Jubilee Britches

Jubilee! The origin of that word goes back to Biblical times referring to the emancipation of Hebrew slaves. “It must be now that Kingdom’s coming in the Year of Jubilo,” sang slaves in North America in the 1860s anticipating the end result of the Civil War.

But around Mobile Bay, Alabama, the word “Jubilee” conjures up one image – seafood on the beach. Well, not seafood – yet. Fish and water-life soon to be transformed into dinner that have literally left their underwater home and swam or crawled onto the bay’s Eastern Shore, waiting to be scooped up.

Nobody can predict it

This phenomenon is caused by an unpredictable oxygen imbalance that forces the fish to go to the surface to breathe. That’s the scientific explanation. Some say it’s a miracle or just plain providence that gives the people of Baldwin County this accessible abundance of fresh goodies for the taking.  Emancipation for the fish, opportunity for good eatin’ for the inhabitants of the Eastern Shore.  For the recent inhabitants of the Bay itself, it’s kind of an “out of the water and into the frying pan” experience.

Grab yo’ bucket and light!

When I lived in Mobile, a friend from the Eastern Shore (which includes Spanish Fort, Daphne, Fairhope, Point Clear and other communities) told me that he kept a pair of pants on his bedpost during the summer so he could jump into them and run out to the beach with his bucket when someone outside yelled, “Jubilee!”

He called those pants his “Jubilee Britches.” Now there’s a song title and story waiting to be written. So I wrote it – I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as the people on Mobile Bay have enjoyed many a jubilee.

Jubilee Britches

Jubilee Britches
Words and music by Les Kerr
Copyright 1997 Publisher: O.N.U. Music (ASCAP)
Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light
All God’s little fishes swam up on the beach tonight
They came without a warning – why, no one can say
At two o’clock this morning down on Mobile Bay
Put on your Jubilee Britches. Wake your sleepy head
We got to scoop up the shrimp and fishes; ‘fore too long, they’ll be dead
Some people don’t believe it.  They say, “It’s just too odd.”
But if you’ve ever seen it, you know it’s an act of God
Put on your Jubilee Britches, that miracle is here
There’s fresh fish on the beaches from Fairhope to Point Clear
Nobody can predict it or say why you can see
Mother Nature contradicted with a real live Jubilee!
Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light
All God’s little fishes walked in on the water tonight
All the friends and neighbors and all the next of kin
They’re out there talkin’ about the flavors as they just haul ‘em in
Put on your Jubilee Britches; grab your bucket and light
All God’s little fishes walked in on the water tonight
We’ gonna cook ‘em up just right
We’re gonna eat well tomorrow night
Put on your Jubilee Britches

Text copyright 2012 Les Kerr.  Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com

About Les Kerr

Les Kerr is a songwriter, recording artist, journalist and author originally from the Gulf Coast now based in Nashville, Tennessee. Learn More about Les at www.leskerr.com
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2 Responses to Jubilee Britches

  1. Libby Lu says:

    Thanks for giving us the background on Jubilee! I never knew this bit of history, but I do know that area well. We were just down there visiting kin folk in Daphne this winter. One day I shall live in Fairhope. It has part of my heart.

    Love your writing. No fair for one person to be musical and gifted with words! But I’m not bitter. ☺

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