Jack Broke Da Prison Door reel

Also known as Destructive Jack, Jack Broke Da Prison Door (and Went Ska!), Jack Broke Down The Prison Door, Jack Broke The Prison Door, Jock Broke Da Prison Door, John Broke The Prison Door.

There are 23 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Jack Broke Da Prison Door appears in 1 other tune collection.

Jack Broke Da Prison Door has been added to 33 tune sets.

Jack Broke Da Prison Door has been added to 146 tunebooks.

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Three settings

X: 1
T: Jack Broke Da Prison Door
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:g2gd edBd|g2gd ea{b}af|g2gd edBG|ABAG {EF}E2D2:|
X: 2
T: Jack Broke Da Prison Door
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2 g2 ggdg|eaag ageg|gded BdBA|GBAG E2 D2:|
G2 BG dGBG|A2 Bd e2 ge|G2 BG dGBG|ABAG E2 D2:|
X: 3
T: Jack Broke Da Prison Door
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:g2gd edBd|g2gd eaaf|g2gd edBG|ABAG E2D2:|

Ten comments

A lively little Shetland tune, also known as “Jack Broke Down the Prison Door”. If there are further parts C and/or D, I haven’t come across them. If anyone does, perhaps they would like to post them as a comment.

I have heard this played at plenty sessions, but only ever heard 2 parts. I play it exactly as posted, but with a ‘c’ instead of ‘A’, 1st note 2nd bar. I’ve associated it with “John Spence Of Uyeasound” and “Sleep Soond Ida Moarnin’”.

Piece of Shetland!

From the book: “Hand me doon da fiddle” (Tom Anderson, Pam Swing).

Dis een wis made up be an auld fiddler named Jack Goudie frae da Ness. Some said dat he’d hed a dunt on his head whin he wis young dat gave him queer turns. He wis a very good fiddler an made up loks o’ tuns. Wan night in Lerook wi a dram in him he got a queer turn an the poliss lockit him up ida auld prison. He waited til dey wir sleepin an dan he brook doon da prison door an made fir hame as fast as he could. Da poliss wir awaur it he wis gaen, bit tocht it better to let be fir let be, so dey didna geng efter him. Whin Jack got hame he took his fiddle an made up dis tun an caaed him, “Jack Broke da Prison Door”. If da listens to da first twartre notes du can hear hit sayin dat.

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Thanks, Kenn. I’d often wondered who this Jack character was, who crops up in the titles of a number of Shetland tunes.

Reminds of the Boys of the Lough. They often played the short reels to increase the excitement and pump you up for a big finishing tune. I have used the technique with good success. I always viewed these as a break from the more intricate fingerings of the tunes on either side. You kind of do your talking with the bow on this one.


Jack Broke Da Prison Door/Green Grows da Rashes

The Shetland fiddler John Stickle (1875-1957) played a reel setting of the well-known Scottish tune “Green Grow the Rashes” which was collected by Pat Shuldham-Shaw in 1947. With the parts reversed, it’s extremely reminiscent of “Jack Broke da Prison Door”. I think I’ll add that setting here for comparison.

Re: Jack Broke Da Prison Door

Dave Kaynor is the fiddler in the first set of little reels. Sadly he is afflicted by ALS and has lost his ability speak normally.
Sylvia Miskoe, Concord NH Usa