebel Soldier" and the melody from the Scottish song "Robie Donadh Gorrach", known by Nathaniel Gow as "An Old Highland Song".[7]The tune may have German origins as well. It was sung as a children's song in Germany in the 1880's or before. The lyrics were "Zwei katzen drei rotten und ein schwarze kuh, das kipf mir mein vater van ich heiraten du." The English translation is, "Two cats, three rats and one black cow, my father will give me when I marry you." (With a dowry like that, who could resist the match?)
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