Library of Congress Narrative
 Jelly Roll Morton and Alan Lomax
 Transcribed by Michael Hill Roger Richard Mike Meddings

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NARRATIVE
Introduction   Legend   Recommended Listening   References
AFS 1638 A to AFS 1651 B   AFS 1652 A to AFS 1663 B
AFS 1664 A to AFS 1680 B   AFS 1681 A to AFS 2489 B
Circle Limited Edition Set of 45 twelve-inch records   Kudos

Contains offensive language

Readers should be aware that a number of the recordings contain obscene language, which some may find offensive. To retain historical accuracy, no attempt has been made to censor them.

1664 A

a

1664 A

b

Monologue on his early expriences [sic] — v/sp/p

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1092 as: CALL OF THE FREAKS, begun
Rounder CD 1092 as: CALL OF THE FREAKS, concluded (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Luis Russell and New Orleans Riffs

Call of the Freaks

Play it like he played it.

All right . . .

This is one of the tunes that sounds like a drum.

[coughs]

Er, this is one of the tunes that, er, Luis Russell played. Luis Russell was a Panamanian. He got his learning in New Orleans.

[inaudible comments]

Er, he came to New Orleans . . . I’m not quite sure, but, I’ll say around nineteen-sixteen. ‘Course these are all New Orleans riffs. We used to make ‘em to the . . . That’s the way you used to make ‘em there.

[inaudible comments]

Er, the name of this number is, er, “Call of the Freaks.” Luis came to New York some years ago after playin’ in King Oliver’s band from The Plantation in Chicago.

[clears throat]

That whisky’s lovely.

They invaded New York with a terrible band, in spite of the fact that they had some, some of the very best musicians in the world in the jazz music. Luis Russell isn’t considered a jazz piano player, because he cannot play jazz. I’m playin’ this in the typical jazz tempo. But he’s a very good musician, and he can knock the bird’s eyes down. He invaded New York with this thing and happened to get a job after King Oliver had failed with these great musicians — had to leave town. He even stole a few of my men when he left to go to Chicago. He didn’t know that it was better to have some, some fellows that could play together, than have a bunch of stars that couldn’t. So he failed in his trip to New York at the Savoy Ballroom — Luis stayed. He finally got a job at a place in New York called The Nest, run by Johnny Carey. He wrote this number as a kind of theme, and named it . . .

[inaudible comments]

No.

No, Luis Russell is not a sissy. He wrote this number and called it the “Call of the Freaks.” Findin’ there were so many freaks in the city of New York that was so bold they would do anything for a dollar and a half.

[inaudible comments]

When he’d start to playin’ this thing, why, they would start walking. They all become to know the tune. They’d throw their hands way up high in the air and keep astride with the music — and walking.

[inaudible comments]

And of course, they used to have a little verse in here that goes like this:

     Stick out your can, here come the garbage man, [laughs]
     Stick out your can, here come the garbage man,
     Yes, stick out your can, here come the garbage man.

     Yes, stick out your can, and here come the garbage man,

     The freaks would be marching, I’m telling you.
     Stick out your can, here come the garbage man,
     They’d stick their self out in the rear.
     Yes, stick out your can, here come the garbage man . . .

1664 B

a

1664 B

b

Monologue on his early expriences [sic] — v/sp/p

c

d

JELLY ROLL AND JACK THE BEAR, Part I
“We can always get plenty to eat.”

e

Circle jm-61 (excerpt)

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Jelly’s Travels: From Yazoo to Clarksdale

[inaudible comments]

Discordant chords

That can never be music.

Well . . .

That can never be music.

[inaudible comments]

Plays chords softly as he speaks

I first went to Memphis . . . I went to Memphis around nineteen-eight. Er, possibly the earliest part of the year. At that time I was very shy about trying to play piano any place. I’d never play until I would find out who was the best man on a piano. The simple reason why — I had been to several places, and every place that I had been, they seemed to have accepted me as superior.

When I went to Memphis, I went there with a fellow from Jackson, Mississippi I had met there. It was very often, the boys, to be recognized as somebody, would use alias names. This is a little bitty guy. Seems like he stole his name from some other big tough guy. He named himself, I believe, Jack the Bear. Maybe you heard that through your travels, did you?

Jack the Bear said, “Let’s go to Memphis.”

I said, “All right.”

He said, “Let’s hobo.”

I said, “No, I can’t hobo. I tried that once for twenty miles. When I got off the train — I had on a sixty-dollar suit of clothes — I thought the train was goin’ slow, so I got off in a little town, er, called Pascagoula, Mississippi. Just as the train drove across the drawbridge — I thought it was slowing down, and I jumped off. And I fell, head foremost, and tore the knees of my trousers of the sixty-dollar, brand new suit of clothes. So I don’t have to do that no more.” So I wouldn’t go that way.

So, he says, “I tell you what we do. You play piano very well. We can always get plenty to eat, if you go along.”

I says, “Oh yeah. We can always . . . I can always play up on some food. There ain’t no argument to that, see
[laughs] — and a place to sleep.”

And nearly every town we went to, why, we started . . . The first town we hit was Yazoo, Mississippi, from Jackson. Immediately, I started to playin’ piano, and I made the landlady of the house. So that meant food for Jack and I.

[both laugh]

Well, of course, Yazoo’s one of those little bit of old towns with a river running right through it, or maybe a pond, I’d call it. So, one of the guys realized that I was around — looked like I was gonna get in trouble. So I told him, “It’s best thing for us to do to leave.”

So, somehow or another we got into Clarksdale.

[clears throat]

We didn’t have very much money, because I wasn’t in New Orleans where I could pick up plenty of money in the sporting houses. The sporting houses in Jackson was kind of cheap. Wasn’t nothin’ like New Orleans at all, where people spent money like water. So we got into Clarksdale, Mississippi and funds looked like they was drawing low. And I was a good pool player. I, at those days I used to play anybody in the pocket. I didn’t need no money because I know I had to win.

So I went into the poolroom and I started to playing a guy for twenty-five cents, and I beat him several games.

He said, “I’ll play you for two dollars.”

But I hadn’t played him that much, so I said, “No, I gotta go.”

I let him pay off and I went. That was enough at first to get something to eat on. So he decided that he knew something, and we tried this trick, which I’ll tell you on the other side.

1665 A

a

1665 A

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Monologue on his travels — sp

c

Jelly Roll (25)
On the Road to Memphis

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JELLY ROLL AND JACK THE BEAR, Part II “One bottle can cure you.”

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Circle jm-62

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Jelly’s Travels: From Clarksdale to Helena

Plays chords softly as he speaks

So we got to Clarksdale, as I before stated, and I beat the guy at playing pool, so, er, we had a little somethin’ to eat.

So he said, “I know somethin’ and we can make some money on it.”

He said. “What if . . .”

I said, “Hold on, what is it?”

He says, er, “We got enough money to buy some Coca-Cola and a bag of salt?”

I said, “Sure.”

He said, “From now on, I’m the doctor. We curin’ consumption.”

So, of course, I’ve always been known to be a fair talker. So I went around from door to door to some of those poor old people, white and coloured.

Consumption, then, they had a lot of it in this country. And anybody said that they could cure consumption, boy, you could really reap a fortune — there’s no argument about it. But we didn’t have nerve enough to stay long enough. We just wanted to get some money to get a ticket to Memphis, but we didn’t go that far. We went to Helena for our next jump. So we . . .

[inaudiable comments] . . . “Consumption Blues,” Jelly?

“Consumption Blues?”

“T.B. Blues”?

No, the “T.B. Blues”? That’s late, very late. Er, nothin’ in that time at all. This is way back in around nineteen-eight.

There wasn’t any song about it?

No, nothing like that, no.

[clears throat]

Oh, this whisky’s lovely.

So, er, we started around and I would knock on the doors — that was the idea — and ask anybody — the different people that would come to the door — “Have you anyone in your family with the T.B?” And most of ‘em would say, “Yes.” If anyone was puny or thin, they just accepted it for granted that they had the T.B., see?

And . . . “Well ladies, or gentleman,” whoever it would be, “it doesn’t mean anything at all to me, but I personally know this gentleman has cured so many cases, and he happen to be in the city. And you may as well take the, er, take the opportunity. He’s got a medicine that, er, probably one bottle can cure you. He wouldn’t have it on the market for anything, because he said there’s nothing this good. And it only costs you one dollar a bottle.”

So we’d have, er, just ordinary bottles, just any kind of bottles we could get a hold of. Of course, they were good-sized bottles. There was nothin’ in it to hurt anybody. Wasn’t nothing but salt and Coca-Cola. So, er, somehow or another we sold one of these bottles to a poor family and the child died. So we caught the next train, see?


[both laugh]

We didn’t have a chance to reap no harvest.

So we got into Helena, and we had a few dollars. So I beat everybody around Helena, playing pool as a rule. He only had me to really help him get along, because he felt that I was pretty smart.

I’m a little ahead of my story. Going up on the train, he had some kind of a fake pin on, in his lapel of his coat. And every time he’d get to one of those real simple looking coloured people — especially a man — and he had on any kinda pin, he would walk up to him and cover the pin with his hands.

He’d say, “I got you covered. Now if you can’t tell me what it’s all about.” — of course he didn’t use those words — “I’ll have to take this pin off you here, and you’ll, you’ll . . . you really violating the regulations of the order. So I’ll have to have some money to, to not condemn you. And you’ll never be able to get in this order.” And from time to time, he’d pick up a couple of dollars — two, three dollars — and doing that kind of thing.

Anyway, we got into Helena, Arkansas. That’s across the river from Mississippi. I started playin’ pool there. We got there in the daytime. I hadn’t got there very long, and I beat a few of the supposed-to-be sharks around there. I could play pool almost as good left-handed as I could right.

So they had a lot of stool pigeons around. I had on a blue suit. It was kinda getting greasy then because it wasn’t pressed up so much. And by wearing the same suit all the time, I guess it really had a bad odour, even. So a fellow marked chalk on my back. That was to designate to the policemens that I was a stranger in town and I was a, a shark on the pool table.

1665 B

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1665 B

b

Monologue on saloons and piano players of Beale Street, Memphis — sp

c

same, cont’d

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JELLY ROLL AND JACK THE BEAR, Part III “We got into Memphis all right.”

e

Circle jm-63

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Jelly’s Travels: From Helena to Memphis

Plays chords softly as he speaks

So pretty soon a policeman tapped me on the shoulders. He said, “Where did you come from?”

I wasn’t so afraid of policemens, because I had seen so many of ‘em in New Orleans, and I . . . A policeman was just another man to me in a sense, but I always knew that I had to respect superiority, and I respected him very much. If I hadn’t respected him, it’d been very, very bad for me, because I learned they didn’t take much time in, in just shooting you down, a little later.


[clears throat]

This whisky’s tremendous.

[clears throat]

So I told him that I had, er, came from Clarksdale, which didn’t mean a thing. And I told him a little later down the line, I came from, er, from Jackson.

So he said to me, says, “I want you shuck . . . sharks and crooks to get out of town.”

I said, “I’m very sorry, but I’m a musician.”

He said, “Musician don’t mean anything down in here. We put more of them in jail than anybody else because they don’t wanna work.”

I said, “Did you say leave town?”

He said, “Yes.”

I said, “Well, that’ll be my next move, because I don’t intend to do anything but play music.”

There was a boat — I don’t remember the name of this boat — that was leaving for Memphis, very shortly. I believe the boat’s name was The Natchez. In fact, I’m almost positive it was The Natchez.

That was the best boat on the river then, wasn’t it?

It was, no doubt, the best boat on the river.

[clears throat]

This whisky’s tremendous.

So we got to The Natchez — I don’t remember the fare that we paid — Jack and I. Jack was supposed to know all about Memphis. A big lying dog, he never had been to Memphis before.


[laughs]

After I got there . . . he was gonna take me around and introduce me to the different personnels of Memphis.

We got into Memphis, all right. After I was in Memphis, and safe and sound on the shores of Memphis, Tennessee, I decided to go to this Beale Street that I had heard a lot of talk about. I first enquired, was there any piano players in the city? And they told me, absolutely the best in the whole of state of Tennessee was here.

I asked them had they heard about Tony Jackson, Albert Carroll, Alfred Wilson, Sammy Davis. At that time there was . . . I was known as Winding Ball, but I didn’t want them to know it. I said, “Winding Ball?” That was my nickname.

They said, “No, we hadn’t heard of them guys. Them guys wouldn’t be able to play with this fellow — Benny Frenchy was the best in the whole state.” Well, that kind of frightened me, and I wouldn’t even try to touch a piano, until I could hear Benny Frenchy.

The place I was talking was a place called the Monarch saloon, on Beale Street near Fourth. At that time they had a very tough character — coloured fellow, ran a saloon there — by the name of Hammitt Ashford. He later killed somebody and had to leave the town.

[inaudible comments]

He was a coloured fellow. The Monarch saloon was ran by a white fellow by the name of Mike Haggarty. He was the tough guy of Memphis, Tennessee.

It was oftentimes that he would go and get some of his, his visitors or hanger-arounders, er, er, or, whatever you wanna call ‘em, and gamblers that gambled in his place where the policeman picked him up. Why, he’d walk into the police station and said, “Turn him a-loose, and don’t bother none of these people that hang around my place.” And the police department didn’t have any trouble at all in gettin’ this prisoner out immediately.

So about the third day I was there, they had a fellow that ran the game — a dice game — by the name of Bad Sam. His watch was on from twelve o’clock in the day until twelve o’clock at night. From twelve o’clock at night until twelve o’clock in the day, Frazier Dav, er, er, Will Frazier ran the night watch. So when I was speaking, I happened to be talking to Bad Sam about Benny Frenchy.

1666 A

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1666 A

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Monologue on Bad Sam and Benny Frenchy — sp

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BAD SAM and BENNY FRENCHY Part 1 (“Oh, play it, Mr. Frenchy!”)

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Circle jm-53

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Rounder CD 1092 as: BENNY FRENCHY’S TUNE, begun (excerpt)

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Rounder CD 1888 as: In Memphis: The Monarch Saloon and Benny Frenchy

Plays chords softly as he speaks

They had a piano right in the saloon. I think the saloons had to close at one o’clock, but that didn’t mean a thing, because they all they would do was pull their shades down, and keep ‘em goin’ all night long. They had a piano right into the saloon. Upstairs, they had a dance hall that went maybe once or twice a week. Nothin’ went into that saloon but pimps, robbers and gamblers. Oh, it’s a shame to, to think about, er, how those environments that I really just drifted into. And . . .

Tell us about some of those guys, Jelly.

Oh, well, I’ll tell you about some of ‘em. I wanna tell you first about, er, Bad Sam and that bunch. So every time it seems like Benny Frenchy had certain dates to come at the saloon. And when he would come into the Monarch saloon, that would be a natural drawing card. There would be — we’ll say, from that bunch of honky tonk bunch down at Jim Kinnane’s, on Winchester and Front on the river in Memphis, which was one of the lowest honky tonks — tough killers hangin’ around — prize fighters of all, er, of the lower calibre, that’d probably kill you for an argument.

Well, when Benny would show up, there would be a type of those low-class whores — a lot of, some of ‘em that was a little better class — that would have a way of dancing when he’d play. They would run right directly up to the wall, with a kind of a little bit of a shuffle, and slap their hands together, and kick back their right legs and say, “Oh, play it, Benny, play it.”

What’d they call that?

I don’t know what’s the name of the dance. It never really had a name to it. It’s just a little dance they’d done in Memphis. I had never seen it before or since. Anyway, didn’t know who I was talking to, only that I know the gentleman was the man that ran the game — Bad Sam.

So I said to him, I said, “Who is this fella?”

He said, “That’s Benny Frenchy.”

Say, “I never heard of him.”

— “Where in the hell you been? Never heard of Benny Frenchy”

I said, “What, is he supposed to be good?”

Say, er, “Why, he’s the best in the whole state of Tennessee.”

I said, “Why, that damned fool can’t hit a piano with a brick.” See?

How was he playing, Jelly?

I’ll show you how he was playin’.

So he said to me, he said, “What — can you play?”

I said, “Well, I wasn’t supposed to be good — I’m not supposed to be good. If that’s playin’ I can beat all them kind of suckers.”

He said, “Wait a minute, Benny. Here’s one of these little upstarts around here think he can play. Er, would you mind lettin’ him get down there and see what he can do? Will you play?”

I said, “Why, sure there’s no worry about playin’ around a palooka like that.” Why, certain, of course, palooka was not meant the same thing whatever I said, see.

What did he say?

So he says, “Okay.” And he got up. Well, he was playin’ tunes like this:

Benny Frenchy’s Tune [begun]

The girls said, “Oh, play it, Mr. Frenchy.” “Play it Mr. Frenchy.” And, oh boy, how the girls’d be kicking, and everybody would be standin’ around with the guy that run everything. I never heard such as . . . Why the fella never spoke to me after I got through playing. I never heard anything as bad as that guy.

1666 B

a

1666 B

b

All That I Ask is Love — v

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BAD SAM and BENNY FRENCHY, concl.
(“So I got out and played anyway”).
ALL THAT I ASK IS LOVE

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Circle jm-54

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Rounder CD 1092 as: BENNY FRENCHY’S TUNE, concluded (excerpt)
Rounder CD 1092 as: A STOMP and ALL THAT I ASK IS LOVE (excerpt)

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Benny Frenchy’s Tune, continued

Benny Frenchy’s Tune [concluded]

So Bad Sam yelled out to Frenchy, “Say Benny.”

— “Say, “What?”

— “Er, here’s a little bum here, thinks he can play piano. Will you get up and let him try his hand, see what he can do? Because if he can’t play, I’ll kick him in the ass and run him out of here.”

Bad Sam was a very tough man, but I hadn’t known it and, er, a kind of chill came over me when he said that. It kinda add a little fear. When . . . After he said that, er, this supposed-to-be-tough partner of mine, er, Jack the Bear, he didn’t open his mouth, then I realized he wasn’t so tough, see? Then I, er . . . Courage came to me and says, why, no matter how I played I could beat that guy playin’, ‘cause he can’t play anything at all.

I said, “Well you, er, of course, you wouldn’t kick me if I can beat him playin’, because this, this guy can’t playing nothin’ at all.” I got up a lot of courage.

He said, “This is a game kid, all right.” He said, “Let him go down.”

I later found that Bad Sam was really the toughest Negro in Memphis. No doubt, he’s the toughest man around that whole section of the world, coloured or white. It was known that he was . . . he would break somebody’s jaw with one lick. And he had Mike Haggarty backing him up, that owned the Monarch saloon with plenty of money.

I happened to be there personally when he hit a man in the jaw for sellin’ chickens in the gambling room, which was barricaded just the same, why I guess, even worse than the, than the trenches — that is, in the wartime. Barricaded with steel and iron to keep policemens out. And, er, Mike Haggarty demanded that they shouldn’t go back there, and there was no way to get back there. And Bad Sam would be back there with his two pistols. And he was a powerful man.

The man was hollering, “Chickens,” one day. And he walked out and told him, says, “Listen, I’m losing a whole lot of money here. I just lose a bet around here, maybe a hundred and some dollars, and I told you about that chicken. I’m not gonna tell you no more.”

And the guy hollered, “Chicken,” very softly. “Get your chicken sandwiches?” And when he said that again, Sam said, “Wait a minute,” and put some money behind the rack. When I say rack, that means the gamblin’ rack, where there’s money behind there and there’s somebody to take care of the cuts. He walked from behind, then I actually seen him do it. He drew back his right hand and hit that man on the jaw and broke his jawbone. His jawbone came through his flesh. And I actually seen that.

So, er, I got out and played anyway, against Benny Frenchy. And here’s the kind of tunes that was out, er, those days that I played.

A Stomp

And in, in the meantime they had, a, a tune out, along that time — a sentimental tune — and I could sing pretty good at those days. Of course I never was a great singer, but I could do much better than I can now. So I’d . . . [clears throat]

Sing it out.

All That I Ask is Love

     All that I ask is love,
     All that I want is you,
     And I declare by all the stars,
     I’ll be forever true.

     All that I seek to know,
     All that I want above,
     All that I crave in this wide, wide world,
     All that I ask of you is love.

I brought the house down with that thing there. Don’t believe me? Think I’m kiddin’ you. I brought it down.

Note: The song All That I Ask Is Love — music by Herbert Ingraham and words by Edgar Selden, was published in 1910 by Maurice Shapiro, Broadway & 39th Street, New York.

Contains offensive language

1667 A

a

1667 A

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Make Me A Pallet On The Floor — v/sp

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e

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Rounder CD 1092 as: MAKE ME A PALLET ON THE FLOOR, part 1 (excerpt)

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Make Me a Pallet on the Floor

Plays chords softly as he speaks

This one of, this was one the early blues that was in New Orleans, I guess many years before I was born. The title is “Make Me a Pallet on the Floor.” A pallet is something . . . that you get some quilts, in other words, it’s a bed that’s made on a floor without any four posters on ‘em. A pallet is something, er, er, that I can define in New Orleans.

For an instance, you have company come to your home, and you haven’t enough beds for you and your company. So what you do, in order to get ‘em to spend the night over, is to make yourself a pallet on the floor. So you say to your guests . . . You’ll say to your guests, er, “Well, you can stay overnight, er, it’s perfectly all right, you’re my friend, and I think it’s rather dangerous . . .” During that time there was a lot of kid . . . kidnappers in New Orleans, and there was no law against it, but only that you had the privilege to kill them. “It’s rather dangerous, so maybe you better stay over night and, er, sleep in my bed, and I’ll make me a pallet on the floor.”

So that, that’s where the word pallet originated from. I don’t think it’s in the dictionary, though.

What about, er, woman when she has a man in her bed and she doesn’t want her husband to smell him when he comes home? Isn’t that where it comes from, too?

Well, I’ll tell you, er, when, when a woman has got a man, and she don’t want her husband to know anything about it . . . It is very often — it has been known that from time and time again — that the hard-working men in New Orleans has searched the women’s underwear for stains and spots, and so forth and so on. And sometimes they searched the bed for stains and spots, and so forth and so on. So in order to eliminate that . . . in that case, if they is sure that the, the gentleman is on the job, so they make a pallet on the floor in that case, also.

So, so here’s, er, the words to, to some of these things:

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor [begun]

     Make me a pallet on your floor,
     Make me a pallet on your floor.
     Make me a pallet, babe, on your floor,
     So your old man will never know.

     Are you sure your man is hard at work?
     Are you sure, sweet baby, your man is hard at work?
     Are you sure, sweet mama, babe, your man is at work?
     Don’t you let that dirty, no-good son-of-a-bitch shirk.

     I wanna pitch some peter with you today, bay-bay-bay-baby,
     I wanna pitch some peter with you today, baby . . .

Contains offensive language

1667 B

a

1667 B

b

Make Me A Pallet On The Floor — v/sp

c

d

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Rounder CD 1092 as: MAKE ME A PALLET ON THE FLOOR, part 2

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Make Me a Pallet on the Floor, continued

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor [continued]

     I wanna pitch some peter with you today, bay-bay-babe,
     I wanna pitch some peter with you today,
     I wanna pitch some peter, babe, with you today,
     So with your man you will not stay, ba-ba-la-ba.

     Yes, make me, baby, a pallet on your floor, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord,
     Make me a pallet on your floor,
     Make me a pallet, babe, so your man will never know,
     Make me a pallet, a pallet on your floor.

     Baby, I need some money to get my suit out of pawn,
     Baby, I need some money to get my suit out of pawn, babe,
     Bitch, if you don’t give me some money to get my suit out of pawn,
     You wish the day that you never, never was born, Lord, Lord.

[inaudible comments]

Piano Interlude

This number’s many years old.

     Yes, that bitch says, come here you sweet bitch, let me get in your drawers,
     I’m rememberin’ them things, now.
     Come here, you sweet bitch, let me get in your drawers,
     Come here, you sweet bitch,

     Gimme that pussy.
     Let me get in your drawers,
     I’m goin’ to make you think you fuckin’ with Santa Claus.

     You got the best cunt I ever had . . .

Contains offensive language

1668 A

a

1668 A

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Make Me A Pallet On The Floor — v/sp

c

d

e

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Rounder CD 1092 as: MAKE ME A PALLET ON THE FLOOR, part 3

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Rounder CD 1888 as: Make Me a Pallet on the Floor, part 3

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor [continued]

[inaudible comments]

     I said, bitch, you got the best cunt I ever had,
     I said, bitch, you got the best cunt I ever had,
     I said, sweet bitch, baby, you got the best cunt I ever had,
     Maybe it was that all I got was always bad.

     I put that bitch right on the stump,
     I set that bitch right on the stump, Lord, Lord, Lord,
     I set my bitch, babe, right on the stump,
     I screwed her ‘til her pussy stunk.

     If your man knew I had that big prick in you,
     If your man knew I had that big prick in you, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord,
     If that man knew, babe, I had that big prick in you,
     What do you think that dirty, no good son-of-a-bitch would do?

     I would tell him to kiss my fuckin’ ass,
     I would tell him to kiss my fuckin’ ass,
     I would tell him, baby, to kiss my fuckin’ ass,
     Just as so long as you’ kissin’ ass would last.

     Do you love me, baby, the way I grind you so?
 [laughs]
     Do you love me, baby, the way I grind you so?  Lord, Lord, Lord.
     Do you love the way I grind you, and I grind you so?
     Tell me, baby, that your man will never know, Lord, Lord, Lord.

     Always make it, babe, that pallet on your floor, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord,
     Make me a pallet on your floor, Lord, Lord, Lord, Lord.
     Make me a pallet, babe, on your floor,
     So that dirty, no good son-of-a-bitch will never know.

     When I first had you, I knew you was my bitch . . .

Contains offensive language

1668 B

a

1668 B

b

Make Me A Pallet On The Floor — v/sp

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1092 as: MAKE ME A PALLET ON THE FLOOR, part 4

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Make Me a Pallet on the Floor, concluded

Make Me a Pallet on the Floor [concluded]

     Anytime I fuck a bitch, I know she’s my bitch,
     Anytime I fuck a bitch, I know she’s my bitch,
     Just anytime I fuck my bitch, I know she’s my bitch,
     But all I ask you to do, don’t tell your dirty, no good son-of-a-bitch.

     Tell me, baby, don’t you like the way I grind?
     Tell me, baby, don’t you like the way I grind?
     Tell me baby, babe, don’t you like the way I grind?
     If you do, baby, let me get a little from behind.

     She said, baby, you know I like the way your grind from my wind,
     She said, baby, you know I like your grind from my wind,
     You know, I like your grindin’, baby, from the way I wind,
     That’s reason why I’m gonna let you get a little bit from behind.

     Would you throw your legs way up in the air?
     Would you throw your legs way up in the air?
     Baby, throw your legs way up in the air,
     So I can take this big prick and put every bit right there.
[clears throat]

Yes, this whisky’s good.

     Throw your legs up like a great church steeple,
     Throw your legs up like a great church steeple,
[clears throat]
Oh, my goodness — whisky.
     Throw your legs up like a church steeple, so I can think I’m fuckin’ all the people,
     Throw your legs up like a great church steeple.

     Baby, it’s been a pleasure in me, fucking you,
     Baby, it’s been a pleasure in me, fucking you,
     Baby, it’s been a pleasure, babe, in me, fucking you,
     Baby, it’s been a pleasure in me, fucking you.

     Now, get me a towel, get it drippin’ wet,
     Bring me a towel, bring it drippin’ wet,
     Just bring me a towel, just bring it drippin’ wet,
     You the fuckin’est bitch, yes, baby, I ever met.

Contains offensive language

1669 A

a

1669 A

b

The Dirty Dozen — v

c

Jelly Roll (28)
The Dirty Dozen

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1092 as: THE DIRTY DOZEN

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Dirty Dozen

Plays chords softly as he speaks

This is “The Dirty Dozen.” I really think this originated in Chicago. I heard this tune about nineteen-eight, when I happened to be in Chicago.

It seems like, er, Chicago hadn’t a, been, er, started to be a . . . beginnin’ to be a freakish centre. It seems like that there was a lot of sayings about what the different people would be doin’ and the uncultured way, and the sex appeal. So I heard that song then.

The Dirty Dozen

     Oh, you dirty motherfucker,
     You old cocksucker,
     You dirty son of a bitch,
     You’re a bastard,
     You’re everything,
     And yo’ mammy don’t wear no drawers.

     Yes, you did me this, you did me that,
     You did your father,
     You did your mother,
     You did everybody
     You come to,
     ‘Cause yo’ mammy don’t wear no drawers.

     That’s the Dirty Dozen,
     Oh, the Dirty lovin’ Dozen,
     The Dirty Dozen,
     Yes, yo’ mammy don’t wear no drawers.

[inaudible comments]

This would be played in the houses in Chicago, where they didn’t mind about the language. Different places, er, sometimes I would visit these places — I was supposed to be one of the higher-ups. ‘Course I’d . . . Sometimes I’d walk in and catch those things. It would be very embarrassin’ a lot of the times, the fact that, er, old King Jelly Roll Morton was there.

[laughs]

But I’d catch ‘em and they wouldn’t stop. Just keep on playin’. Some would care and some of ‘em wouldn’t.

[both laugh]

The gals, would have their dress up way up to their ass. Just shakin’ it and breakin’ it. At that time, er, they wore what you called — the ladies did — the split drawers. They’d just be shakin’ it down. And some guy plunkin’ on the piano, some rough looking guy — I wouldn’t know who he was. They had several of ‘em. And they’d sing it right over and over. They’d sing all kinds of verses. Some of them meant something, some of them didn’t have any rhymes, and some did and so forth, and on.

     So I had a bitch,
     Wouldn’t fuck me ‘cause she had the itch,
     Yes, she’s my bitch,
     Oh, yo’ mammy wouldn’t wear no drawers.

The main theme was the mammy wouldn’t wear no drawers. I thought it was a very disgusting mammy that wouldn’t wear some underwear.

     Said, you dirty motherfucker,
     You old cocksucker,
     You dirty son of a bitch,
     Oh, everything you know,
     Oh, you’re a low bitch,
     Yes, and everything you knew.
     Mmm . . . yes, babe . . . mmm, Lord,
     Yes, you did.

     Yes, you dirty bitch,
     Suck my prick,
     Oh, eat me up,
     All that kind of stuff,
     Yes, yo’ mammy won’t wear no drawers.

[inaudible comments]

Yeah.

     Said, look up bitch, you make me mad,
     I tell you ‘bout the fuckers that your sister had,
     Oh, it was a fad,
     She fucked a hog,
     She fucked a dog,
     I know the dirty bitch would fuck a frog,
     ‘Cause yo’ mammy don’t wear no drawers.

     I went one day,
     Out to the lake,
     I seen your mammy
     A-fuckin’ a snake,
     All she tried, she tried to shake,
     All she shuck, shake on the cake,
     Mammy don’t wear no drawers.

Note: On the dust jacket, the following comment appears: Take the Uncle’s story in Dictation.

Contains offensive language

1669 B
(see footnote below)

a

1669 B

b

The Murder Ballad — v

c

The Murder Ballad

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 1

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 1

The Murder Ballad [Part One]

     I know you’ve got my man,
     I know you’ve got my man,
     Try to hold him if you can.

     I know that man don’t want nobody but me,
     I know my man don’t want nobody but me,
     If you don’t b’lieve it, I’ve got his room key.

     If you don’t leave my fuckin’ man alone,
     If you don’t leave my fuckin’ man alone,
     You won’t know what way that you will go home.

     I’ll cut your throat and drink your fuckin’ blood like wine,
     Bitch, I’ll cut your fuckin’ throat, drink your blood like wine,
     Because I want you know, he’s a man of mine.

     I’ve told you once, I’m not gonna tell you any more,
     I’ve told you once, I’m not gonna tell you any more,
     Right to the burying ground your big black ass will go.

     I’m gonna tell him, I’m gonna tell him ‘bout you,
     I’m gonna to tell him, I’m gonna tell him ‘bout you,
     He’ll either have me, or he won’t have you too.

     Let me tell you one of the things that I’ve said,
     Let me tell you one of the things that I’ve said,
     The bitch that fucks my man, they’ll find her among the dead.

     I know you don’t b’lieve a thing that I’s saying,
     I know you don’t b’lieve a thing that I say,
     If you don’t leave my man alone, they’ll find you every Decoration Day.

Note: See footnote for AFS 1670-B.

Contains offensive language

1670 A

a

1670 A

b

Now Let Me Tell You — v

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 2: “Now let me tell you...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 2

The Murder Ballad [Part Two]

     Now let me tell you, I don’t wanna tell you any more,
     Let me tell you, don’t want to tell you any more,
     I catch you again, you’ll be on that floor.

     If I see my man hangin’ around your door,
     If I see my man hangin’ around your door,
     If I see my man hangin’ around your door.

     Tell me, baby, what you doin’ comin’ out that bitch’s house?
     Tell me, baby, what you doin’ comin’ out that bitch’s house?
     I don’t think she’s no good, she’s a great big louse.

     If she comes out here, that’ll be her last time,

     What did you say?
     I said, if you come out here, that will be your last time,
     I’ll teach you some lessons ‘bout fuckin’ a man of mine.

     She said, “I’m comin’ out, I’d like to see someone stop me,”
     She said, “I’m comin’ out, I’d like to see a bitch like you stop me,”
     This ain’t no slavery time, and I’m sure that I’m free.

     Yes, come on bitch, your day has come,
     Yes, come on bitch, your day has come,
     You fucked my man, but you will never fuck another one.

     She pulled out a pistol and shot her right in her eyes,
     She pulled out a pistol, shot her right in her eyes,
     She said, “Open your legs, you dirty bitch, I’m gonna shoot you between your
         thighs.”

     She said, “I killed that bitch because she fucked my man,”
     She said, “I killed that bitch because she fucked my man,”
     She said, “I killed that bitch ‘cause she fucked my man.”

     Policeman grabbed her and took her to jail,
     Policeman grabbed her and took her to jail,
     There was no one to go that poor gal’s bail.

1670 B
(see footnote below)

a

1670 B

b

I Know You’ve Got My Man —

c

d

THE MURDER BALLAD

e

Circle jm-59 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 3: “I know you’ve got my man...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 3

The Murder Ballad [Part Three]

     She got in the jailhouse, they asked her, “What you there for?”
     Her inmates in the jailhouse, “What are you here for?”
     She said, “I killed that bitch, that’s what I’m here for.”

     You a murderer, that’s why you in jail,
     You a murderer, that’s why you in jail,
     They had you pretty soon, they was on your trail.
[clears throat]

Oh, that’s good whisky, makes me moan.


     Her trial came up, she was in front of the judge,
     Her trial come up, she went in front of the judge,
 [clears throat]
     Her attorney tried to give the judge a nudge.

     The jury said, “That girl is here,”
     The jury said, “That girl is here,”
     The jury said, “That murderin’ girl is here.”

     The prosecutor said, “Today, we’re dishin’ out years,”
     Prosecutor said, “Today, gal, we dishin’ out years,
     So be careful, don’t have your fears.”

     She said, “Judge, I killed her ‘cause she had my man,”
     She said, “I killed her, because she had my man,
     I killed that bitch ‘cause she had my man.”

     I’d rather be in — dead in my grave than hear that bitch havin’ my sweet man,
     I’d rather be dead in grave, hear of her havin’ my sweet man,
     I’d be dead in grave, let her have my sweet man.

     Jury found her guilty, she must go to jail,
     Jury found her guilty, she must go to jail,
     Up the river to Baton Rouge is her trail.

     Judge said, “Fifty years for killin’ the woman that loved your man,”
     Judge said, “Fifty years for the woman that you killed f’ lovin’ your man,
     I wish I could help you, but I’m sure that I can’t.”

     So the poor gal was took away to that mournful jail . . .

Note: Although the AFS listing shows that the title I Know You’ve Got My Man is assigned to AFS 1670-B, the transcription indicates that I Know You’ve Got My Man was actually recorded and plays on AFS 1669-B (John Cowley).

Contains offensive language

1671 A

a

1671 A

b

They Brought That Gal To The Prison Gate — v

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 4: “They brought that gal to the prison gate...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 4

The Murder Ballad [Part Four]

[inaudible comments]

     They brought that gal to the prison gates,[inaudible comments]Yeah.
     They brought that gal to the prison gates, — [inaudible comments]
     They brought that gal to the prison gates.

     The keeper said, “Hard labour is your task,”
     Yes, the keeper said, “Hard labour is your task,
     There’s any more questions, don’t you forget to ask.”

     Your number is nine-ninety-three,
     Your prison number is nine-ninety-three,
     Start to workin’ right under that great big tree.

     Coffee and bread is all you will get,
     Coffee and bread is all that you will get,
     Outside when it rain, you are sure to get wet.

     Don’t you wish you had a let that woman had your man,
     Don’t you wish you had a let that woman had your man,
     There is a lot of others that you could have your man.

     Time is comin’ that a woman don’t need no man,

     That’s what she said when she was in jail.
     Time is comin’ a woman won’t need no man,
     You can get it all with your beautiful hand.

     Woman, woman, what have you been doin’,
     Woman, woman, what have you been doin’,
     This jailhouse has brought you way out to ruin.

     I can’t have a man, so a woman is my next bet,
     I can’t have a man in here, a woman is my next bet,
     She said to a good-lookin’ mama, baby, “I’ll get you yet.”


     [coughs]

     They went to sleep that night, the other gal crawled in her bed,
     They went to . . . sleep that night, the other gal crawled in her bed,
     She says, “I’m goin’ to get some of this cunt, you bitch, I said.”

Contains offensive language

1671 B

a

1671 B

b

Gal, When I Get Through, You Think I Am A Man — v

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 5: “Gal, when I get through, you’ll think I’m a man...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 5

The Murder Ballad [Part Five]

     She said, “Gal, when I get through, you’ll think I’m a man,”
     She said, “When I get through, you’ll think that I’m a man,
     I’m goin’ to fuck you bitch, that you’ll think I’m a man.”

     She had a thing just the same as mine,
     She had a thing just the same as mine,
     We rubbed together, my, but it was fine.

     She said, “I could learn to love you like I did that boy,”
     She said, “I could learn to love you like I did that boy,
     To play with my thing like that is pleasure like a toy.”

     Every mornin’ I want you give me some of this good cunt you’ve got,
     Every mornin’ I want you to give me some of this good cunt you’ve got,
     Because it sure is fine, it is good and hot.


Piano Interlude

     I want you to screw me, screw me like a dog,
     Screw me behind, sweet bitch, screw me like a dog,
     When it gets good, I wanna holler out like a hog.

     Years and years I could take a prick just like a mule,
     I could take a great big prick just like a great big mule,
     I found out what a big damn fool.

     I hustled night and day for that man of mine,
     I hustled day and night for that man of mine,
     Now I’m through, I’m behind the walls for a long time.

Contains offensive language

1672 A

a

1672 A

b

Ask My Sister, Please Don’t Be Like Me — v

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 6: “Ask my sister, please don’t be like me...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 6

The Murder Ballad [Part Six]

[inaudible comments]

     Ask my sister, please don’t be like me,
     Ask my sister, please don’t be like me,
     It’s better to have had the things you don’t want and go free.

     Now I’m back here for my natural life,
     I’m back here for my natural life,
     All I hate, I ain’t got nothin’ but my life.

     If the Gods of heaven would show me how,
     If the Gods of heaven will show me how,
     I could get away from here, I would leave right now.

     Prison walls isn’t made for people to go,
     Prison walls ain’t made for people to go,
     I killed that gal, but I never will know.

     I’m sorry, sorry, sorry to my heart,
     I’m sorry, babe, sorry to my heart,
     I’m sorry, that the argument ever did start.

     I’m in jail now and he’s got him another bitch,
     Yes, I’m in jail and my man’s got another bitch,
     I hate him, too, he’s a dirty rotten son-of-a-bitch.

     I pray and pray and pray and pray,
     I pray and pray and pray,
     That the Lord will show me another day.

     I jeopardized my life for that no-good man,
     I jeopardized my life for that no-good man,
     I jeopardized my life for that no-good man.


Yeah.

     And at last there’s nothing else for me to do,
     At last there’s nothing else for me to do,
     I’m going to die in here, and I hope my man does, too.

     Good-bye the world, and I am gone,
     Good-bye to the world, because I know I’m gone,
     Good-bye all good people, I know . . .

Note: Jelly Roll gradually hurries the final verse, due to time limitations on the recording.

Note: Rounder CD 1093 includes the words
Good-bye all good people, I know . . . of the final verse. However, these words are omitted on Rounder CD 1888.

Contains offensive language

1672 B

a

1672 B

b

Good-bye To The World, I Know I’m Gone — v

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE MURDER BALLAD, part 7: “Goodbye to the world: I know I’m gone...”

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Murder Ballad, part 7

The Murder Ballad [conclusion]

     Good-bye to the world, I know I’m gone,
     Good-bye to the world, because I know I’m gone,
     And I’ll be gone out a long, long, long.


Piano Interlude

     I hope heaven will be my home,
     I hope heaven will be my home,
     No more on this earth for me to roam.

     Sinners, sinners, sinners, won’t you pray for me,
     Sinners, sinners, won’t you pray for me,
     Pray for me to let the devil let me be.

     When I’m dead and dead way down in my grave,
     When I’m dead, dead way down in my grave,
     No more good peter of that man I’ll crave.

     I won’t be buried like all my family was,
     I won’t be buried like my family was,
     I won’t be buried like my family was.

     They will put me in a box in the prison yard,
     They will put me in a box in the prison yard,
     Not even a tombstone or not even a card.

     There won’t be nobody followin’ behind myself,
     There won’t be nobody followin’, it will be me by myself,
     They’ll lower me in the ground, I won’t be on the shelf.

     If you get out of here, try to be a good girl,

     Oh, I had to tell ‘em.
     Girl, if you get out of here, try to be a good girl,
     That’s the only way you gonna wear your diamonds and pearls.

Jelly Roll Morton

1673 A

a

1673 A

b

Fickle Fay Creep — p

c

d

FICKLE FAY CREEP

e

Circle jm-32

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: FICKLE FAY CREEP

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Fickle Fay Creep

Fickle Fay Creep

Jelly Roll Morton

1673 B

a

1673 B

b

Jungle Blues — p

c

d

JUNGLE BLUES

e

Circle jm-46

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: JUNGLE BLUES

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Jungle Blues

Jungle Blues

Jelly Roll Morton

1674 A

a

1674 A

b

King Porter Stomp — p

c

King Porter Stomp (A flat & D flat)
piano — Jelly Roll Morton
(outside - in)

d

KING PORTER STOMP

e

Circle jm-73

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: KING PORTER STOMP, no. 2

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: King Porter Stomp

King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton

1674 B

a

1674 B

b

Sweet Peter — p

c

Sweet Peter (E flat)
piano — JRM
(o - s i)

d

SWEET PETER

e

Circle jm-69

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: SWEET PETER

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Sweet Peter

Sweet Peter

Jelly Roll Morton

1675 A

a

1675 A

b

Hyena Stomp — p

c

Hyena Stomp (E flat)
JRM
o i

d

HYENA STOMP

e

Circle jm-8

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: HYENA STOMP

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Hyena Stomp

Hyena Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton

1675 B

a

1675 B

b

Wolverine Blues — p
June 7, 1938

c

d

WOLVERINE BLUES Part 1

e

Circle jm-55

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: WOLVERINE BLUES, begun

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Wolverine Blues, begun

Wolverine Blues [begun]

     Skeet, scat, oh, scow, bow, boo-do-doodle-oo,
     Scoot, scow, scade, do-doodle-oo scow bow,
     Oh, skeedle-loodle bow-da-looden bow-do-bay,
     Skoodle-loodle bow-da-loodle bow-do-bay,
     Spa dow, skee-deedle-oo, oh . . .
     Skull dee, skeet scat, skeet deet-dee-do,
     Skoo da-doodle-oo skoodle-ood do-do,
     Skoodle-ood do-do-do,
     Yeah, skeet scout scoot do do-doodle-oo scout,
     Oh, scoot that babe, yeah, scoot that Wolverine Blues.

     Wolver . . . Wolverine, babe,
     I’ve been yearning,
     Wolver . . . Wolverine,
     For your returning,
     Soon, I’ll be back with you,
     And, once more, babe,
     I’ll be dancing, back in Lansing, Michi . . . just Michigan,
     How I love you both, night and day,
     Yes, I’ve seen ‘bout all there is to see,
     I know they’re waitin’ back at home for me,
     That’s why . . . got the Wolverine Blues.

Jelly Roll Morton

1676 A

a

1676 A

b

Wolverine Blues — p

c

Wolverine Blues (2)
JRM
June 7, 1938

d

WOLVERINE BLUES Concluded

e

Circle jm-56

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: WOLVERINE BLUES, concluded

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Wolverine Blues, concluded

Wolverine Blues [concluded]

Play that thing.

Swing it, that’s the tune caused the name.

     Just skeet, scat, skeet skadoodle-oo,
     Skeet, scat, skeet, skadoodle-oo,
     Skeet, scat, skeet, skadoodle-oo,
     Skeet, scat, doo-doo-da-doodle-oo,
     Skoo babe, doodle-eedle-addle-da,
     Scow doe, scow bo, scow bay, scow hay,
     Oh, skoodle-it doodle-it skoodle-ee-do-do,
     Skoodle-ee-do-do, skoodle-eet do-dee-doodle-do,
     Yeah, skoodle-oo-dee-do-do,
     Just skoodle-eet-do,
     Well, hey now,
     I know they’re waitin’ back home for me — got the Wolverine Blues.

Note: Jelly Roll always insisted that the correct title should have been The Wolverines, which was the name of a barber’s shop in Lansing, Michigan — the Wolverine State — owned by one of his friends. When the Spikes Brothers published Wolverine Blues in 1923, a second and apparently erroneous meaning was added, as the lyrics refer to the Wolverine Express, which was a train on the New York Central Railroad operating between New York City and Detroit. However, there is also another sheet music publication, which has different lyrics with no mention of the Wolverine Express. [BG 1]

Jelly Roll Morton

1676 B

a

1676 B

b

State And Madison — p

c

d

STATE AND MADISON

e

Circle jm-70

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: STATE AND MADISON

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: State And Madison

State and Madison

Jelly Roll Morton

1677 A

a

1677 A

b

The Pearls. — p
June 7, 1938

c

The Pearls (F & C)
J.R.M., written in 1918 in Mexico near the border (Sonora State).
A young girl liked this tune so much JR named it after her - Pearl.
If the bands couldn’t play this in Chi, they wasn’t nobody. Teddy Wilson.

d

THE PEARLS Part I

e

Circle jm-41

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE PEARLS, begun

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Pearls, begun

The Pearls [begun]

Jelly Roll Morton

1677 B

a

1677 B

b

The Pearls. — p
June 8, 1938

c

The Pearls (F & C)

d

THE PEARLS concl.

e

Circle jm-42

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: THE PEARLS, concluded

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Pearls, concluded

The Pearls [concluded]

Jelly Roll Morton

1678 A

a

1678 A

b

Bert Williams — p

c

d

BERT WILLIAMS

e

Circle jm-45

f

Rounder CD 1093 as: BERT WILLIAMS

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Bert Williams

Bert Williams

Jelly Roll Morton

1678 B

a

1678 B

b

Freakish — p

c

d

FREAKISH

e

Circle jm-71

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: FREAKISH

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Freakish

Freakish

Jelly Roll Morton

1679 A

a

1679 A

b

Pep — p

c

Pep (F) o i
J.R.M.
Written in California 1917

d

PEP

e

Circle jm-43

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: PEP

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Pep

Pep

1679 B

a

1679 B

b

Monologue on the Georgia Skin Game — sp

c

Playing “Georgia Skin” in Mississippi
o i

d

GEORGIA SKIN GAME, Pt. I “Of all the games in history”

e

Circle jm-38 (excerpt)

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Georgia Skin Game

Plays chords softly as he speaks

Why I happened to be in this little bitty city of Biloxi, which was quite a prosperous little city — at the time — because it was a great summer resort. Had a lot of millionaires, they used to make kind of a headquarters during the winter season because the weather was fine. Fine oysters and fishing and so forth and so on. And golf and different things.

Many times I have played for a lot of big parties and so forth, for the Duquets, the oysters and shrimp owners, and so forth and so on. But somehow or another I had a, a kind of a yen to be what they called a half-smart guy, see? And all the smart guys that I’ve seen, since I become to realise — why, they were much worse off than I was. I’ve only realized that in later ages, though. Er, all the smart guys usually wore, er, maybe some overalls. If not, a flannel shirt — even in the summertime — busted open right at the top, with no tie on. That was considered, from that dress, that was a sharp shooter — smart fellow.

Er, they had a fellow that dressed always in overalls. I don’t believe that no time I’ve ever seen him in a real suit of clothes. He was a very nice fellow. Somehow he liked music and taken a liking to me. He was considered one of the best Georgia skin players in that section. It was nothin’ for him, when these turpentine men would come into town — what they’d call town would be Biloxi, or Gulfport, or one of these little coast towns — but they’d always start maybe gambling and Georgia skin was, no doubt, the main game. Of all the games in history that I’ve ever seen, I’ve never seen one game have so many different kinds of cheats right in front of your eyes. It’ll take a magician to even catch ‘em, and maybe not even him, he couldn’t catch ‘em, maybe.

Anyway, Harry Dunn was supposed to be the best. He was a tall, lanky fella, very thin, and had a very nice disposition with a smile. He’s light in complexion, and somehow or another he seemed to like me very much. And he told me, “Someday I’m going to make a gambler out of you.” And of course that interested me, because I wanted to have the other young fellows that was out of my class beat. And he used to teach me, day by day, when he wouldn’t go out . . . to mean what you call a payday. That . . . meeting a payday means that he’s gonna bring the bacon home — win all the money from the people that has worked.

Well, Harry taught me a few things about the Georgia skin game such as a few, few hold-out cubs, they call ‘em. That was a cub is something where you have three cards where it’s impossible for this card to come out of the deck. And of course, these cards are in the, in the, the party’s hand that’s playing the other card. And in that case, you can never lose. But, of course, it’s very dangerous if you’re not able to get the cards back into the deck. Harry taught me that trick. And he, he taught me several other tricks in the line of cubs, what you call run-around cubs. Meaning that you sure had to win if you could get the works in.

So once he was gonna make a payday at a railroad camp.


[clears throat]

Whisky’s lovely.

Er, so, I went along with Harry a few miles up the road. Er, they had a camp at a little place called Orange, Mississippi. I always remember Orange, because it almost meant fatal to me. Now Orange . . . I didn’t see anything in Orange at all but probably the, the log camp and two, three little houses. That’s all Orange had. So we . . . I went with Harry as his little brother, he used to call me. And there was another fellow along — I don’t remember his name — that was a ace Georgia skin player.

1680 A

a

1680 A

b

Monologue on the Georgia Skin Game — sp

c

d

GEORGIA SKIN GAME, Pt. II “Come on, let’s roll up”

e

Circle jm-39

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Georgia Skin Game, continued

Plays chords softly as he speaks

Orange, Mississippi, is, er, pretty close to the line of Alabama. So, er, Harry always knew, somehow or another, that I had pretty good relatives, and by me being able to play piano I always had a opportunity to make a little money in the sporting houses and so forth and so on. Which, er, you could find a sporting house in every city, at that time — I mean a tenderloin district.

So Harry knew this quality that I had of keeping some kind of money. So he invited me to — says, “I wanna let you see how these things is done. Because showin’ you without the actual experience — er, you wouldn’t be able to do it, and then it takes a lot of nerve.”

Well, of course, I convinced Harry that I had a lot of nerve and I could do these things myself. Well, when you’re skinnin’, why, the cards was laying on the table and people’s running through ‘em, looking for what they call singles. So, er, I went in the game. He told me to stay out of the game, but I, I’d, er, intended to get right in the game to have some experience — and I did.

In the meantime, after we’re playin’ in this little bitty camp, I’ve noticed there’s three jacks together. So I picked the three jacks, and as Harry had taught me to swing out, as you call it, I swung out. And I kept these jacks, and they dealt the cards, and the next time the deal went around, one jack fell. That’s what they call falling. So I said, “That’s my card, and I’ll take the card.”

By that time Harry had won up an awful lot of money. And, er, he was throwin’ what you call a side. A side is a thing that it takes two to play — why, that is, opposition against one another. So of course, I picked out the jack. And when I picked out the jack, I still had these cards — other three cards — in my hand. So I, I told the boys, “All right, get down here on this card.” They start to getting down. Getting down means to put some money up. They’d put up from fifty cents, a dollar, two dollars, and so forth and so on. So I knew that I had the best card, as they call the best card the one that don’t lose — the one that stands up longer.

So I told the boys, “Just make it easy on yourself and just roll in.” They used to say, “Come on, let’s roll up,” you see? And they’d roll. And I made so much money on that deal, I didn’t know I was picking it up so fast, it was, it was a shame.

So I didn’t know how to get the cards back into the deck. So one of the, the camp men — they usually turned the deck over after every deal — they picked up the deck and turned the deck over before Harry could do anything, and I didn’t know how to get the cards back in there. So since I had the jack and they couldn’t find the other three jacks, of course everything was on me. The suspicion was right on me and a fellow pulled out a great big pistol. He said, “You either come in with my money, or off goes your head.”

1680 B

a

1680 B

b

Card Dealers Song — v

c

d

GEORGIA SKIN GAME, concl. “He sang a little song like this”

e

Circle jm-40 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: CARD DEALER’S SONG (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Georgia Skin Game, conclusion

Plays chords softly as he speaks

So he said, “If you don’t, er, give me my money,” he says, “off goes your head.” And he pointed a great big pistol at me.

And, er, Harry said, “Don’t hurt this boy. He don’t know what he’s doin’. He’s only a young brother of mine. And I’ll assure you that I’ll give you all your money back, er, that you lost on this deal.”

So when they started to claiming money, why, the one maybe who’d lost three dollars on the deal, he’d say, ten. And everyone would, er, er, have their money much more that what it was. I had quite a bit of money in my pocket. I’d taken all the money I had in my pocket and all I had won, and practically all Harry had won, and so forth and so on, like that. So he kept me out of the game, which it was only a question of a short time before Harry would have all the money, if I would let Harry alone.

Then of course there would . . . there was then a certain suspicion on Harry, because I’d tried to cheat. So Harry said, “You stay out of the game.” Said, “Let me play these boys and, maybe I may be luckier than you.” And he, he sang a song like this as he would turn and flip the cards over.

Card Dealer’s Song

     I’m gonna get one and go directly.
     Pop. The card’d hit.
     I’m gonna get one and go directly.
     The card’d hit.  [taps piano]
     Oh, my baby’s down and out.  [taps piano]

Go ahead and put in your . . . the bet tone.

     I’m gonna get one  —  Put in the bet and play.  then go directly.  [taps piano]

— “Two dollars more’ll catch you there, boy.”

     Oh, I’ll get one and go directly.

Said, “Three dollars more.  Five? I got you on that. Okay, bet. Bet. Roll up. So, okay, roll up here. Two more on trey. Okay, bet.”

     I’m gonna get one and go directly.  [taps piano]

Say, “Do you want anything over that ten spot?” “All right, king, comin’ up there. Ten dollars more’ll catch the king.” “Okay, boy, it’s a bet.” “Okay.”

     If I can make this one last,
     If I can make this card last,
 [taps piano]
     I’m gonna get one and go directly.  [taps piano]

— “Eight more dollars up there on the eight spot. What you say, a dollar for every point you got there? Okay, bet? Yes bet. Okay, let’s make it sixteen. You only got a few good. There’s nobody else standing there but you and I. I got the ace here. I think my ace is better than your, er, your eight spot, what do you say? Okay. Twenty dollars bet. Twenty dollars more. Okay?”

     I’m gonna get one and go directly.  [taps piano]

Eight spot fell and Harry’s taken all the money. And we finally got out of the place safe. It was a tough thing for me, though, I’ll tell you that. Fact . . . [inaudible comments] . . . life. Harry Dunn was the fellow’s name.

Note: See also Peter Hanleys’s essay of Harry Edward Dunn accompanied by his WWI Draft Registration Card.

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