Monday, August 31, 2009

Limber Jack - Part One

I purchased a marvelous 'Limber Jack'.
Originally from Europe, limberjack dancing toys were made in Appalachia and the Ozark mountains. they are a very fun percussion 'instrument', and are easy to learn to work.
Here is a wonderful clip of Jean Ritchie playing her limberjack.
Here's John Kirk and Trish Miller and 'Jack' playing with their little friend Jack too. ;)

I better get practicing on it! I know the littlest children who come to the farmer's market in town (where we play fiddle and banjo) will just love it. They are always clapping their hands and dancing to the music when we play.

You can get your very own wonderful walnut wood hand-carved Limberjack from Keith Young, mountain dulcimer maker of Virginia: Keith's Limberjacks. Keith also made a beautiful curly maple mountain dulcimer for me 12 years ago.

Time for 'Jack' to get clogging!....

Here is a little video clip of "Cloggin' Clyde" from the the other day when we were playing music at our local farmer's market. Clyde is slowly getting his 'moves' together. ;D

Ok these English guys really know how to have fun!:

Here are my other two limberjacks- a Frenchman, and Mr. Pig...

UPDATE, March 2010-
I've now had some experience playing my limberjacks at farmers' markets and such.
There are some small children who barely look at them and seem jaded and uninterested, but then you get the other children who make it all worth while. Last summer, a group of four children, ranging from age 4 to 7 or so, stopped dead in their tracks at our local farmer's market and came running over to watch my limberjack dance. You wouldn't believe how HUGE their eyes got, like dinner plates!, and then they all started laughing and pointing in delight, and the more he danced the more they laughed. I swear the little wooden man was inspired to dance his very best! Then they started trying to dance like the limberjack, and they laughed even MORE, finally collapsing right there on the ground in a heap of child glee and belly laughs. It made me so happy! I think that was the very best audience I ever had. :)
I love playing my limberjacks. I have five of them now, all different. I may wind up with more eventually, I love them so. Plus, they are way cheaper than banjos or dulcimers!

Also- see my latest "Limberjack Part Two" post from 2010 HERE.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. Not sure how I missed it- I read all of your blog posts and really have learned alot. I even found my favorite song ever-Pretty Polly---what an awesome tune.
    Anyway- My main hobby is ventriloquism- and has been for many years--......I love puppets of all kinds--this limberjack guy is so cute--I am going to order one tomrrow--thanks---Denise

  2. Hey Great, Denise!
    Be sure to tell Keith that you saw it on Lisa's dulcimer blog!
    You might like this site too:
    I got a 'pigman' limberjack from him from England. Likely will order another from him as well. :)

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  4. Nice post. I recall getting one of these as a kid while visiting Berea, KY with family in the early 1970s. We called it a Dancing Dan, and he sits proudly today in a glass-front cabinet in our music room.