Composer: Traditional

Jack-A-Roe was first performed by the Grateful Dead in May 1977. It was then performed in every year except 1983, 1986 and 1987. Only in a handful of years though was it played more than 10 times. Altogether Jack-A-Roe was performed over 110 times.

Jack-A-Roe also occurs as Jackaroe or Jackaro. It is one of a number of closely related songs that also occur as Jack Monroe, Jack Munro, Jack The Sailor and The Love of Polly and Jack Monroe, possibly also as Jackie Frazer. Possibly the earliest recorded version of a similar song is titled Jack Munro and is held in the ballad collection of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford. This dates from roughly around 1800. (Images of the original documents can be viewed at the Bodleian site.)

A number of versions are collected in Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians and in subsequent folk song collections.

Other traditional songs share lyrics or the story line but are not as closely related.

Grateful Dead

info Reckoning, 1981
info Dozin' At The Knick, 1996
info Fallout From The Phil Zone, 1997
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 13, 1999
info View From The Vault, 2000
info View From The Vault (DVD), 2000
info View From The Vault II, 2001
info View From The Vault II (DVD), 2001
info Dick's Picks, Vol. 29, 2003
info Beyond Description, 2004
info Jerry Garcia: Collected Artwork: Ltd Ed CD, 2005
info Grateful Dead Download Vol 9: 4/2 & 3/89, 2006
info Go To Heaven, 2006 (bonus on exp. CD)
info Reckoning, 2006 (bonus on exp. CD)
info Jerry Garcia: Collected Artwork: Collectors Ed CD, 2007
info Road Trips: Vol 1, Number 1: Fall 1979: Bonus download, 2007
info Road Trips Download: Philadelphia, Nov 6, 1979, 2008
info Winterland June 1977: The Complete Recordings, 2009
info Formerly The Warlocks, 2010
info Road Trips: Vol 4, No. 4: Spectrum 4.6.82, 2011
info Spring 1990 (box set), 2012
info Spring 1990: So Glad You Made It, 2012
info May 1977 (box set), 2013
info Live Albums Collection, 2013
info Complete Studio Rarities Collection, 2013
info Complete Live Rarities Collection, 2013
info Spring 1990 (The Other One), 2014
info 30 Trips Around The Sun Box Set, 2015
info The Warfield, 10/9/80 & 10/10/80, Grateful Dead, 2019
info Dave's Picks Vol 31: Chicago, 12/3/79, 2019
info Giants Stadium 1987/1989/1991, 2019
info The Story Of The Grateful Dead, 2020
info Dave's Picks Vol 41: Baltimore, 5/26/77, 2022

Jerry Garcia

info Shady Grove, Garcia / Grisman, 1996
info Pure Jerry: Marin Vets Memorial Auditorium, Feb 28, 1986, 2009
info Putumayo Presents Bluegrass, Various Artists (Garcia/Grisman), 2012
info Garcia Live 14 Bonus CD: Jan 28, 1986, Garcia / Kahn, 2020
info Shady Grove: Deluxe Edition, Garcia/Grisman, 2020


info July 17, 2011, Wantagh, NY
info Oct 4, 2013, Los Angeles, CA

Dead & Company

info Camden, NJ, 1 Jun, 2018
info New York, NY, 16 Jun, 2018


info Ridgefield CT, April 25, 2005
info Chicago, IL, October 27, 2005
info St. Petersburg, FL, November 18, 2005
info Las Vegas, NV, December 7, 2005
info Danbury, CT, March 20, 2006
info Syracuse, NY, March 30, 2006
info Philadelphia, PA, July 11, 2006
info Hampton Beach, NH, August 24, 2006
info Buffalo NY, October 28, 2006
info Jacksonville FL, November 14, 2006
info Seattle WA, February 17, 2007
info Athens GA, March 22, 2007
info Columbus OH, July 17, 2007
info Darien Center NY, August 19, 2007
info Upper Darby, PA, March 30, 2008
info San Diego, CA, July 2, 2008
info Bethel, NY, August 12, 2008
info Upper Darby, PA, November 14, 2008
info Atlanta, GA, July 17, 2009
info Boise, ID, August 27, 2009
info Westbury, NY, February 22, 2014
info Knoxville, TN, March 14, 2014

Billy & The Kids

info 9/10/15, Jefferson Theater, Charlottesville, VA, Billy & The Kids, 2015


Jackie Monroe (as Jack The Sailor) is collected in Cecil Sharp's English Folk Songs From the Southern Appalachians. The lyrics in that publication are as follows;

There was a silk merchant
In London town did dwell,
He had one only daughter,
And the truth to you I'll tell
Sing lili, lili, O, O lili, lili, O

This young lady she was courted
By men of high degree;
There was none but Jack the sailor
Would ever do for she.

As soon as her waiting-maid
Heard what she did say,
She went unto her father
With her heart content.

Dear daughter, if this be true
What I have heard of you,
It's Jackie shall be vanished
And you confined shall be.

This body you may have,
My heart you can't confine;
There's none but Jack the sailor
That can have this heart of mine.

Poor Jackie, he's gone sailing
With trouble on his mind,
A-leaving of his country
And darling girl behind.

Poor Jackie, he's gone sailing,
His face we shall see no more.
He's landed at San Flanders
On the dismal sandy shore.

She went into the tailor shop
And dressed in men's array,
And went into a vessel
To convey herself away.
Before you step on board, sir,
Your name I'd like to know.
She smiled all over her countenance
"They call me Jack Monroe."

Your waist is light and slender,
Your fingers neat and small,
Your cheeks too red and rosy
To face the cannon ball.

I know my waist is light and slender,
My fingers are neat and small,
But I never change my countenance
To face the cannon ball.

The wars being over,
She hunted all around
Among the dead and wounded,
And her darling boy she found.

She picked him all up in her arms
And carried him to the town,
And sent for a physician
Who quickly healed his wounds.

This couple they got married,
So well did they agree.
This couple they got married,
And why not you and me?

Other recordings

As Jack-A-Roe, Jackaroe, Jackaro or similar
info Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, Tom Paley, 1953
info Songs From Kentucky, Jean Ritchie, 1953
info Courtin's A Pleasure and Other Folk Songs From The Southern Appalachians, Jean Ritchie, Oscar Brand and Tom Paley, 1955
no info Two-Way Trip, Ewan MacColl, 1961
no info Edna Ritchie, Edna Ritchie, 1962
info Joan Baez in Concert, Pt. 2, Joan Baez, 1963
no info Dangerous Songs!?, Pete Seeger, 1966
info The Joan Baez Ballad Book, Joan Baez, 1972
no info Noem, Joan Baez, 1977
info The Songbook, Joan Baez, 1977
no info Ballad Book, Vol. 2, Joan Baez, 1984
info O Love Is Teasin' (Anglo-American Mountain Balladry), Various Artists (Tom Paley), 1985
info Joan Baez In Concert, Joan Baez, 1988
info World Gone Wrong, Bob Dylan, 1993
info Rare, Live and Classic (Box set), Joan Baez, 1993
no info Family Songs and Stories From The North Carolina Mountains, Doug and Jack Wallin, 1995
info Deadbeats Acoustic, Deadbeats, 1996
no info Wind In The Rigging, Ben Tassinari, 1998
no info Amazing Voice: World Collection Vol 5, Various Artists (R. Kern), 19??
no info Off To Sea Once More, Lynn Stokes, 2001
no info Flyin' High, Professor Louie and The Cromatix, 2002
info About As Honest As I Can Get, Don Elburg, 2002
info Bowery Songs, Joan Baez, 2005
info Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares, Various Artists (Natural Breakdown), 2005
info Ships with Tattooed Sails, Jewels and Binoculars, 2007
info Vanguard Visionaries, Joan Baez, 2007
no info The Solar String Band, Mr. Baber's Neighbors, 2007
info Ape & the Wall of Questions, Jason Sinay, 2012
info D'Eadphibians, D'Amphibians, 2012
info First Rehearsals, Sycamore Slough String Band, 2012
info 2/1/13, Columbus, OH, Yonder Mountain String Band, 2013
info 7/3/14, Nashville, TN, Yonder Mountain String Band, 2014
info 1/18/15  Raleigh, The Infamous Stringdusters, 2015
info 8/8/15, Sandpoint, ID, Yonder Mountain String Band, 2015
info Day Of The Dead, Various Artists (This Is the Kit), 2016
info 7/15/16, North Plains, OR, Yonder Mountain String Band, 2016

As Love of Polly and Jack Monroe
info When Kentucky Had No Union Men, George Davis, 1967
info On The Great Divide, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1975
no info Dangerous Examples, Dianne Dugaw, 2001

As Jack Monroe or Jackie Monroe
info English Street Songs, A. L. Lloyd, 1956
no info George Tucker, George Tucker, 1976
no info Round the Heart of Old Galax, Vol 2., Various Artists (Crocket & Perline Ward), 1980
no info A Present from the Gentlemen, John Roberts & Tony Barrand, 1992
info Stay Awhile, Jody Stecher and Kate Brislin, 1995
no info Neat and Complete, Sandra Kerr, 1996
no info Cut to Rhythms, Tania Opland and Mike Freeman, 2003
no info Ten Thousand Miles Away: English and Australian Folk Songs, A.L. Lloyd, 2008

As Jack Went A-Sailing / Jackie's Gone a-Sailing
info Our Singing Heritage, Vol 1, Various Artists (Lori Holland), 1958
info Anglo-American Songs and Ballads, Various Artists (Mrs. Maud Long), 195?
no info Ballads and Songs of the Blue Ridge Mountains:Persistence and Change, Various Artists (Sarah Hawkes), 1968

The song also shares some lyrics, tune or story with the following songs. These include versions of Lily Monroe, The Silk merchants Daughter, Three Golden Guineas and Across The Rocky Mountain.

As Lily Monroe
no info Ballads, Burl Ives, 1959
no info Return of the Wayfaring Stranger, Burl Ives, 1960
no info Folk Music in America, Vol. 2, Songs of Love, Courtship, and Marriage, Various Artists (Uncle Eck), 1976

As Across the Rocky Mountain
no info Mountain Music of Kentucky, Various Artists (Roscoe Holcomb), 1960 (reissue 1996)
no info Bruce Molsky and Big Hoedown, Bruce Molsky and Big Hoedown, 1997

As Three Golden Guineas
no info Music of Tennessee. Recorded Live at the 1981 Brandywine Music Festival, Various Artists (Virgil Anderson), 1982

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