Jay was known as a one-man band and played music with several instruments including his beef bones.  His daughter, Brandie, says he learned to play from his grandfather.  He made his bones from fresh bones bleaching them out. He had a trailer house that he performed out of as a one-man band. His albums can be located at the Library of Congress.  He traveled and performed with many gospel and quartet groups in the 1930′ to early 1950’s. Most of his music reflects the Suwanee River, Southern life, and gospel. He has  traveled the world, and perfor1ned for ‘Juneteenth Day’ in Texas.  It is confusing to note that there was another side to Abner where he was successful in several show business ventures.  The album below has no rhythm bones, but shows Abner’s Gospel style.  Click the image to listen and check out the last song.

Jay-Backbone Album Cover copy

Click the image below to here ‘Rattle the Bones song.He spent time with the Duprees discussing his rhythm bones band.  The Sherry S. Dupree Collection includes Abner as does the book, “African-American Good News (Gospel) Music, Middle American Regional Press  by Sherry S. and Herbert C. DuPree (some of the material on this page is taken from the book with permission).  Sherry DuPree noted, “Jay, stressed the date of 1620, when enslaved Africans were arriving on American soil. These slaves made instruments using natural dried cow, chicken, beef and other animal bones (as they had done in Africa) to make music. The dried chicken and cow bone sounds were like bell tones.”  Click the either image below to listen to the ‘Rattle the Bones’ song.

LONG PLAYING (LP) GOSPEL RECORDS (only the first recording includes rhythm bones).  Thee original cassette tapes were without accurate dates of production nor addresses of private producers.


001 Abner Jay. AMAZING GRACE … SHOUT OVER GOD’S HEAVEN, ca. 1960. Privately Produced, Deland, Florida. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection).  Abner Jay performs as a one-man band. He was also one of the few who played bone music, music created with the bones of a cow. Songs include “I’m Bound For The Promised Land,” “Count Your Blessings” and “Rock Of Ages.”


002 Abner Jay. I AM ON THE BATTLE FIELD FOR MY LORD, ca. 1958. Privately Produced, Atlanta, Georgia. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection). Songs include “Lord Help The Poor And The Needy,” “Ezekiel Saw The Wheel,” and “I’ll Be Waiting Up There.”


003 Abner Jay. I WILL FLY AWAY, NEARER MY GOD TO THEE, ca. 1958. Privately Produced, Deland, Florida. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection). Songs include “For You I Am Praying,” “Peace In The Valley .. . Do Lord, Do Lord,”  and “When The Saints.”


004 Abner Jay. LANIEL JETER, (JETER 99 YEARS IN JAIL), ca. 1961. Privately Produced, Atlanta, Georgia. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection). Songs include include “I’ve Been ‘Buked and Scorned,” “There Is A Fountain,” and “Were You There.”


005 Abner Jay. OLD RUGGED CROSS, IN THE SWEET, ca. 1960. Privately Produced, Orlando, Florida. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection). Songs include “I Shall Not Be Moved,” “Jesus Paid It All,” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”


006 Abner Jay. SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER, FATHER ALONE, ca. 1961. Privately Produced, Deland, Florida. (Sherry S. DuPree Collection). Songs include “Have Thine Own Way Lord,” “Golden Slippers,” and “Since Jesus Came Into My Heart.”