Ger the Rigger

Polka, A, Traditional Irish
Also know as Jer the Rigger

Ger the Rigger, traditional Irish Polka. Play it together February 5, 2023. TrailJams tune of the week. Picture of a man working with chains and hooks in the fog. Illustration copyright 2023 Jonathan Lay. trailjams.org

Ger the Rigger is a traditional Irish polka that is energetic and fun to play. While the tune is straightforward, its name may be perplexing. “Ger” or “Jer” is pronounced with a soft G, and is a nickname for Gerald or Jerry. A rigger is a person whose job is to employ cables, hoists, and other equipment to move heavy objects.

I once was a rigger, and I worked like hell
Rolling up, rolling down
But now I’m sailing with the OCL
And go rolling down the river

Jack Forbes, “Rolling Down the River,” a container ship chantey.

Recordings

Sheet Music (Dots)

As always for traditional tunes, the musical notation and chords do not indicate the “right” way to play the tune, but are a useful reference.

Sheet music and chords for Ger the Rigger, traditional Irish polka in A.  Arrangement by Jonathan Lay. trailjams.org
Play from the Dots
Slow tempo 95bpm
Moderate tempo 115bpm

Sets

Examples of sets that include this tune.

  • Biddy Martin’s / Ger The Rigger / Bill Sullivan’s Polka

References and Resources

For those who want to dig deeper, here are some other resources.