Abner Jay

Having worked in traveling medicine shows and vaudeville revues since the age of five, Abner Jay (1921-1993) rightly described himself as the “last working Southern black minstrel.”

As a solo performer, this one-man-band played banjo, bones (which he describes during the introduction to “Rattle These Bones”), harmonica, and percussion while singing traditional field songs, Pentecostal hymns, and minstrel tunes alongside eccentric original material. Abner Jay traveled down the Suwannee to White Springs from his riverside home in Georgia for the 1977 Florida Folk Festival, and gave the audience a memorable history lesson on American music.
 
“Hambone”
[audio:http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/memory/collections/folklife/blog/s1576_t-77-289_abner_jay_hambone.mp3|titles=Abner Jay|artists=State Archives of Florida]
Download: MP3

“Rattle These Bones”
[audio:http://fpc.dos.state.fl.us/memory/collections/folklife/blog/s1576_t-77-289_abner_jay_rattle_these_bones.mp3|titles=Abner Jay|artists=State Archives of Florida]
Download: MP3

More Info: Catalog Record

Banjoist and bones player Abner Jay performs at the Florida Folk Festival: White Springs (1977)

Banjoist and bones player Abner Jay performs at the Florida Folk Festival: White Springs (1977)