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.

1681 A

a

1681 A

b

Indian Songs at the Mardi Gras — v
June 8, 1938

c

The Indians in the Masquerade of N.O. Mardi Gras
(with the Indian song)
J.R.M.
June 8, 1938

d

UNGAI HA (Indian Songs at the Mardi Gras)

e

Circle jm-80

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Ungai Hai

     Ungai hai.
     Ungai hai.
     Ungai hai.

That’s the sign of the Indians. That would be some of the boys, when they would be travelling in the city of New Orleans, that is, during the Mardi Gras. They’d prepare for the Indian tribes . . . I never known any more than four or five tribes in the whole city, of all the thousands of people that there were there. Er, these, er, people they had the idea that they wanted to act exactly like the old Indians did in the years gone by, and they wanted to live true, to, to traditions of their style. If they happened to meet a friend of a tribe, or a friendly tribe to them, they would pitch in and start to dancing.

Er, this was one of the biggest feats that ever happened during the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Even when a, when the, the parades that cost millions of dollars would be coming along. If a band of Indians was coming — come in — why the, the parade wouldn’t have anybody there. Everybody would flock to see the Indians.

They would dance, and they would sing, and they would go on just like the regular Indians. They would be armed with fictitious, er, spears and tomahawks and so forth. And incidentally, sometimes, some of ‘em would break the rules and have some real material to fight with, with steel, and so forth and on. Some even had pistols. And I have known many cases where there have been killings in the city of New Orleans with the Indian bands.

Now here’s the way they would sing, er, when they would be dancing. They’d form a ring and one would get in the centre and he’d start his kind of a Indian dance. And he’d be singin’, throwing his head back and downward, and stoopin’ kinda over and bending his knees, and doing a kind of a, a jug dance, I’d call it. And they would say, er:

     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais.

And the whole bunch would answer back:

     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais.

See, they would, er, they’d have a kind of a rhythm, er, with the, with their heels. Like this:

     [demonstrates rhythm with heels]

     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais.

     A la caille-yoko,
     A la ca woh,
     Oh, T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais.

When they would say other things, they would, er, they would stop for a minute and throw their head back, and say:

     A la caille-yo,
     A la ca wais,
     Houwais bas q’ouwais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Hou tendais,
     T’ouwais bas q’ouwais,
     Ou tendais.

Now there would be, from time to time — if they didn’t meet a friendly tribe towards them — er, which, er, I thought, when I was a child, it was really Indians. I thought they had the paints and everything else on ‘em just like the Indians would, and some with the blankets, and so forth and so on. Women never was in these masquerades at all.

They’d meet, er, some . . . a real enemy. The enemy would walk up to — that is, er, what you call the spy-boys. They would use them about two blocks ahead. I had a little, er, experience in it myself. I happened to be a spy-boy. They was always kids that did the spyin’. These were real men that did this Indian dance and, and played the Indians. And their main object was to make the enemy bow, and they would use this word. When the spy-boys would meet another spy-boy, they said, “Bow-wow. Bow-wow. Ah, bow-wow.” I don’t remember all the words they used to use. And they’d point their fingers to the ground, “Bow-wow.”

And if they wouldn’t bow, then they, they’d use the Indian call.


[whoops]

And when they’d use that Indian call, why, that was to call in the tribes. And there’s many time, in these Indian, er, these Indian things came up there’d be a killin’. The next day there’d be somebody in the morgue.

Jelly Roll Morton

1681 B

a

1681 B

b

New Orleans Blues — p

c

d

NEW ORLEANS BLUES

e

Circle jm-27 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: NEW ORLEANS BLUES (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: New Orleans Blues

New Orleans Blues

Er, this was one of the earliest tunes . . .

[recording paused]

[inaudible comments]

Er, that’s the type of tune, er, was no doubt one of the earliest blues that was created as a composition — a playable composition — in the city of New Orleans. This tune was wrote about nineteen-two. All the black bands in the city of New Orleans played these tunes — that’s this tune, I mean.

Er, of course, you may notice the Spanish tinge in it. Er, this has so much to do with the typical jazz idea. If one can’t, er, manage a way to put these tinges of Spanish in these tunes, they’ll never be able to get the right season, I may call it, for jazz music.

Jelly Roll Morton

1682 A

a

1682 A

b

Dialogue on jazz and blues — sp/p
La Paloma Into Blues — p

c

The Spanish influence on New Orleans blues
La Paloma

d

LA PALOMA

e

Circle jm-28 (excerpt)

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Spanish Tinge

Of course you got to have these little tinges of Spanish in it, er, in order to play real good jazz. Er, jazz has a foundation that must be very prominent, especially with the bass sections, in order to give a great background. Plus, what’s called riffs today, er, which was known as figures. But figures has, hasn’t always been in the dance bands. I’ll give you an idea what, er, the, the idea of Spanish there is in the blues.

New Orleans Blues [short demonstration]

Er, this particular tune . . . I wouldn’t be honest if I said that maybe the whole tune belonged to me, although my name is on it. It’s supposed to be arranged by Mr. Joe Jordan, but these arrangements were made also by myself.

Er, there’s a man that used to teach me to play piano. I’ll have to give him credit, er, for some contribution to this tune. His name was Frank Richards. He was older than I was. He was on the ragtime order. But he was a very good player, as far as it went — although he was incapable of instructin’ anybody along music in the very, that is, for a very short ways. That’s all he could go. He couldn’t go very far, because he didn’t know so very much about music himself. But at least in the early days, in my beginning on piano, he was the first one that started my instructions, and I thank him greatly for that. His name is Frank Richards. I mentioned it before, but I wanna be sure that they get his name correctly — Frank Richards.

Frank . . . [speech directed towards stenographer]

What part of the blues did he . . . contribute?

Er, well I, I claim that his, his contribution was more in the perfection way. Er, the melodies were all mine. But I believed that he could do much better than I could with it, because, er, he made a lot of corrections that probably would have gone, maybe haywire. And, of course, I’ve kept the tune ever since. It’s one of my first tunes.

[recording paused]

La Paloma [begun]

As, as I before said, maybe you may be able to, er, notice the Spanish tinge. But you must have a powerful background. Er, for an instance, those days they used “La Paloma.” Was, er, one of the great Spanish tunes.

Y’know, New Orleans was inhabited with maybe every race on the face of the globe. And of course, we had Spanish people — they had plenty of ‘em — and plenty of French people. Of course, I’ll . . . I may demonstrate a little bit of “La Paloma,” er, to show you that the tinge is really in there.

Take it easy.

La Paloma

That would be the common time, which it gives you the same thing in the . . . [demonstrates syncopation] . . . I hope this is, er, quite clear to you, see? Only one is a blues, but differentiating in these things, it comes from the right hand. You play the left hand just the same, but of course, blues you . . . you, you get the syncopation in there. It gives, er, a entirely different colour. It really changes the colour from red to blue. And maybe you can notice this powerful bass hand?

Note: See also Peter Hanley’s in-depth “portrait” of Frank Richards on the “Portraits from Jelly Roll’s New Orleans” page.

Jelly Roll Morton

1682 B

a

1682 B

b

Creepy Feeling — p

c

d

CREEPY FEELING Part 1

e

Circle jm-29 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: CREEPY FEELING, begun (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Improving Spanish Tempos

I, I personally didn’t believe that, er, the Spanish tunes were really perfected in their tempos. The fact that the tempos wasn’t always correct. And, er, I heard a lot of Spanish tunes, and I tried to play ‘em in correct tempo myself. And, er, I didn’t possibly play ‘em in very correct in tempos. But I wasn’t altogether satisfied with some of the melodies. I decided, er, to write some of them myself. I will now try to play one for your approval. Er, this number is “Creepy Feeling.”

Creepy Feeling [fragment]

[recording restarted]

Creepy Feeling [begun]

Jelly Roll Morton

1683 A

a

1683 A

b

Creepy Feeling — p

c

Creepy Feeling (cont’d)
J.R.M.

d

CREEPY FEELING Concl.

e

Circle jm-30

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: CREEPY FEELING, concluded

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Creepy Feeling, concluded

Creepy Feeling [concluded]

Jelly Roll Morton

1683 B

a

1683 B

b

The Crave — p

c

d

THE CRAVE

e

Circle jm-31

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: THE CRAVE

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Crave

The Crave

Jelly Roll Morton

1684 A

a

1684 A

b

Mama ‘Nita — p

c

Mama ‘Nita (E flat)
JRM composed 1917 in Los Angeles
“E flat has brilliancy to it”

d

MAMA ‘NITA

e

Circle jm-25

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: MAMANITA

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Mamanita

Mama ‘Nita

Contains offensive language

Jelly Roll Morton

1684 B

a

1684 B

b

Can-Can — v/p
If You Don’t Shake, Don’t Get No Cake — v/p

c

d

I. CREOLE SONG
II. IF YOU DON’T SHAKE

e

Circle jm-81 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: CAN-CAN
Rounder CD 1094 as: IF YOU DON’T SHAKE

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: C’était N’aut’ Can-Can, Payez Donc

C’était N’aut’ Can-Can, Payez Donc

     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     ‘N’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc.

     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc.

Give it us again.

     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     ‘N’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc.

     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc,
     C’était n’aut’ can-can, payez donc.

This was one of the . . . what was one of the earliest tunes, er, in New Orleans. It’s from French origin. And I’m telling you, when they start to playin’ this thing in the dance hall they would really whoop it up.

When was that?

Er, well, this was around about nineteen-five, nineteen-six. All the bands — the little bands that was around — played it; the different musicians that could, as far as they could go. But it happened to be a favourite so far as the tune goes. But there seemed to be some vulgar meaning to it that I have never understood. I know what the . . . all the rest mean, but the can-can — I can’t understand the can-can business. [laughs]  But I’ll tell you, everybody got hot and they threw their hats away when they get start to playin’ this thing.

C’était N’aut’ Can-Can, Payez Donc

If You Don’t Shake, You Don’t Get No Cake


     If you don’t shake, you don’t get no cake,
     If you don’t rock, you don’t get no cock.

     I said, if you don’t shake, you don’t get no cake,
     If you don’t rock, you don’t get no cock.

     If you don’t fuck, you don’t have no luck,
 [both laugh]
     If you don’t fuck, you don’t have no luck.  [both laugh]

     If you don’t fuck, you don’t have no luck,
     If you don’t fuck, you don’t have no luck.

Note: Like pidgin English, Creole French is different from place to place (Louisiana, Haiti, Martinique, etc.). Transcribed into classical French, it would be C’était notre cancan, payez donc or C’était un autre cancan, payez donc. Jelly Roll admits his problem with can-can.

Some translations have been suggested: chanson (a song, as proposed by Albert Nicholas, the New Orleanian clarinet player and a friend of Jelly Roll), or the cancan, invented in 1861 by one Charles Morton of London. A variation on the quadrille, this dance was the craze of 1898 and inspired painters Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso.

Another suggestion is concombre (cucumber).

     It was our song or cancan, or cucumber, pay for it, then.
     Yet another song or cancan, or cucumber, pay for it, then[RR 2]

Note: The profanities in If You Don’t Shake, Don’t Get No Cake on Circle jm-81 have been edited out.

Jelly Roll Morton

1685 A

a

1685 A

b

Spanish Swat — p

c

Spanish Swat
JRM, composed in NY, 1927, unp.
(tune “Dark Eyes”)

d

SPANISH SWAT

e

Circle jm-26 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: SPANISH SWAT

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Spanish Swat

Spanish Swat

Jelly Roll Morton

1685 B

a

1685 B

b

Misbehavin’ [sic] — v/p

c

d

AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

e

Circle jm-44

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Ain’t Misbehavin’

Ain’t Misbehavin’

     Ah, boot it,
     Just boot it,
     Boot it boot,
     Boot it boot it boo-hoot,
     Baddle-addle-addle la ba,
     Misbehavin’, ba-ba-da-da-da,
     Misbehavin’,
     Yes, baby, I’ve got my lovin’ love for you,
     Ba-da-la-be-buh-be.

Jelly Roll Morton

1686 A

a

1686 A

b

I Hate A Man Like You — v/p
June 12, 1938

c

I Hate A Man Like You
JRM, the composer
June 12, 1937 [sic]

d

I HATE A MAN LIKE YOU (“I played some rollin’ stuff.”)

e

Circle jm-86

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: I HATE A MAN LIKE YOU (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: I Hate a Man Like You / Rolling Stuff

I Hate a Man Like You

     I hate a man like you,
     Don’t like the things you do,
     When you married me, I knew you wasn’t right,
     When you stayed out from me the first night,
     Do you think that’s treating your little wifey right?
     Lord, I hate a man like you.

     I hate a man like you,

     Can’t get used to the way . . . and things that you tryin’ to do,
     I knew you wasn’t the one for me,
     When you took your fist and knocked me down to my knee,
     If I could get a divorce I know I would be free,
     From a doggone man like you.

     Yes, I hate a man like you,
     Can’t used to . . . gettin’ used to the things that you do, no.
     When you took your man friend at my home,
     He told me all about the places that you did roam,
     I looked in your pocket and found a sweet woman’s comb,
     Yes, I hate a man like you.


     [hums complete verse]

     Mmmm, hmmm . . .

     I hate a man like you,
     Don’t like the things you do,
     My people told me that I was goin’ wrong,
     And I had a yen for you, I thought I’d like you strong,
     But you so dumb, you don’t know right from wrong,
     Lord, I hate a man, man like you.

And I had the blues, and then on she, she just moaned. It was a shame the way that man treated that woman. And this happens to be a even true song. The music was wrote on account of this happenin’. Of course, I played some blues to kind of pacify the young lady. She was a beautiful thing, too. I played some rollin’ stuff like this:

Rolling Stuff

Contains offensive language

Jelly Roll Morton

1686 B

a

1686 B

b

Michigan Water Blues — v/p

c

d

MICHIGAN WATER BLUES

e

Circle jm-58 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: MICHIGAN WATER BLUES

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Michigan Water Blues

Michigan Water Blues

[inaudible comments] . . . play a blues by one of the most great . . . Play a blues by . . . it was by a great pianist, maybe one of the best the world has ever seen. He, he enjoyed wearin’ the title of the “World’s Greatest Single-Handed Entertainer.” Playing all classes of music in the style they was supposed to be played, from blues to opera. And, er, he sang one of these numbers, a blues that he wrote himself — “Michigan Water.” I’ll show you the different types that he played in.

     Yes, Michigan water tastes like sherry,
     I mean sherry, crazy ‘bout my sherry,
     Michigan water tastes like sherry wine,
     Yes, Michigan water tastes like sherry wine.

     Mama, mama, look at sis,
     She’s out on the levee doin’ the double twist,
     Mama, mama, won’t you look at sis,
     She’s out on the levee doin’ the double twist.

     She said, “Come in here, you dirty little sow,
     You tryin’ to be a bad girl, you don’t know how,
     Come in here, you’re a dirty little sow,
     You tryin’ to be a bad girl that you don’t know how.”

     [inaudible comments]

     She said, “Touch my bonnet, touch my shawl,
     Do not touch my waterfall,
     Touch my bonnet, baby, touch my shawl,
     Please, don’t you touch my waterfall.”

Then they’d do the single . . . the single-runnin’ bass.

Single Running Bass

Then they’d do what we call a double-runnin’ bass.

Double Running Bass

Contains offensive language

Jelly Roll Morton

1687 A
(see footnote below)

a

1687 A

b

The Winding Boy — v/p
June 12, 1938

c

The Winding Boy
JRM
(concl’d on B)
June 12, 1938

d

THE WININ’ BOY II

e

Circle jm-90 (see note below)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: WININ’ BOY BLUES no. 2, begun

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Winin’ Boy Blues

Winin’ Boy Blues [begun]

This happened to be one of my first tunes in the blues line, down in New Orleans, in the very early days, when people first start to playin’ piano in that section. Of course, when a man played piano, the stamp was on him for life — the femininity stamp. And I didn’t want that on, so, of course, when I did start to playin’, the songs were kinda smutty a bit. Not so smutty, but somethin’ like this:

     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name,
     Oh, the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name,
     I can pick it up and shake it like Stavin’ Chain,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name.

     I had that girl, I had her in the grass,
     I had that bitch, had her in the grass,
     Yes, baby, I had that bitch, had her in the grass,
     One day she got scared and a snake ran up her big ass,
     Yes, I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name.

     I had that bitch, had her on the stump,
     I had that bitch, had her on the stump,
     I had that bitch and had her on the stump,
     I fucked her till her pussy stunk,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name.

     Nickel’s worth of beefsteak and a dime’s worth of lard, Lord, Lord, Lord,
     Nickel’s worth of beefsteak and a dime’s worth of lard,
     Yes, baby, nickel’s worth of beefsteak, dime’s worth of lard,
     I’m gonna salivate your pussy till my peter get hard,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my name.

Note: Circle jm-90 comprises a partial combination of AFS 1687-A and 1687-B. It contains Jelly Roll’s speech and the first verse only (from AFS 1687-A above) and the second verse, the hummed and vocalised third verse, the piano interlude and fourth verse only (from AFS 1687-B below).

Contains offensive language

Jelly Roll Morton

1687 B
(see footnote below)

a

1687 B

b

The Winding Boy

c

The Winding Boy
JRM
(concl’d)

d

THE WININ’ BOY II

e

Circle jm-90 (see note below)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: WININ’ BOY BLUES no. 3, [sic] (2) concluded

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Winin’ Boy Blues, continued

Winin’ Boy Blues [concluded]

     Every time the changin’ of the moon,
     Every time the changin’ of the moon,
     Yes, baby, every time the changin’ of the moon,
     The co . . . blood come rushin’ from the bitch’s womb,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my fuckin’ name.

     I want about ten bitches to myself,
     I want about ten sweet bitches to myself,
     I want about ten sweet bitches to myself,
     The one I like, I’m gonna keep her to myself,
     Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my fuckin’ name.

     Mmmm, hmmm,
     Oh, de da dee,
     Da da da da, da de da,
     Oh, da de dee,
     Mmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm,
     Oh, la de da,
     La la, la de de de,
     Mmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm, hmmm.


Piano interlude

     I’m a poor boy, I’m long ways from home,
     I’m a poor boy, long, long ways from home,
     Long ways, I’m a poor boy, from home,
     I’m gonna try to never roam alone,
     I’m the Windin’ Boy, don’t deny my fuckin’ name.

Note: Circle jm-90 comprises a partial combination of AFS 1687-A and 1687-B. It contains Jelly Roll’s speech and the first verse only (from AFS 1687-A) and the second verse, the hummed and vocalised third verse, the piano interlude and fourth verse only (from AFS 1687-B).

Note: On Circle jm-90 (AFS 1687-B) the underlined profanities in the last lines of the second and fourth verses are edited out.

Jelly Roll Morton

1688 B
(see footnote below)

a

1688 B

b

Boogie Woogie Blues — p
Albert Carroll Blues — p
Dialogue — sp

c

d

ALBERT CARROLL and BUDDY BERTRAND
THE CRAZY CHORD RAG

e

Circle jm-50

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: BOOGIE WOOGIE BLUES
Rounder CD 1094 as: ALBERT CARROLL’S TUNE
Rounder CD 1094 as: BUDDY BERTRAND’S BLUES no. 2

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Boogie Woogie Blues

Boogie Woogie Blues

Oh, pick it.
Do that thing, little old boy.
Yes, indeed.
Oh, my, that Texas feelin’.

Here’s the way Albert Carroll would play for the girls. He played that stuff, I’m tellin’ you. It sure sound good.

Albert Carroll’s Tune

Oh, play it, Mr. Carroll. He’s not good lookin’, but he sure was sweet.

Old Buddy used to play some blues of his own. Er, what is Buddy’s last name? I don’t remember his last name right now — Buddy Bertrand, that’s his name.

Buddy Bertrand’s Blues [begun]

Note:  Despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue number being listed (as shown above), there is strong aural evidence to suggest that Alan Lomax erroneously catalogued and labelled AFS 1688-A and AFS 1688-B in reverse. To ensure that both versions of Buddy Bertrand’s Blues, together with Jelly Roll’s narrative on Buddy Bertrand, play in the correct order, AFS 1688-B should be presented and performed before AFS 1688-A.

Note:  See also Peter Hanley’s in-depth “portrait” of Albert Carroll on the “Portraits from Jelly Roll’s New Orleans” page.

Jelly Roll Morton

1688 A
(see footnote below)

a

1688 A

b

Mamie Desmond’s [sic] Blues — v/p
June 12, 1938

c

I Stood on the Corner, My Feet Was Dripping Wet
June 12, 1938
learned from Mamie Desmond [sic]
an early type of blues

d

MAMIE DESDOUMES and MAMIE’S BLUES

e

Circle jm-49 (excerpt)

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: BUDDY BERTRAND’S BLUES no. 1
Rounder CD 1094 as: MAMIE’S BLUES (combined)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Buddy Bertrand’s Blues, continued / Mamies Blues

Buddy Bertrand’s Blues [concluded]

The girls was crazy about this little blues that Buddy Bertrand played in the Tenderloin District of New Orleans.

Here’s was among the first blues that I’ve ever heard, happened to be a woman, that lived next door to my godmother’s, in the Garden District. Her name was Mamie Desdoume. On her right hand she had her two middle fingers, between her forefingers, cut off, and she played with the three. So she played a, a blues like this, all day long, when she first would get up in the morning.

Mamie’s Blues

She used to sing it for us like this:

     I stood on the corner, my feet was dripping wet,
     Stood on the corner, my feet was dripping wet,
     I asked every man I met.

     Can’t give me a dollar, give me a lousy dime,
     If you can’t give me a dollar, give me a lousy dime,
     Just to feed that hungry man of mine.

     I got a husband, and I got a kid man too,
     I got a husband, I got a kid man too,
     My husband can’t do what my kid man can do.

     I like the way he cooks my cabbage for me,
     I like the way he cooks my cabbage for me,
     Looks like he sets my natural soul free.

Piano flourish

This is the way I played ‘em myself . . . the real blues . . . when they was made into tunes.

Note:  Despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue number being listed (as shown above), there is strong aural evidence to suggest that Alan Lomax erroneously catalogued and labelled AFS 1688-A and AFS 1688-B in reverse. To ensure that both versions of Buddy Bertrand’s Blues, together with Jelly Roll’s narrative on Buddy Bertrand, play in the correct order, AFS 1688-A should be presented and performed after AFS 1688-B.

Note: Jelly Roll mispronounces the name of Mamie Desdunes. On the recording above he refers to her as Mamie Desdoume.

Note: See also Peter Hanley’s in-depth “portrait” of Mamie Desdunes on the “Portraits from Jelly Roll’s New Orleans” page.

2487 A

a

2487 A

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p
December 14, 1938

c

d

THE MARCHING BANDS, Concluded

e

Circle jm-82 (excerpt)

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: When the Hot Stuff Came In

When did the hot stuff come in, Jelly?

Well, the hot stuff came in nineteen-two. And this . . .

Yeah, but, er, into the bands?

Well, they came in around nineteen-three. They, they came in immediately after the . . . after nineteen-two, this, er, the hot idea was arranged. Of course, they had another hot style before. It was, er, it would say, what you call ragtime. The kind that, er, you start to playin’ at a certain tempo, then you increase and you increase and you increase. You don’t do it deliberately, but you, you increase, due to the fact that there wasn’t a perfect tempo set for that, er, that kind of a music. And . . .

Yeah, but the tunes that you’d play in those bands, how would they go . . . [inaudible comments]

Well, for an instance they . . . er, they’d go like this. Er, “National Anthem,” see. For an instance, say:

     [vocalizes]

     Yum, dum.

. . . Who’d start it?

Well, er, here’s the way they’d start. Er, the drums begun:

     [vocalizes]

     Hrump, hrump, hrump, rump, rump.

Then the trumpet’d pick it up, you know, they’d be goin’ right along:

     [vocalizes]

     Hrump, rump.

Trumpet say:

     [vocalizes]

     Boo do.

And when they’d say that the drums’d say:

     [vocalizes]

     Hrump, rump, hrump, rump, rrrrrr — boom.

And then they’d start, see?

     [vocalizes]

     Yum, dum, duh, dum.  Dum, dum, dum, dum, dum, dum.

For an instance we’ll say, er, “Stars and Stripes Forever.” They’d play it on this style:

     [vocalizes]

     Dum-duh dad-da-duh dad-da-duh,
     Da-da-da da-da-da dad da-da dum,
     Dum da duh duh da duh duh,
     Dum dum dum dah dun da da da,
     Dum-dan da-da dah.

They’d pick up the next strain, and play it like this:

     [vocalizes and taps feet]

     Da-dad da daddle daddle da da-da da, bul da da da,
     Ba-doo doo da do-do do do-duh,
     Dad-da-dad dah, da-da dah,
     Dum da duddle duduh du-duh duh duh,
     Duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh,
     Buh du diddle uh duh duh duh diddle duh duh,
     Duh duh duh, duh,
     Do do do do doodle do dee doot dee diddle-dee, duh loodle do dee,
     Duh-duh dum-dum duh duh duh duh-duh duh, dum,
     Cum cuh-dum-da da-dum-bah,
     Dan-dah duh da la-da,
     Dum da-da-da-dum keet gum geet deedle-ee deedle-eedle dee dee deed dee-dee.

You see, they’d be going out then, see? Sometimes they’d start going out a half a strain. I’m telling you, it’d be a terrible hot. And everybody . . . the kids’d be jumpin’ up. And the boys’d — er, like the drummer — he’d be throwing his sticks up in the air and catching ‘em, throwing ‘em on the ground, and bouncing ‘em up there, as they’d walk, and catching ‘em. And he’d better not miss, because the whole bunch’d razz him. The bass drum player, he’d have his, his bass drum beater, just twirling it around the air. And the, the boys, usually, that played trombone — I used to do it myself — if they had a slur to make, they used to make these slurs:

     [imitates trombone]

     Ahrum, dum, dum, dum, dahrum.

See, and, er, you wouldn’t keep up with the music. You’d stop while the slur would be goin’ on and catch up later. You’d shove one foot out there and stop while the slur says:

     [imitates trombone slur]

     Ahumm.

And then walk. See? Oh, it was tremendous. And everybody would raise a lot of sand, and everybody seemed to like it very much.

Well, Jelly, er, how would they do the “National Anthem”? Do it just like you did a while ago.

Er, let me see.

As long as it takes.

How does . . . er, let me see — how the “National Anthem” go? I’ve forgotten how that goes now.

     [hums]

     Dum, dum, duh, dum, umm, mmm.

[Alan Lomax encourages Jelly Roll by humming and vocalizing a few notes] . . . da da

That’s it.

     [hums and vocalizes and taps feet]

     Duh-dum dum duh-dum dum,
     Dum duh-dum,
     Ah, duh-dum duh-dum,
     Dum duh-dum duh.


Don’t leave me.

     Dum, boom, dum dum dum dum dum dum dum,
     Dum, dum duh-dum,
     Dum dum dum, dum dum duh-dum,
     Awm, duh-dum duh-dum, dum duh-dum dum,
     Dum duh-dum.

     Dum duddle-uh dum dum,
     Dum duh-dud de-duh duh dum,
     Duh duh duh duh duh duh du luddle-uh de dum,
     Dum duh de duddle duh,
How does it go, sir?duh duh dum,
     Woo do loodle-oot doodle oo de doodle oodle oodle duh de,
     Duh dat doodle-oo,
     Dum, duh dum duh dum,
     Duh dum duh dum dum, dum duh dum,
     Ah, dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum,
     Duh duh dum,
     Dwee dluh dwee-doot dwee duh,
     Dum do doodle-oo dum dum,
     Duh duh duh, duh duh dum,
     Duh dweedle dweedle duh dee dweedle dee,
     Dee dee de-dweedle dwee dee,
     Dwee duddle-eet, dweedle dwee de-ee dwee,
     Dool eet dweedle duh de deet dee dul wee deet eet da deedle dweedle-ee do.

Then they’d start again with it . . .

     Hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump.

Drums . . .

[inaudible comments]

Here the way the drums’d be goin’:

     Hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump.
     Hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump,
     Hrump, hrump . . .

Leader’d say, “Look out, back there.”

     Hrump, hrump, hrump.

“Get set ‘cause were goin’.”

     Hrump, [laughs] hrump, hrump, hrump, hrump.

Leader’d pick up his horn and says:

     Duh duh.

     [imitates drum sounds]

     Hrump-hrump, hrump-tump, rrrrrr-boom.

And then they’d stop.

They used to play a number, er . . . that was kinda late, er, like, well, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” come in — they used to play that. Er, “National Anthem,” would naturally go with it.

     [Both Jelly Roll and Alan Lomax hum together . . . then Jelly Roll continues vocalizing]

     Drum, drum dum dum dum dum,
     Dum dum duh-dum,
     Dum duh dee duh, dum duh-duh.

It’s a bass solo.

     [vocalizes]

     Ah duh dum duh dum, yum duh duh dum dum duh duh.

Then they’d take it up.

     [vocalizes and taps feets]

     Duh dwee duh, dwee duh dud dee duddle dee duh,
     Do do do dee duh duh duh duh daloodle ood duh dee dee,
     Dwee da leedle eet duh-dee-duh-dul dee,
     Doodle do do do do-doodle dwee duh,
     Duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh, duh duh.

     [coughs]

Oh boy, I’d think about drinking that beer, I can’t help it.  Look like I’m drunk now. I’ll tell you . . .

     [coughs]

Whisky’s a swell thing.

[inaudible comments]

Yeah, they, they’d go . . . go to town that way, see.  There’s no gettin’ around that. And of course, they’d make all these places and . . .

Would people be dancing in the street behind the line?

In the streets. And they’d have sticks. And boy, the second line — the funny thing about the second line, they in front of the band. See, of course, er, the fact of it is, the band comes along right behind the aides. The aides is supposed to be the fellows on horsebacks. They’d spend plenty of money for those big streamers and sashes, is what they’d buy, to put on ‘em, in order to make them look better than the other fellow. So the grand marshal’s in front, and everybody’s on a horse is considered an aide, and the band is right behind ‘em. So that’s how that worked.

And, er, of course, the second line is in front of the grand marshal, but they call them the second line. They’re there to protect the parade and the people that’s in the parade, to fight the other foe off, whoever that foe may be, until they get to their boundary line where they meet a enemy. And where they meet the enemy, they stop right there. They wouldn’t cross the line. If they did it was a tremendous fight, terrible fight.

I’ve known one case where a fellow must have been cut at least a hundred times. I seen blood coming from him, just gushing, just the same out of one of the gushers out in Yellowstone National Park. I never seen such a thing. This fellow happened to be a Creole boy. I didn’t know him very well, but I, I, at least, I known of him. And, er, he never did stop fighting. He just kept on trying to run after this fellow that cut him. And I never seen a man in such shape in all my life.

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech/foot tapping/vocalizing and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1938 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note: Jelly Roll vocalizes the National Emblem rather than the National Anthem. At the time of this recording, the Star Spangled Banner was the officially recognized National Anthem.

2487 B

a

2487 B

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p

c

d

THE MARCHING BANDS, Part 1

e

Circle jm-79 (excerpt)

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The First Hot Arrangements

A fellow by the . . .

[recording paused]

When were the first . . . hot arrangements written, Jelly?

Well, the first hot arrangements . . . that ever was in existence — and I played most all the popular tunes throughout the country, including the marches — was about the year of nineteen-twelve, in St. Louis. After I, after I got out of, er, William McCabe’s minstrel show in nineteen-twelve, or early part, in January, I think. I finally was able pick up a little job. I first went to work at a club there. A fella by the name of George Reynolds was playin’ piano. At that time, I kinda figured I was a pretty good singer — which it was way out the way, but I figured it anyhow. And I had a way that I’d never play in any city until I heard all that was there play. The fact of it is, that I had been in St. Louis from time and time and again, but they had a new, er, a lot of newcomers, er, such as Walter Farrington, Bob Hamilton and, er . . . different fellas like that.

So I had taken a job as singing. And when I’d taken the job singing, I tried to correct George Reynolds, the pianist that was playin’ for me. Instead of him tryin’ to stand correction — he wasn’t, er, an able musician and he couldn’t read at all — he criticized me and demanded that I should play for my own self. I was a, a bit angry, so I told him that I could play for my own self and I would. After I played he become very much elated.

Then they had a lot of music around there — he couldn’t read it, but he just had it, I guess, to . . . for the singers to learn the words. And, Daddy White was one. That’s really the fact, that’s what they bought . . . They bought the music to learn the words and let somebody else play the tune — maybe Artie Matthews — then they would copy it. So Daddy White was there with me and another fella named Red — there wasn’t no women entertainers — and myself. And it seems to be George Reynolds’ main object to crush me, and I needed the job very bad and my intention was to stop him from tryin’ to crush me. So, after I played for a while, they brought the music around and I started playin’ the music, and then they start to try to test me ‘cause there was a bunch of new fellas that didn’t know me.

[inaudible comments]

Did I? Yeah, well, all right.

[inaudible comments]

So I finally got a job anyway, away from this place, out in, er, a section, a kind of a German section, and they wanted some more musicians. Well, there weren’t an awful lot of musicians to pick from, outside of the piano, the guitar and the mandolin, and drums. And the first hot arrangements were made right along that time. I picked up a clarinet out of a band — a brass band — and I picked up a trumpet out of a brass band, and made, er, fixed up the guitar and a mandolin, and myself and drums.

Were those hot men, Jelly?

No, they weren’t hot men.

They were Negroes, though?

Yeah, they were Negroes.

And did you write the arrangements for them that you wanted them to play?

Yes. They read music, most of ‘em.

And what did you write down, Jelly?

Er, well, I would write down any kind of a tune at all — any popular tune. I think there’s a tune out, er, “Cryin’ Just For You” around that time. And, er, it was one of the tunes — I don’t remember off-handed. But all the popular tunes, I knew ‘em. And, er, we, we even jazzed at that time “Ist Das dis das Schnitzelbach,” a German tune, because we had to play that a lot. And I made the arrangements for these things because they didn’t play ‘em to suit me, and I told ‘em if they played what I had down on the paper, they would be playin’ exactly as I wanted ‘em to play.

Well . . . where did you learn how to write arrangements for a band? You never played in any band.

Oh, sure. I been playin’ in bands all my life. My first instrument was a guitar. I played . . .

You didn’t know the trombone or the cornet or . . . ?

Oh, yes. I, er . . . My first instrument was the guitar. Er, then later I played drums. I played, er, what you call . . . at that time they call ‘em trap drums — that was one, one man beat two drums.

Yeah, but you didn’t play in any hot, hot bands?

Oh, yes, it was ragtime bands.

Where did they play?

Er, they played in New Orleans. A lot of times we played in parades. Most, er, of course, they’d have from two to eight and ten parades, on Sunday. I’ve never seen it so small that they did only had one. And the style we played, er, during that time was a little bit different. We didn’t have large bands. Anybody that got the job, of course he offered the, the services — that is, er, I’ll say he offered — I’ll say the job, to different people.

Well . . . how would this happen? I mean, a guy . . . somebody would tell you there was a parade. And what would happen, then?

Well, somebody’d say, “Okay.” They used to . . . They didn’t call me Jelly Roll then. They called me Winding Ball, see. Say, “Winding Ball, there’s a parade coming up in such and such a, er, a . . . club.” Er, “Such and such a club have this, this date. Now, if you want this, I can get it for you.” Well, of course, it would mean five dollars for the leader, and two-and-a-half or three dollars for the men. So by being a leader — in that case, anybody could be a leader, all you had to do was get the job. All I’d have to do was get the job and I’d get the men.

How would you go about getting the men?

Well, all I would tell ‘em, “A parade . . .”

Well, where did you go to find them?

Oh, we found them very easily.

Where’d you go?

Er, we’d go right in the Tenderloin District. Right up Twenty-Fives, or around, er, er . . .

You’d walk in the door, and what would you say?

Say, “Boys, I got a job — Sunday.” You’d always know in the last few minutes, anyhow. You’d never know in front. Because it wasn’t really an organized band. They wouldn’t hire those big organized bands. “Boys, I got a job. Er, you want it?”

— “What is it?”

— “Parade.”

— “When?”

— “Sunday.”

Everybody do, “Count me in. I’m in on it. I’m in on it.” They wasn’t in on it for the money so much, but they was on a, er . . . they was in on account of the drinks they could drink. Every time the parade would walk four or five blocks, why they’d stop and have a keg of beer, sandwiches and whisky, and all kinds of drinks. So that’s what they was really in on it, so they could get drunk and have a, er, a good time. Of course, they called it a ball. And of course, we had, er . . .

[inaudible comments]

Oh, they’d have plenty of fights. Did see plenty of fights. The boys’d have all kinds of fights, and throw rocks and broomsticks at one another, and they’d never try to hurt a musician. So it was fun for us to see a guy get beat up sometimes.

So, er, all we had in the band as a rule, would be composed of a bass horn, one trombone, one trumpet, an alto, and maybe a baritone, a clarinet, and, er, a bass drum and snare drum. About seven, eight pieces be all we’d have. And, brother, I’m tellin’ you, talkin’ about noise, you never heard no sixty-piece band could make as much noise as those few guys could make.

And what would you play?

Well, sometimes I’d be playin’ trombone. Sometimes I’d be playin’ bass drum. And very seldom I played snare drum because they had . . . we had a pretty tough guy around New Orleans, Joe White. He’d always be playin’ the snare drum, and he was a good snare drum player. So I’d always be playin’ one or the other. And, of course, every time we’d get a few blocks we’d have plenty to drink and so forth and so on. I didn’t care so much for the drinking part . . .

[inaudible comments]

No, I didn’t, er, but, er, I did like to see the boys the way they used to act, you know, beat up the horses and go to the . . . And get drunk and says, “I can pick up this horse and grab his front legs and hold him up,” and all that kind of a stuff. And, er, the girls’d be waitin’ for ‘em to pass their doors, and giving them a general . . . hurrah and everything like that.

Why, it was really a swell time. And we had plenty of fun, er, the kind of a fun I, I don’t think I’ve ever seen in any other place. Of course, there may be as nicer fun, but that particular kind — there was n-never that kind of fun anyplace, I think, on the face of the globe, but New Orleans. And we had that, er, every Sunday.

So we had mostly a job every Sunday. And sometimes the big leaders would get the job. Like Manuel Perez or Buddy Bolden or some of them fellas. When they’d turn out it would be a battle of music on the street. I’ll dare say that the first time a battle of music was ever waged was in New Orleans, in those parades.

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1938 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note: Jelly Roll refers to a pianist in St. Louis he calls George Randalls on AFS 1653-B [q.v.], but on AFS 2487-B (above) he calls him George Reynolds, his correct name. George Reynolds was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1888, and is recorded in both the 1910 and the 1920 U.S. Census as a resident of that city. His occupation is listed as a musician. He went to Chicago in the 1920s and recorded for Paramount Records in 1926 with a band led by Preston Jackson. He also recorded with Richard M. Jones’ Jazz Wizards in 1935. [PH 6]

Note: Bob Hamilton mentioned by Jelly Roll above, is very probably the ragtime pianist and composer Robert Hampton.

Note: The song is probably: Ist Das nicht ein Schnitzelbank. Jelly actually says: Ist Das dis das Schnitzelbach.

2488 A

a

2488 A

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p

c

d

e

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: The Pensacola Kid and the Cadillac Café

[inaudible comments]

[inaudible comments] . . . nineteen, er, in, er, in Los Angeles.

What were you doing?

Well, er, I went to Los Angeles playing the Cadillac. You want me to say when, when I went to Chicago? Nineteen-seventeen when I went to Chicago? Before the — Los Angeles in twenty-seven.

[inaudible comments]

All right, whenever you’re ready.

[begins strumming guitar]


In nineteen-seventeen I had just came back to Chicago for a short while. I played two or three spots. I wouldn’t take a cheap job.

[recording paused]

[strums guitar during interview]

In nineteen-seventeen I came back to Chicago . . . from a trip on the road. I had been foolin’ around, doin’ a lot of pool playing, just before the Pensacola Kid left for South America. He went to Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic. I even remember the address very well. His address was seven-four-seven, Tucuman Street, Hotel Stella, Buenos Aires, Argentine Republic, South America. Er, he went down there in order to try to beat all the pool players . . . at playin’ pool, which was no trouble because he had beat everything there was in America. He was a very shrewed pool player — beat everybody. But the of year of nineteen-seventeen he still didn’t have any money. I was quite prosperous.

[clears throat]

That was the year that Blankenship was the champion pool player of America. Blankenship came on the south side of Chicago and wanted to play anybody out there. And, er, it didn’t seem like anybody had much money, and Paul thought he could beat him — the Pensacola Kid. So him and I had been friends for years, and he said, “I can beat this guy.” I said, “He’s the champion of the world, you know.” You had to be good to beat the champion. “I know you’re good.” Of course I was good, too. So anyway, he wanted to play for two hundred. I had the money, but, I, I told him that fifty was enough, and I let him have the fifty dollars to play him.

Er, Blankenship was almost out. The Pensacola Kid needed eighteen balls, and he left them very, very hard against the cushion. It was right in the centre of the table, and they was playin’ line-up pool. He was lined up exactly with the front ball, and it’s kind of very hard for him to make his shot. So he made the, the last ball on the table. He played, er, what you call the cushion tang and made that ball.

By that time I was getting ready, thinkin’ about leaving Chicago. I didn’t like Chicago so much, they had an influx of a different class of people that was invadin’ Chicago at the time. So, just about that time, after being there a couple of months or a little more, a very prominent figure around Chicago by the name of Lovey Joe — Joe Woodson — he came to me and told me they had a job in Los Angeles that they particularly wanted me if they could get me. I didn’t even stop to ask him for salary, because I was so anxious to get away from Chicago. I told him, okay, I would take the job. And this job happened to be in Los Angeles, California, at the Cadillac Café.

They previously had a band playin’ there when I went to the Cadillac. This band was named the Black and Tan Band — that’s the name they had taken. They had no fame at all. It was a band consisting of four pieces.

Four?

Trumpet, trombone, drums and piano. But they didn’t have a regular piano player. They’d take up anybody who could half-way do it.

When I went to Los Angeles, it was taking the job away from these boys. And they also had a brass band to meet me at the station. I’m telling you it was a funny situation. I had a lot of clothes those days. But the funny thing, I took my . . . my chosen — was a blue suit to travel in. I went over the Santa Fe Road, it happened to be in the summertime, and my God, the dust was terrible. And this blue serge suit, by riding in the tourist car, the dust could get to me just as it seen fit. I was almost as dusty as a boll weevil. When I got to Los Angeles and, had to havin’ a big brass band to meet me at the station . . . When I got off with all that dust, immediately, the newcomers that didn’t know me wanted to know was that the hot Jelly Roll they was talking about? Said, “It’s the first thing this guy needs to do is go to the cleaners — he’s got a dirty suit of clothes on.” And it was a fact — it was terribly dirty. But it was a new suit, and it looked swell when I left Chicago.

Well anyway, I thought my trunk would be there that night, because I had to start to work that very night. But instead of my trunk comin’, it was delayed for three or four days and I had to wear the same suit. Then they was sure that I didn’t have anything at all. And I was under very, very tough criticism from beginning. I was very well up on the piano and a lot of the entertainers there knew me. We had about ten, I remember a few of ‘em. We had Albertine Pickens, and, er, had Ross, and Rucker — one of ‘em was a comedian, and one was a singer — had Bricktop. And, er, some of ‘em was from out there in California. So they thought it was very strange because I had been a very good dresser, to come there with only one suit of clothes. Of course, after my trunks got there . . . Well I like to turn the town out — thought I was one of the movie stars, I had so many clothes.

Well anyway, on my opening night, they had to have the police department to stop the crowd — I guess I was pretty well advertised. And things went on that way, er, for quite a while, and then the movie star trade started in. They heard about me, and we didn’t have anything but movie stars for I don’t know how long — so long as the place ran there. As long as I stayed there, until I got in a argument with Bricktop.

Er, Bricktop — I’ve known her since she was a kid. Born and raised in Chicago, er, much younger than myself, but she had learned the art of the average entertainer. That was when she got a big bill to switch it and put a small bill in its place. And I had my eyes on. In those days, I never looked at the keys and never turned around — I always looked at the entertainers. For every move they’d make, I had ‘em. Whether they was singin’ or whether they was stealin’, I had ‘em both ways.

So, er, Bricktop went south in her stocking with a ten dollar bill after we’d played quite a little while, and I’d seen her, and I demanded from the boss that she come up out of her stocking. The boss says, “Well, I’ll pay the ten dollar bill.” I said, “Don’t you pay it. I wanna make her come up with it.” I said, “You payin’ it will only encourage her to steal further.” And he didn’t want to do it.

So Bricktop, er, know, er, know Hegamin very well — Lucille Hegamin’s husband. The former was a blues singer for the Columbia records.
[clears throat]

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech/guitar and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1938 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note: Hotel Stella mentioned above by Jelly Roll, has been incorrectly transcribed by Alan Lomax (or the stenographer) as the Sala Hotel in Mister Jelly Roll. [MJR 159]

Note: Ricardo Manella and members of the Caoba Jazz Band recently searched Tucuman Street in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the Hotel Stella at number 747. Unfortunately, the hotel is no longer at this address. Ricardo spoke to several old-timers who still live in the area, and they remembered the Hotel Stella being in Tucuman Street in earlier times. [RM]

Note: Bricktop mentioned above by Jelly Roll, is Ada “Bricktop” Smith. In Mister Jelly Roll Alan Lomax refers to her as Bright Red. In view of what Jelly Roll says about Bricktop, he may have introduced the name of Bright Red in his book to avoid any litigation with Ada “Bricktop” Smith. [MJR 160-161]

2488 B

a

2488 B

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: L’IL LIZA JANE (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: At the Cadillac Café, Los Angeles

[strums guitar throughout interview]

Lucille Hegamin, as I stated, was a former Columbia star — that is, er, a blues singing star. And her husband was a very good pianist. He used to pinch hit for me lot of times in Chicago and I knew him very well.

So Bricktop, she didn’t like the idea that I’d checked up on her and caught her stealin’. So she decided to try to do a little undercover work. And she did a little undercover work. Had, er, sent for Hegamin. I believe, er, Hegamin was at that time in New York City. So, instead of Hegamin coming by his self, Lucille came along with him. I walked into the place like I used to do every day to, er, get my meals at the Cadillac, the place I was working. I walked in and seen somebody strolling across at the piano. It was a stranger. And I happened to glance around and I said, “Looks like Hegamin to me.”

I say, “Hegamin?”

He says, “Who’s callin’?”

Said, “Jelly Roll.”

He says, “Oh, gee, I’m glad to see you.”

— “I’m glad to see you too.”

He always knew, er, er . . . always thrown a lot of work in his way. So he was glad to see me, naturally.

So I said, “What’re you doing in here?”

He says, “I’m gonna work here . . . here.”

I said, “Where at?”

— “Right here where I’m playing the piano.”

I said, “You mean at the Cadillac?”

He said, “Yeah.”

I said, “You don’t mean you’re working here?”

He said, “Yes, I’m working here.”

I said, “That’s strange. I been working here all the time, and they didn’t tell me a thing about it.”

So I said, “All right, it’s okay, don’t worry about it.”

So he was very sorry to know that he came to take my job. Of course, I knew nothing about it. So, er, the boss happened to be there, Murray. And I asked him what kind of tricks he was pulling. So, he said, well, I was hard to get along with, not realising the fact that I was right and the party was wrong in stealing the money. And he just went and got somebody who was as good as me. I told him, okay, that I would close the joint in two weeks. Well, I, it might not have been two weeks, but it wasn’t any more than two weeks and a half it was really closed.

I went out to a little town called Watts, about nine or ten miles from Los Angeles. They had a lot of roadhouses those days — Baron Long’s, and many others I can’t think of. A coloured fellow had a place — by the name of George Brown — that wasn’t doing any good and, er, immediately, he accepted. But I told him that I didn’t want to open until he had, er, notified all of Hollywood that I’d be working out there.

Well, we had lot of invitations printed, and so forth and so on. And, er, my opening night there was nothing but Hollywood out there. That ended the Cadillac — they had to close. They just kept on going down and down and down, that they couldn’t stay open anymore because no money was taken.

By that time, Willie Tyler was playing the Pantages circuit — him and his wife — and, er, this great violinist. So Willie wanted to stay in Los Angeles. We had formerly worked together, we both had. So I gave Willie a job with my band. It was only seven pieces, and, er, I increased it to a violin, made eight. Since he was considered one of the finest violinists in the United States, I thought he would be a great asset to the band. Which he was, so far as his, his playing was sup, er, supposed to be, or was, rather.

Well anyway, after he had gone out there, he had, er, with me working, he had, er, had an idea he wanted to take the band away from me. He wanted to stay out there. So, er, he out-talked Mr. Brown, which I was working for, and taken the band over. Taken . . .

[inaudible comments]

Er, of course, he’d taken, er, wanted to take the band over and Mr. Brown give him the opportunity to take the band over. He told him he could produce a better band than me, which he had a very fine band. And again I found, er, that, er, Hegamin was the stumbling block in my way again. He took Hegamin on the piano, and that left me out without a job again.

By that time, the Cadillac was quite sure that I was the man. So Murray got in touch with me and told me if I would come back to the place, he would give me half interest in the place. So I went back takin’ the, the Black and Tan Band — forming this organization of four pieces — and run Brown’s out of gas. And run Brown’s out of gas. Took all the movie stars again, with four pieces and they had eight — which was considered the best band in town, no question about it. They, they must have had the men.

So Brown found he couldn’t do any business in Watts, so he decided to come in Los Angeles and try to get what they call the overflow trade. He moved a half a block from the Cadillac, on the corner of Sixth and Central. And we was in the middle of the, of the block of Central, between Fifth and Sixth, pretty close to the Southern Pacific Depot.

Well anyway, he came up there with this tremendous bunch. My brother-in-law was playing the drums for him at the time.

[inaudible comments]

Johnson, Dink Johnson.

Well anyway, they did fairly well for a little while, but all the trade drifted right back to the Cadillac. And we had the trade that everybody wanted to be around — the movie stars. So, er, pretty soon they start to cuttin’ off. At that time Wood Wilson was the boss of the band. It changed from, er, from the violinist to Wood Wilson, the bass player. So they start to cuttin’ off different pieces. They cut off the trombone, and later they cut off the violin, then they cut off the trumpet, they cut off the clarinet. It worked down to bass, piano, and drums.


[laughs]


That’s the combination they had, see?

[laughs]

[inaudible comments]

Er, I’ll tell you that in a second. Which was . . . So finally, Wood Wilson being the boss, er, he couldn’t fire the drum and just keep himself and the, and the piano there. So the boss let him go, and it worked down to drums and piano. And they finally let the drummer go, which is my brother-in-law, and they kept the piano, which was Hegamin. And they finally had to let him go and close the place up. I also told him the same thing that I told Murray, that I would close the place up.

Then the Cadillac was again in bloom, in first-class shape. The tunes we was playing out there — we couldn’t play the tunes like they could in New Orleans, because we didn’t have the ability, the same kind of ability, I would say, out there. So we had to play what we could. We played numbers like “The Russian Rag,” was quite popular, and, er, er, maybe, “Black and White,” “Grace and Beauty,” and “Maple Leaf Rag.” ‘Course they had some very good men and things like that there. They had some very good tunes.

[inaudible comments]

Er, they sang, er, a song, “Daddy Dear,” and, er, let’s see . . . Trouble of it, I can’t remember off-handed on account of the years are getting mixed up. Er, “When the Midnight Choo Choo Leave For Alabam’,” that was one of the things. Er, they seem like they’d hold a number a long time. They would sing a number maybe for a year or two — ‘I“m Crying Just For You.” “Melancholy Baby” was quite prominent, still, at that time.

[inaudible comments]

Er, nineteen-seventeen. That’s all in the year of nineteen-seventeen this happened. And, er, there’s a number they used to sing in Frisco. But we was down in Los Angeles at that time.

     [strums guitar and vocalizes beginning of Little Liza Jane]

     A-lum dum dum,
     De-dum dum dum,

     A-dum dum dum,
     De-dum dum dum,
     Fa la da.


Can’t remember the name of this thing.

     Dum dum dum,
     De-lum dum dum,
     Fa la la.

     Oh baby, fa la da.


Can’t even remember this dang thing.

     Ah, baby, da la da da dum.

It was a kinda little comedy song.  The whole coast went for it.

     Ah-da dum dum,
     Del-da dum dum,
     Aah da.
     Ah-da dum dum,
     De-lum dum da-dum dum-da da-da dum.

     Ah baby, mmm-mmm-mmm,
     Hmm hmm hmm-hmm, hmm-hmm hmm.

They used to sing that little number. I forgot the . . . What’s the name of that tune? And then they had a lot of other popular tunes that they used to sing. Of course, I brought all ‘em, er, most of the tunes myself, from Chicago. They didn’t have an awful lot of tunes to sing out there, but I brought a bunch of music with me and that started the people up. And the first thing I did, that I wrote, I wrote a tune called the “Cadillac Rag.” I’ve forgotten the tune now. It’s quite a hard tune and it’s played on the piano. And . . . and it was one of those things where the singers would sing it and all, [strums guitar] and I’d have a answer in it. And the “Cadillac Rag” got to be kind of pretty fair.

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech/vocal/guitar and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1938 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note:  Willie Tyler was William A. Tyler, an early orchestra leader and sometime concert violinist. In Mister Jelly Roll, Alan Lomax incorrectly refers to him as Willie Taylor. [MJR 161]  William A. Tyler, who was from Chicago, had an all-Negro orchestra in 1913 at the Lafayette Theatre, which was at 131st Street and Seventh Avenue in New York, and recorded with W.C. Handy’s Orchestra of Memphis on Columbia Records in 1917. He married a light-skinned dancer on the theatrical circuit by the name of Marion Gant (1896-1982) who appeared in the chorus of Keep Shufflin’ — produced in 1928, book by Andy Razaf with music by Fats Waller and James P. Johnson — the last Broadway show financed by the New York gang overlord, Arnold Rothstein. Travelling to Europe in the late 1920s, Tyler played violin with Benny Peyton’s Blue Ribbon Orchestra in Paris. Marion and Tyler were subsequently divorced, and she embarked on a career as a secretary in the business world.  In 1945, Marion Gant Tyler married a professional musician, later a dubious centenarian, by the name of James Hubert Blake. [PH 7]

2489 A
(see footnote below)

a

2489 A

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p

c

d

e

f

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: Little Liza Jane, continued / On the West Coast

Sing it at . . .

     Oh, Liza, little Liza Jane,
     A do-do-do do deedle la-da-la,
     Little Liza Jane,
     A dum dum dum dum da-da-dum,
     Little Liza Jane.

Er, well, of course, I’d seen my brother-in-law, and [strums guitar throughout interview] Bill Johnson was out there. Er, Dink was out there, he stayed out. He was crazy about California, so he wouldn’t . . . he wouldn’t leave Los Angeles at all. I would constantly ask him where Anita was, and he wouldn’t never tell me. So, er, finally I run upon the old lady — I, I found where the old lady was stayin’ — her mother. And she says, “Oh my, how Anita would like to see you.” And she got me in touch with Anita.

At that time Anita was down in Nevada. She had bought a saloon business in a little town called Las Vegas, Nevada. The place was named The Arcade. And she had made a lot of money down there — plenty of money, in the saloon business.

So anyway, somehow or another, her mother notified I was in Los Angeles, and she got in touch with me. She came up to Los Angeles to see me, and we went back together. And she decided then to let the saloon go, unless I wanted to come down there. I went down there, and it was too doggone cold in the sum . . . in the winter, and it’s too hot in the summer. The fact of it was I’d rather be around those palm trees, myself, in Los Angeles.

So Dink went down — the brother, her brother, rather. And when he came back he was able to buy a McFarlan automobile, and they was plenty high, those days. So anyway, Anita decided to stay in Los Angeles, so she went into a small hotel business. She bought a hotel on, on the corner of, er, Central near Twelfth, in Los Angeles, and named it The Anita.

Er, by that time, I had several little businesses branching out myself, again. I was connected with a dance hall, but the dance halls, you, you could only run till twelve o’clock. And I decided, if I went out in Watts County, the same section where I had worked for George Brown, I would, I would be able to, er, run a night spot all night long, which I did. They had a place called Leak’s Lake. And, er, that’s the place I had taken, and named it, er, Wayside Park. I had a partner out there with me. His name was Woodward. He was a trombonist. That’s the, the place that King Oliver made such fame in the Pacific Coast in.

So we went along, and we made a lot of money, together. Money was no object — I had plenty of clothes, plenty of diamonds. I also become in possession of a ni . . . of a club, a gambling club, next door, er, to the hotel, which was on the corner, right across from Watson Burns’. Watson Burns was considered at that time one of the greatest billiard players in the world. We had become to be very personal friends. And there was a lot of money made in this gambling place.

I had a fellow runnin’ the place for me from New Orleans that I had a lot of confidence in. He was the first fella that played the part of Tarzan in the moving picture — a great big black fella, standing almost seven feet high. And he must weigh at least three-hundred pounds, all solid meat.

What was his name?

Eh?

What was his name?

His name was Zack Williams. I trusted Zack to run the dice game for me. And, er, of course, Zack was looking out for Zack. He made a lot of money, but, still in all, he always wanted some more money. And I ran the club along and it did pretty good. Until once I’d taken a trip to Frisco on the train, and I had a two-thousand dollar bankroll down there that was for him to mostly use for change, and occasionally, call a bet when nobody else would call the bet in order to keep the game goin’. Everything was trusted up to his honesty, which I found it shouldn’t have been because he wasn’t trustworthy.

As the wire reached me before I was to Fresno — going towards Frisco — that the bankroll was lost. And I know who it was lost to. It was lost to a fella that he palled around with, named Slick.

So when I came back, I just got rid of the club. And that left Zack out in the cold because he’d lost his movie job. He was such a big star that he would go, go to work anytime he got ready. So we went along and made a lot of money. Zack was a very expensive help to me. Every mornin’ he demanded a steak that would cost a dollar and a . . . dollar and a quarter, raw. They had a market right under our place — the hotel.

Why did you stick with this guy then, Jelly?

I couldn’t stick with him because he’s stealin’ my money. He’s . . .

So why did you stick with him at all?

Well, I didn’t know that at all. I didn’t know that he was a . . . he was so crooked. I was trusting everything to his honesty since he, he was a home boy. And I had always known him, well, maybe to be straight — but maybe I didn’t know how crooked he was. So Zack was a . . . was a tough man to get along with, ‘cause he had those dollar and a quarter steaks and I didn’t care so much for steak, especially those big ones like he did. And my wife used to cook ‘em for him. Every mornin’ when he’d come to work he had that steak.

But we had a lot of money and money was no object. In fact I used to keep er, a top tray full of bales of bills. Sometimes they were ones and twos, and fives, and sometimes tens. But they’d be in bales. Once I told a fellow that I had a trunk of money, and I brought him in the hotel to show him, and I just opened the top tray, and he was so excited to see the top tray full of bills, he just decided the trunk was full.

Well, how were you and Anita getting along at that time?

Oh, we was getting along swell. It’s a day that I don’t like to bring back, because I never realized how happy I was until after I, I left her. There was nothing under the sun that I ever wanted that I didn’t get during that time, but two things. And those two things, and one of them was a yacht, and the other was a cow.

A what?

A cow. I never did have a cow. I wanted that, see, and I wanted a yacht. But after I looked up the prices for yachts, I said, well, I couldn’t handle a yacht. And the expense, the upkeep was tremendous, so I couldn’t think of that. But outside of that everything was swell. We finally moved around the corner to Twelfth and Central to Pico Street. We had a, a private apartment there because her mother didn’t care for the hotel so much, so we all . . . I always lived with her, her and her mother. It was the group, because she personally looked out for her mother in spite of the fact that she had seven other brothers. But they always depended on her to look out for mother — and which it was always done in fine style.

Anita had about three or four fur coats, all the time. The reason I say three or four, because sometimes the old lady would take one — I mean her mother. So, er, if she had four, she’d have three left. And, er, of course, there’s nothing too good for the old lady, and she realized it. And she would sometimes pick her best apparels to ask for — and she got ‘em. Er, Anita loved her mother very much, and I thought an awful lot of the old lady myself, for a very long time.

Was Anita as devoted to you as she was to her mother?

[comments from an unidentified speaker]

She was devoted to me, more so than she was to her mother. If I told her to do something, she realized I was her husband and she respected me, as a husband — as few women today respect their husbands. Aside from that, Anita was a very beautiful woman, very beautiful woman. And she dressed very handsomely, and plenty diamonds to elaborate the conditions, generally. She’d listen to everything that I said do. I couldn’t wish for a finer woman than Anita. Personally, I don’t believe there ever was one born any finer than Anita. And I think that I have missed an awful lot by leaving her. Of course it was all a mistake, but nevertheless it happened.

So finally, I was doing such good business, that a fellow by the name of George Brown that was in the club — the gambling club. And having the, the roadhouse outside of town, and in town, I had the dance hall, that couldn’t run any later than twelve o’clock. And he was a big politician. So he said to me one day — er, with a fellow by the name of, er, Pops. Pops was a partner of mine in, in the dance hall business — he says, “You put up six hundred, I’ll put up six hundred, and let Jelly put up six hundred, and we’ll control this campaign, and we’ll run this town, to suit ourselves.” I said, well, I wasn’t so interested in running a town, all I was trying to do was make some money.

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech/vocal/guitar and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1938 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note:  AFS 2489-A (above) and AFS 2489-B (below) are labelled in reverse, so that side A plays side B and vice versa.

Note: The McFarlan Motor Car Co. of Connersville, Indiana, were manufacturers of high-class automobiles from 1910-28. Top of the range McFarlan models were among the most expensive American automobiles ever built.

Note: The African-American movie actor Zack Williams (1884-1958) was one of the pioneers in the organization of the Screen Actors Guild. He appeared in twenty-six movies during the years 1920-1948. He is probably best remembered for his portrayal of Elijah, one of the Tara plantation field hands, in Gone With The Wind (1939). Among his many other screen appearances were roles in The Yankee Clipper (1927) with William Boyd; Kid Millions (1934) with Eddie Cantor, Ethel Merman and Lucille Ball, and Professor Creeps (1942) with Flournoy E. Miller and Mantan Moreland. [MG 1]

Note: See also Millie Gaddini’s essay of Zack Williams accompanied by his WWI Draft Registration Card.

2489 B
(see footnote below)

a

2489 B

b

New Orleans Street Bands — v/p

c

d

e

f

Rounder CD 1094 as: TRICKS AIN’T WALKIN’ NO MORE (excerpt)

g

Rounder CD 1888 as: In the Publishing Business

Jelly Roll, when you were in Los Angeles in, er, nineteen twenty-nine, you started in a publishing business with the Spikes brothers.

Not nineteen twenty-nine.

Nineteen twenty-one.

Er, yeah, about nineteen twenty-one, twenty.

And, er, what was the first tune you all published?

Er, “Someday Sweetheart.”

Tell us about the history of that tune.

Er, “Someday Sweetheart” was a tune that a old racetruck, er, racetrack man, friend of mine — Kid North — he only could play one tune. And he told me that I could have the tune since he found that I was a writer of music and we had been friends then for quite a while.

He was the former trainer of Joe Gans, the old champion from Baltimore. Then he had been in the racetrack business for a long time. The title of the tune that he wanted to give to me, which a part of it was taking for “Someday Sweetheart.” The title was named “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More.” All right?

It went somethin’ like this. I don’t remember the words. ‘Course when I . . . I can’t sing anyhow. But I always have to clear my voice.


[clears throat]

Whisky’s a swell thing.

     Tricks ain’t walkin’ no more,
     Tricks ain’t walkin’ no more,
     Every time I see that woman,
     She meets me,
     I’m gonna tell you,
     She’s got that lovely fee.

     But tricks ain’t walkin’ no more,
     Why, they’re passing right by that whore,
     I’ve never — they seen things so bad before,
     ‘Cause tricks ain’t walkin’ no more, I’ll tell you,
     Tricks ain’t walkin’ no more.

     Ah, da, da, la,
     Da, da, da.

That’s the verse.

     Oh, I want you to be mine,
     If you’ll come with me,
     And be with me,
     I’ll love you all the time,
     So won’t you be mine?
     I’m gonna take you to grind.

     Just then, her man would come,
     And I would run,
     That would be the end for me,
     ‘Cause tricks ain’t walkin’ no more,
     Oh, tricks ain’t walkin’ no more.

     Every time you see a man comin’ down the street,
     He won’t stop, he’ll pass her door, babe,
     A’ tricks ain’t walkin’ no more,
     She can’t get a dime, that poor whore,
     I never seen things so tight before,
     Because tricks ain’t walkin’ no more — I mean it,
     ‘Cause tricks ain’t walkin’ no more, babe.

That was, er, that was the thing, er, that Kid North used to do. He played a little piano and he had a, he had a kind of a little house there. He’s single fellow and he kept this house mostly to lure the girls, until he got married to, er, a beautiful girl named Helen. He particularly named this place The Lion’s Jaw. Says he, “Anytime I catch ‘em, boy they . . . they . . . when they go into The Lion’s Jaw, they’re clinched.” Says, “I never let ‘em get away.” He’s a funny sort of a guy. He always made a lot of money. And he’s a very swell dresser, and very tight across the chest. He wouldn’t give a dollar and a half for a diamond as big as anybody’s head. That was one of his words that he would say all the time.

I thought he was a swell guy. He finally went with Kid North, I mean, er, with Bob Rowe. And he coupled up with him in the racetrack business. He never spent a dime on those horses. It was all Bob Rowe’s horses, but Bob always wanted somebody to be with him, because Bob was kind of sickly. And of course, Kid had the big front as the owner. At one time, Bob had a very fine racehorse that really made him. The fact of it is he was a dead horse when Bob bought him — I think he paid about three-hundred dollars for him — a horse, Coffield. Made an awful lot of money for him.

But, anyhow, Kid was a smart fellow. And, er, I’ll say that he’s very much instrumental in some parts of the tune “Someday Sweetheart.” And I was the one that used to play the tune around. Of course, my name doesn’t appear on the tune, and I’m not jealous about it — I hope the boys’d write ten million other ones like that. But as since it happens to be a thing of . . . like the Archives, that you’re supposed to give facts. I think the facts is something that really should come out.

What happened to . . . after you began to play this “Tricks Ain’t Walking No More?”

Well, they, er, they wrote up the tune together and called it — [inaudible comments] — yeah, and called it “Someday Sweetheart.” And they left my name off of it, which I was really the cause of the tune anyhow. Er, this tune was practically wrote in Los Angeles and Frisco. At the time Reb and I was working for the mayor’s son in Oakland, in a cabaret there on the main street. Er, that was after I broke up my place in San Francisco, er, which is around the early part of nineteen-nineteen — er, nineteen-eighteen, rather. Er, so the tune came out and was quite famous. In fact, I helped to make the tune famous myself. Er, later, the “Wolverine Blues” was supposed to be published. The fact of it is, I never seen a public . . . publication on it from the Spikes, Morton and Spikes Music Company. But I noticed this, when the Melrose taken it over, that Spikes’s name appeared as Spikes, Morton and Spikes on ‘Wolverine Blues’. They wrote a few of the words — that’s all they did write of it. I demanded that this tune be changed over, under my name from the Melrose Music Company.

Well, Jelly, where’d you get your idea for the Mel . . . for the “Wolverine Blues?” I remember you told me, for the, for the “Jelly Roll Blues”, you got your idea from some, some things you heard — Yeah. — and put together . . . Where’d you get your idea for “Wolverine Blues?”

Er, well, I got the idea for “Wolverine Blues” . . . I first wrote the “Wolverine Blues” in the city of Detroit, Michigan.

I remember you told me that. But what about the idea for the tune. Now where does the tune come from?

You mean the music, the melody? I don’t know. It’s one of those things just roamin’ around in my head. Sometimes I, I just start, and get at the piano and say, I think I’ll write a tune, and something’ll just bob up in my head, and I, out it comes on my fingers. That’s just about how the idea came. Although I tried to use, er, a trumpet strain, which was the first strain. Er, you may be able to remember one of these new tunes that come out now at, er . . . It’s, er, I think it’s “The Rhythm” . . . not the “Rhythm is Jumpin’” — “Flat Foot Floogie” or the other one. What’s that other tune? Er, er, one of them has got part of the “Wolverine Blues” in it.

[inaudible comments]

     a-daddle-la-da, da-da-dam, a-daddle-la deh-da, da-da-dam.

Where did . . . where did you remember that trumpet strain from?

Well, I just wanted to make that as a trumpet strain. I didn’t have that as a trumpet strain. I just thought I’d make that for the trumpet strain. And the next strain, I made it for a trombone strain.

Mmm.

And, er, and, er, of course, I played the trio. Then what you call a harmony strain, and then I made a clarinet strain in there. And it proven very effective. And, of course, the last strain I, I planned to put all the instruments together in order to make, er, make the piano sound like a band as much as possible. Then I, I . . . of course, I blasted away on the last strain, which was . . . we’d call a triple forté. Of course jazz — when you’re playin’ jazz piano — it must sound like a band. If you don’t make it sound like a band, you’re not playin’ no jazz piano. And that was the idea for it.

Note: Nowhere on these final recordings does Jelly Roll play piano, despite the Library of Congress AFS accession catalogue cards showing otherwise. On the above recording there is: Jelly Roll Morton: speech/vocal and Alan Lomax with unidentified other(s): speech.

Note: All of the final December 14, 1928 recordings are 10-inch double-sided lacquer covered aluminum discs and were recorded at 33.1/3 r.p.m. Alan Lomax possibly used a different recording machine and microphone and maybe at a different location, given that several months had passed by since the previous session of June 12, 1938. [DS 1]

Note: AFS 2489-A and AFS 2489-B are labelled in reverse, so that side A plays side B and vice versa.

Note: The African-American professional boxer Joe Gans was born in Baltimore, Maryland on 25th November 1874. Joseph Gaines (his name at birth) was a legend in the sport. He won the world lightweight title by knocking out Frank Erne in one round at Fort Erie, Ontario, on 12th May 1902. He died in Baltimore on 10th August 1910.

© 2004 Monrovia Sound Studio

LEGEND

a   Library of Congress AFS (Archive of Folk Song) accession catalogue number.

b   Library of Congress AFS (Archive of Folk Song) title and date of recording (where known).

c   Library of Congress AFS (Archive of Folk Song) dust jacket comments (where known).

d   Circle 78 r.p.m. disc title.

e   Circle 78 r.p.m. disc number.

  Rounder 4 Volume CD set number and title.

g   Rounder complete Library of Congress recordings CD number and title.

  Library of Congress AFS (Archive of Folk Song) numbers are presented in strict numerical
         order, unless otherwise noted.

  Jelly Roll’s speech is shown in black typeface.

  Jelly Roll’s piano performances are shown in blue typeface.

  Jelly Roll’s singing and vocalizing is shown in purple italic typeface.

  Alan Lomax’s speech is shown in red typeface.

  Stenographer’s speech is shown in green typeface.

Note: Occasionally Alan Lomax invited guests along to the Library of Congress to witness the recording sessions. On several of the recordings other individuals can be heard talking in the background. These unidentified people may possibly be Sidney Martin, Charles Edward Smith (both record collectors), Roy J. Carew and the BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke.

REFERENCES

MJR

Mister Jelly Roll — Alan Lomax, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York, 1950. Page references are to the University of California Press 4th edition 2001, (Soft Cover) 344 pp.

MJL

Mr. Jelly Lord — Laurie Wright, Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1980, 256 pp.

LOC

Library of Congress Recordings — Circle 78 r.p.m. Recordings, jm-1 - jm-90.

RNR

Rounder Records — Rounder 1091 — 1092 — 1093 — 1094 — 1888 — 1897 and 1898.

D

Sweet Papa Jelly Roll — “Ten Year History of Morton’s Library of Congress Recordings” by Orrin Keepnews, Record Changer, February 1948, pp. 6-7.

HNOC

The Historic New Orleans Collection — The Historic New Orleans Collection, 533 Royal Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

MG 1

Millie Gaddini - Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 5th December 2003.

MG 2

Millie Gaddini — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 30th August 2005.

BG 1

Brian Goggin — Letter to Mike Meddings, 18th September 2005, with information from Tell Your Story: A Dictionary of Jazz and Blues Recordings, 1917-1950 by Eric Townley, page 385. Storyville Publications, Chigwell, Essex, 1976.

PH 1

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 12th April 2003.

PH 2

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 19th May 2003.

PH 3

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 28th August 2003.

PH 4

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 28th August 2003.

PH 5

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 3rd September 2003.

PH 6

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 26th November 2003.

PH 7

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 1st January 2004.

PH 8

Peter Hanley — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 4th September 2005.

RM

Ricardo Mannella — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 23rd December 2003.

RR 1

Roger Richard — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 23rd March 2003.

RR 2

Roger Richard — Letter and information to Mike Meddings, 27th August 2003.

DS 1

David Sager — Letter to Mike Meddings, with information from Mike Donaldson, 24th November 2003.

PVV 1

Paige van Vorst — Letter and photograph of Sammie Russell to Mike Meddings, 8th October 2003.

KUDOS


Michael Bowen (UK)
Mark Cave (USA)
Mark Couture (USA)
John H. Cowley (UK)
Prof. James Dapogny (USA)
Ate van Delden (Netherlands)
Mike Donaldson (USA)
Bill Edwards (USA)
Don Fleming (USA)
Millie Gaddini (USA)
Brian Goggin (Eire)
Alan C. Graves (USA)
Prof. Lawrence Gushee (USA)
Peter Hanley (Australia)
Michael Hill (Australia)


Alan Lomax (USA)
Ricardo Mannella (Argentina)
Mike Meddings (UK)
Bill Nowlin Ph.D. (USA)
Jim O’Neal (USA)
Robin Penna (UK)
Mark Plotkin (USA)
Roger Richard (France)
David Sager (USA)
Susan and Felton Suthon (USA)
John F. Szwed (USA)
Eric Townley (UK)
Paige van Vorst (USA)
Prof. Alan Wallace (USA)
Laurie Wright (UK)

Return to Main Morton Page Back to Top Forward to Library of Congress Recordings

Home Page

Jelly Roll Morton J. Lawrence Cook Frank Melrose
Roy J. Carew Anita Gonzales and Bob Kirstein Radio Broadcast Max Kortlander An Essay in Genealogy
International Researchers Jelly Roll Morton and Alan Lomax Library of Congress Narrative MIDI Files Recommended Listening
WWI Draft Registration Cards and Essays Jelly Roll Morton Iconography Library Photograph Gallery Document Archives
Recently Updated Articles Jelly Roll Morton Recordings and Discography Jelly Roll Morton Posthumous Articles Directory of Related Links


© 1999—2014 Monrovia Sound Studio