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Brenda Lee - Ballin' the Jack

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Uploaded on Sep 3, 2009

Brenda Lee covered Ballin' the Jack on her first album entitled "Grandma, What Great Songs You Sang!" (Later renamed "Brenda Lee Sings Songs Everybody Knows") . She was a Judy Garland fan and I suspect this cover came about because the song was in "For me and My Gal" (1942) where Judy and Gene Kelly did this song.

(J. Barris - C. Smith)

Well you put your two knees close up tight,
And then you swing them to the left
You swing them to the right.
Step around the floor kind of nice and light.
And then you twist around and
Twist around with all your might.
Spread your loving arms way out in space,
Then you do the Eagle Rock with the style and grace.
Swing your foot way round then you bring it back.
That's what I call Ballin' The Jack.

Well you put your two knees close up tight,
And then you swing them to the left
You swing them to the right.
Step around the floor kind of nice and light.
And then you twist around and
Twist around with all your might.
Spread your loving arms way out in space,
Then you do the Eagle Rock with the style and grace.
Swing your foot way round then you bring it back.
That's what I call Ballin' The Jack.

The song was written in 1913, before modern jazz. Its structure, however, lends itself to jazz, blues and pop adaptations. The lyric merely describes dance movements. Modern songs have used the term "ballin' the jack" in other contexts, including sexual, but originally it was just railroad repair term. A ball was jacked against a rail in order to straighten the rail. The original writers must have thought the phrase catchy enough to start a dance craze.

Mr. C's Amazin' Facts:

For her first album, Brenda Lee recorded this and 9 other songs on the same day. The date was 26 January 1959 and only six weeks past her 14th birthday.

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