A Rhymed Chant & Rhythmic Dance
Hambone is a sort of "dance" described as a "thigh slapping art form". It came from Africa and was performed by slaves. It involves slapping various parts of the body - especially the hips, thighs, chest and arms - and also stomping. The noise of the slapping and stomping plays the role of percussion in the song, keeping the beat.
Hambone, hambone where you been?
Around the world and back again.
Whatcha gonna do when you get back?
Take a little walk by the railroad track.
Hambone, hambone, hambone,
Doin' that crazy hambone.
Hambone is also called pattin' juba. A juba was originally a circle of men going counter-clockwise around two men in the center who performed different steps. The guys in the circle would do the hambone, slapping various body parts to make a rhythm.