Junker/Junko/Junco Partner

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Jan 20 18:14:57 UTC 2008

On Jan 20, 2008 2:06 AM, Wilson Gray <hwgray at gmail.com> wrote:
> I was surprised to come across mention of this song in Linguist List.
> Since this is pretty much a folk song, it has a wide variety of words.
> So, FTHOI, I thought that I'd just throw some others into the pot. The
> words below are the oldest that I know of, as I was able to understand
> them from a lo-fi, ca.1949, 78rpm recording by Vic Damone, back in the
> day. It was the B-side of "Vagabond Shoes."

Wilson, are you sure Vic Damone recorded this? I haven't been able to
find any mention of it. "Vagabond Shoes" was released in 1950 with "I
Hadn't Anyone Till You" on the flip side (Mercury 5429). The earliest
recorded version of "Junco Partner" I can find is from 1951, by James
"Wee Willie" Wayne (b. James D. Waynes, c 1923, Texas). More on
Wayne(s) here:


Richard Hayes and Louis Jordan both recorded the song in 1952.  I'm
wondering if the version Wilson remembers might be the one by  Hayes,
since he was a Brooklyn-born pop vocalist like Damone and also
recorded for Mercury.

(BTW, Champion Jack Dupree recorded "Junker Blues" in 1941, but it
doesn't appear to be the same song.)

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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