Rock the Cradle, Joe (Key of D)

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

This lesson was taught by our friend Cecil Gurganus when he visited us at fiddle camp one evening.

Genre: Old-Time
Skill Level: Intermediate

Rock the Cradle Joe (1 page, PDF)

Rock the Cradle Joe is an old-time tune, perhaps descended from "Rock the Cradle, John" which was licensed by Laurence Price in 1631 in England. Alternate titles include "The Humours of the Priest's House," "Miss Johnson," "Miss Johnson of Houghton Hall," "The Muster Bank," "The Mountainy Man, and “Rocking the Cradle." It is also related to the 'B' of "Sally Ann.”

This version was taught by Cecil Gurganus of Watauga County, NC, at my free Fiddle Camp. It is in the tradition of of J.W. “Babe” Spangler of Meadows of Dan, Virginia, who recorded it in the late 1940’s. The following ditty is sometimes sung to the tune in old-time tradition:

(A) Can't get up, can't get up,
Can't get up in the morning;
What we gonna do if the baby cries?
Rock the cradle Joe.

(B) Rock the cradle, rock the cradle,
Rock the cradle Joe;
Rock the cradle, rock the cradle,
Rock it nice and slow.

(A) What’ll we do when the baby cries
I don’t know;
What’ll we do when the baby cries
Rock that cradle Joe.


Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Rock the Cradle, Joe (Key of D)

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • Author
  • #46219

    I really like this!



    I love that tune…they all sound so good!


    I can use this song as the date is about the time  (1630) that my granddaddy (X10 greats) disembarked in Mass.   I connect the music with the events and this fits.  Now to learn it!   Will watch it over and over so thanks for providing it.


    It’s a fun tune, Ruckydoo…you’ll have a good time with it.

    Steve Srader

    I love watching your kids camps ! You should post more of them ?


    Steve…it sure looks like fun, doesn’t it?  I’d go to that camp if i was close enough, even though i’m a 60=something kid…lol.  Still it’d be fun.

    Steve Srader

    Yes It would be fun to be outdone , outclassed by a three year old ! we can always use someone like kids to humble us and inspire us , and if we’re lucky maybe they would share some of their secrets !

    John (BGD)

    Ralph, I love putting songs in a historical context too. It is so much more meaningful that way!

    Steve, I do need more videos of camp. I’ll be taking more this summer, Lord willing.


    Steve, I’m humbled by so many kids on musical instruments…lol…just watch a few youtubes and you’ll be blown away!  I limp along as best as I know how…some of these kids are great.  John’s camp kids are really great…amazing.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.