In the Jailhouse Now (3:19)

Cover of The Essential Jimmie Rodgers

From The Essential Jimmie Rodgers and 51 other releases

“In the Jailhouse Now” is a novelty blues song originally found in Vaudeville performances from the early twentieth century, usually credited to Jimmie Rodgers. The song’s three verses trace the exploits of Ramblin’ Bob, who cheats at cards and gets caught, while the final verse tells about taking a girl named Susie out on the town and winding up in jail together.

Rodgers’s “In the Jailhouse Now” was recorded February 15, 1928, in Camden, New Jersey, and features Rodgers on vocals and guitar, with Ellsworth T. Cozzens playing banjo. Rodgers included his famous yodel throughout the song. Rodgers recorded a sequel titled “In the Jailhouse Now—No. 2” in Hollywood, California, in 1930, which follows the misadventures of a man named “Campbell.”

The earliest copyright for the song is a 1915 version by two African-American theater performers named Davis and Stafford. The song has been covered many times, most frequently in Jimmie Rodgers’s version. Artists who have sung it include Tommy Duncan, Webb Pierce, Pink Anderson, Johnny Cash, Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions (featuring Jerry Garcia), Merle Haggard, Doc Watson, and Tim Blake Nelson with The Soggy Bottom Boys in the film and soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

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