Jackie Jones and Her Dancing Cat

Jackie Jones and Her Tap Dancing Cat
photo by Todd Lappin

Jackie Jones has been a Saturday fixture at San Francisco’s Alemany Farmer’s Market for more than a decade, entertaining foodies — and their kids — with her charming musical act.

Her instruments include a washboard guitar, a hand saw she plays like a fiddle, and a battered boombox she uses to DJ backing beats on well-worn cassette tapes. Best of all, however, is Jackie’s feline sidekick — a dancing wooden controlled by a foot pedal.

Now more than 80 years old, Jackie was featured in a 2005 article in the San Francisco Chronicle that described at her musical repertoire:

Since she arrived in San Francisco in March 1952 from New Orleans Jones has played music continuously in dance bands bar bands Latin bands Russian bands stage bands gay bands Hawaiian bands country bands and even with the legendary Cockettes. She’s played at county fairs and strip shows and everywhere in between.

Of course, the only way to really experience Jackie Jones is to see her in action. But if you can’t make it to the Alemany Farmer’s Market (which also happens to be San Francisco’s very best, IMHO), this short video may suffice. The best stuff starts at around 0:55, when Jackie makes her hand saw sing: