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 17 recordings of a tune by this name.

A tune by this name has been recorded together with Donald Blue (lots of times), Sleep Soond Ida Mornin’ (lots of times), The Bonnie Isle O’ Whalsey (a few times), Wha’ll Dance Wi’ Wattie ? (a few times) and Lasses Trust In Providence (a few times).

Jack Broke Da Prison Door has been added to 8 tune sets.

Jack Broke Da Prison Door has been added to 115 tunebooks.

Download ABC

Two settings

X: 1
T: Jack Broke Da Prison Door
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
G2BG BdBG|ABAB dBAB|G2BG BdBG|ABAG {EF}E2D2:|
|: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 :|

Eight 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.

Posted by .

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.

Mark

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.

Jack Broke Da Prison Door, X:2

"Green Grows da Rashes" as played by John Stickle in 1947. See note above.