JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER)

Live 15 May 1971 version


[Bruce Springsteen (spoken):] Thank you now, thank you very much. We have a special treat for... (chuckles) for youse today.
[Steven Van Zandt (spoken):] The funky gets to do it, yeah!
[Bruce Springsteen (spoken):] Uh... Garry?

Well I got a girl I wanna tell you her name
She lives way down south in New Orleans
Well she's strong like a lion, she's wild like a tiger
And I call my woman Jumbeliah
Jumbeliah, she's my fire

Oh, well she hits you like a hurricane
Well she drives old Dr. Zoom insane
She's a good little woman, she's a hot rock and roller
She's built like Marilyn Monroe and she walks like Smokey Stover
Jumbeliah, she's my fire

Well she was born and bred down Louisiana
Dressed in blue jeans and a red bandana
She comes on, she loves a man in clover
She loves him so hard, all you can do is
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, over and over

[Instrumental]

Jumbeliah, she's my fire
Well she, when she get you, she locks you in her room
She comes on to you, like a big Sonic Boom
Oh when she loves a man, she puts him in clover
She loves him so hard, all you can do is
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[Music stops]
[Bobby Williams unaccompanied:]
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[Bruce Springsteen (spoken):] Big Bad Bobby Williams! Southside!
[Southside Johnny joins in]
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[Steven Van Zandt joins in]
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[Vini Lopez joins in]
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[The Zoomettes and the rest of the gang join in gradually]
(Jumbeliah) Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
[Bobby Williams (spoken):] S'awright!
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
(Jumbeliah) Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, (hey!) roll over
[Music resumes]
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over
Roll over, roll over, roll over, roll over


Info

JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) is a song written by Bruce Springsteen. He performed it live with Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom and with The Bruce Springsteen Band in 1971.

Title

Among Bruce Springsteen fans, this song has long been known under the title "Jambalaya (It's All Over)", but Springsteen always noted it as "Jumbeliah" on handwritten setlists. "Jambalaya" is the title of a Hank Williams song (see JAMBALAYA (ON THE BAYOU)) which was named after a Louisiana Creole dish of Spanish and French creation. It is possible that Springsteen named his composition "Jumbeliah" just to give it a different identity from the famous Hank Williams song, or maybe he just spelled it wrong – spelling mistakes are frequent in Springsteen's early handwritten lyrics sheets. As one can see in the above lyrics, the "it's all over" part doesn't occur anywhere in the song, but "roll over" repeats over and over. This leads to the conclusion that whoever first gave this song a title never saw the handwritten setlists and misheard "roll over" as "it's all over". The title mistake appears in the 1985 book Bruce Springsteen: Blinded By The Light by Patrick Humphries and Chris Hunt (page 126). It has "Jambalaya (It's All Over)", and this may be the original source of the incorrect title.

Albee Tellone, former member of The Sonic Boom and roadie for The Bruce Springsteen Band, told this website:

I can tell you for sure that none of us cared how it was spelled. I knew that Hank Williams had a song called "Jambalaya" and I just assumed that it was where Bruce got the inspiration. He knew a little about classic country tunes. My opinion is that he spelled it his way ("Jumbeliah") to avoid confusion with Hank's song and to show that it is a woman's name and not a culinary delight from Louisiana. [...] So it should be called "Jumbeliah (Roll Over)". [...] Funny thing is that when we started rehearsing this song, most of us thought the name of it was "Jungle Eyes"!

Composition

When Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom performed JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER), the line "She drives old Dr. Zoom insane" was used – Springsteen is Dr. Zoom. Later, when The Bruce Springsteen Band performed the song, that line was altered to "She drives old doctors insane". This indicates that the song was written for Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom, and then modified to fit a non-Sonic Boom band.

Springsteen was invited to perform on 27 Mar 1971 (two shows, one at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.) at Sunshine In in Asbury Park, NJ, opening for headliner The Allman Brothers Band and 2nd-billed Cowboy. Steel Mill had broken up, and Springsteen was preparing for his next "serious" project, The Bruce Springsteen Band, which was way from being ready. So Springsteen gathered a group of musicians he'd been jamming with at The Upstage at the time and he had to come up with a name to be used on the show's promotional material and posters. They came up with "Bruce Springsteen And Friendly Enemies", but after the promotional material and posters were printed, the "Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom" was conjured up. It was too late to change the name on what has already been printed and the group was officially billed as "Bruce Springsteen And Friendly Enemies".

There were newspaper ads placed in the Asbury Park Press promoting the "Allman Brothers Band / Cowboy / Bruce Springsteen And The Friendly Enemies" billing two weeks prior to the show. Earlier ads, which appeared nearly a month earlier in the Asbury Park Press, do not make any mention of any Springsteen-related band opening for the Allman Brothers. These early ads merely mention "Allman Brothers Band / Cowboy". However, Albee Tellone recalls that the promotional posters were printed one month or more before the show.

Albee Tellone says that they started rehearsing JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) in March 1971 for the upcoming 27 Mar 1971 concert at the Sunshine In.

The same line-up (the core players, but not all the rest) of Bruce Springsteen And Friendly Enemies performed again about two months later, twice: on 14 May 1971 at Sunshine In in Asbury Park, NJ, and on 15 May 1971 at Newark State College in Union, NJ. On these two gigs, they were officially billed as "Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom". So, the short-lived Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom played a total of four live gigs: 27 Mar 1971 (twice, and billed under an outdated name), 14 May 1971, and 15 May 1971.

JUMBELIAH was only performed with Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom and The Bruce Springsteen Band. Albee Tellone said: "I'm certain that Steel Mill never performed JUMBELIAH. It was a new song and besides, it wasn't the kind of song Steel Mill would have done. [...] I was a roadie for the E Street Band before they had a name during 1972 and 1973. They never played JUMBELIAH. Bruce was doing his new stuff from Greetings and a few tunes that didn't make it on the album."

The above can be winded up in the following:

  • JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) was written specifically for Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom.
  • The "Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom" name came after the posters and the promotional material were printed.
  • The promotional material (at least the posters, but not the newspapers ads) were printed a month or more prior to the show (late-Feb 1971 or earlier).
  • Albee Tellone says that they started rehearsing JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) in March 1971.

All this leads to the conclusion that JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) was written in early or mid-March 1971.

The song references "Smokey Stover", a popular cartoon character in a strip written and drawn by Bill Holman that ran from 1935-1973.

Studio Recording

Springsteen wrote numerous songs in 1971, but did not record any material in a professional recording studio during that period. However, studio rehearsal sessions were frequently conducted at the Challenger Eastern Surfboards factory in Highlands, NJ, in 1971 and early 1972. The primary purpose of the sessions was to prepare for live shows, not to make audio recordings. So only a fraction of this extensive body of rehearsal sessions was ever recorded, and when they were, it is an unfortunate reality that the reel-to-reel tapes made at Challenger Eastern were often erased and reused as part of the recording of live shows. Therefore, it is unknown whether JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) was recorded/played during these sessions or not.

Live 15 May 1971 version

The above lyrics are for the live 15 May 1971 performance of JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) at Newark State College in Union, NJ, with Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom.

With Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom, it was drummer Big Bad Bobby Williams who had the cappella (unaccompanied) bass singing solo of "roll over" when the music stops in the last verse (see above lyrics). He is then joined by Southside Johnny on the second time thru followed by Steven Van Zandt, then Vini Lopez, then Bruce Springsteen and the rest of the gang.

Towards the end of the song, The Zoomettes (the band's backing vocalists) join in on Southside Johnny's microphone. He then moves away, essentially dropping out but continuing to sing. Albee Tellone also joins in, playing cowbell.

Bobby Williams jokes around by hollering "s'awright", which was from an old comedy sketch by Señor Wences on CBS's Ed Sullivan Show. Wences had a little puppet in a box named Pedro and he would ask it if it was all right – then the box's front panel would open a little and the puppet growls "s'awright" in a gruff voice.

This was the second of the only two Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom performances. It was part of "The 1st Annual Ernie The Chicken Festival", an all-day outdoor party extravaganza featuring several local bands. About a week or two before the show, Walter Planer (one of the people who put together and promoted the festival) and Carl "Tinker" West drove into Manhattan one afternoon and went to Rolling Stone magazine and Channel 13 (the local PBS station) trying to get them to cover the concert and promote Springsteen who at the time was unknown except on the Jersey Shore and Richmond, VA. They got blown off by everyone they talked to and got no publicity.

A very good quality soundboard tape of most or possibly all of the Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom set has been in circulation since the early 1990's.

Promotional poster for the 15 May 1971 show at Newark State College, Union, NJ (The 1st Annual Ernie The Chicken Festival)
Promotional poster for the 15 May 1971 show at Newark State College, Union, NJ (The 1st Annual Ernie The Chicken Festival)

Live History

JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) is known to have been performed at least 7 times in Bruce Springsteen's early years (pre-October 1972). Very little is known about shows from this early period, and therefore, the song must have been played on some more dates.

  1. 27 Mar 1970 at Sunshine In, Asbury Park, NJ (with Bruce Springsteen & Friendly Enemies)
  2. 14 May 1971 at Sunshine In, Asbury Park, NJ (with Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom)
  3. 15 May 1971 at Newark State College, Union, NJ (with Dr. Zoom & The Sonic Boom)
  4. 10 Jul 1971 at Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ (with The Bruce Springsteen Band)
  5. 23 Jul 1971 at Lincoln Center, New York City, NY (with The Bruce Springsteen Band)
  6. 29 Jul 1971 at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ (with The Bruce Springsteen Band)
  7. 01 Sep 1971 at Garfield Park, Long Branch, NJ (with The Bruce Springsteen Band)

Albee Tellone recalls that JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) was played on 27 Mar 1971 at Sunshine In in Asbury Park, NJ (probably on both early and late show). He said: "During the 'roll over' part, we tried to get Tinker's dog JD Woofer to roll over on stage but he couldn't get it right."

An early Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list (see scan below) is recalled with some degree of confidence by one of The Bruce Springsteen Band members as emanating from one of the band's July 1971 bookings at D'Scene in South Amboy, NJ. The Bruce Springsteen Band made two consecutive Thursday evening appearances at the club, on 22 and 29 July 1971. They headlined two gigs each night, one at 9:00 p.m. and one at 11:30 p.m., with Sunny Jim opening. The handwritten song list was auctioned on the It's Only Rock 'N Roll online auction website in June 2006. The bid started at $500.00 and reached $2221.44. The document contains a list of 22 songs, including JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER). This is not a setlist, but many (or possibly all) of the listed songs must have been performed at the 22 and 29 Jul 1971 shows at D'Scene.

Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list from the July 1971 shows at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ
Bruce Springsteen handwritten song list from the July 1971 shows at D'Scene, South Amboy, NJ

Credits / References

Most of the above info are taken from Brucebase. Thanks Albee Tellone for his priceless help on this page. Thanks Magnus for the lyrics corrections.

Available Versions

List of available versions of JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) on this website:

JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) [Live 15 May 1971 version]
JUMBELIAH (ROLL OVER) [Live 23 Jul 1971 version]

Page last updated: 26 Jan 2017