Jump down turn around...what song is this?

Well, I got an old CD of folk songs for children that was compiled before the days of PC, and it had several songs about picking cotton. One of them was “Jump down turn around,” but that’s not the song I’m trying to remember, it’s just the song that set off the memory.

I could swear that I’ve heard a song with that refrain, only it was in a movie or a blues album or something, and it was several voices singing it repeatedly. For some reason my brain thinks it might have been in “The Blues Brothers” but I don’t know. It was a modern song, not an old folk song.

Can anyone help me? It’s really bugging me.

Pick a Bale of Cotton is the only name I’ve known the song by.

Jump down, turn around
Pick a bale of cotton

Jump down, turn around
Pick a bale of hay

etc etc etc

Pick A Bale Of Cotton?

Oops. Hit reply too soon.

I’m not familiar with any modern songs with those words.

Maybe it’s Temptation by New Order? There’s a part that goes like this:

Up down, turn around
Please don’t let me hit the ground
Tonight I think I’ll walk alone
And find my soul as I go home

There’s a Leadbelly version of “Jump Down Turnaround, Pick a Bale of Cotton” which sounds like it.

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” has an old blues/gospel soundtrack and might have the song you’re thinking of (only suggesting because you thought “Blues Brothers”, and my brain tends to connect things oddly like that).

insert inevitable ‘Rio’ joke here


insert inevitable ‘Rio’ joke explaination here

The song is by Leadbelly, as Irish Girl explained. Actually, it’s probably a field song sung by slaves, whose real origins are lost, but Leadbelly recorded it for posterity.

It’s special to me because I once led a taproom full of drunken English folks in several rousing choruses of it. My best friend was marrying an English girl from a very small town, and I was there as best man. The first day we got there, we tromped down to the local pub, where the old men were singing bar songs. They asked where I was from, and when I answered “Alabama,” they all demanded that I lead them in a song from Alabama. “Pick a Bale of Cotton” was as good as I could do under intense pressure and jet lag.

I know, I know, I should have picked a Hank Williams tune, but it didn’t make any difference to the drunken gents. They must have roared out “Oh Lordy, pick a bale of cotton!” for ten minutes.

Very special memory for me.

This may be a stretch, but consider the following lyrics from Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, especially the line ‘Get jailed, jump bail’ :
Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army, if you fail

I know this. It’s a song by Traffic from the 1960s. The lyric goes:
Jump down, turnaround, have yourself some fun.
no man’s an island to be …(word unclear) everyone.
Maddeningly, I can’t remember the song’s title but I do know that it appears on 2 disc Traffic compilation called Feelin’ Alright, their spelling not mine. if no one else can produce the song title, I’ll listen to the discs tonight and let you know the song title tomorrow.

I was going to suggect Traffic as well, but the song “You Can All Join In”. One of the lines is (IIRC): Jump UP, turn around, make sure no one puts you down…"

To clarify, it’s a bluesy/folky song, and it should be a riff on the original folk song, but it was a particular recording. I would have an easier time recognizing a New Order tune! :slight_smile:

So I’m now listening to the “O brother where art thou” soundtrack, in the hopes that it’s there. I don’t know where to find the Leadbelly recording, but that sounds like my best bet so far…

Heh, funny stuff!


It’s not there.

Try track 2 here.

There’s also “Jump Down, Turn Around (Pick a Dress o’Cotton)” by Allan Sherman, from his album My Son, the Folk Singer. :slight_smile:

Thanks Ogre. That’s not it either, but I quite enjoyed it and may need to get a Leadbelly album.

Oh well, I’ll probably come across it someday. Thanks everyone.

Poop. I was so sure.

Is it possible that you’re thinking of Gordon Lightfoot’s Pride of Man?
The lyrics are " Turn around go back down go back the way you came", but when you said “Jump back turn around”, it was the first thing I thought of.

You can listen to a bit of it here.