Monday, April 06, 2009

Mr. Bojangles

Jonathan made me crazy on the trip to Parris Island, singing the two words "Mister Bojangles" whenever he saw a sign for the restaurant chain. About two dozen times, just those two words. He said he didn't know there was a whole song, but he got the cadence right, so it must have stuck in there from somewhere.

Yeah Jon-o, it's a real song, written by Jerry Jeff Walker, but most familiar in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band version.

There was a real Bojangles, Bill Robinson - but not pathetic, as in the song. He was a big name tap dancer in the movies. Watch and listen to him use both the treads and the risers on these stairs. Still, the song convincingly evokes the many itinerant black hoofers of a bygone era.

The news story about his funeral gives some idea how well-known the real Mr. Bojangles was.


Anonymous said...

According to wikipedia, Walker apparently has said the song was about guy in New Orleans nicknamed Mr. Bojangles rather than Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.

feeblemind said...

Jerry Jeff Walker was a favorite of mine beginning in college back in the mid 70s. I must have at least 6 of his albums. I am always surprised when someone remembers him.

Anonymous said...

mr bojangles is not about bill robinson. jerry jeff tells the story about an old white man nicknamed "bojangles" he met in jail, in jerry jeffs autobiography
"gypsie songwriter"

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