Jelly Roll Morton, Inventor Of Jazz, Online Book by Alan Lomax

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Really Tremendous Sports
the old Indians did in years gone by and so they lived true to the traditions of the Indian style. They went armed with fic­titious spears and tommyhawks and so forth and their main object was to make their enemy bow. They would send their spy-boys two blocks on ahead—I happened to be a spy-boy myself once so I know how this went—and when a spy-boy would meet another spy from an enemy tribe he'd point his finger to the ground and say, "Bow-wow." And if they wouldn't bow, the spy-boy would use the Indian call, "Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo," that was calling the tribes—and, many a time, in these Indian things, there would be a killing and next day there would be somebody in the morgue.
In New Orleans we would often wonder where a dead per­son was located. At any time we heard somebody was dead we knew we had plenty good food that night. Those days I be­longed to a quartet and we specialized in spirituals for the pur­pose of finding somebody that was dead, because the minute we'd walk in, we'd be right in the kitchen where the food was— plenty ham sandwiches and cheese sandwiches slabbered all over with mustard, and plenty whiskey and plenty of beer. Ol •course, the dead man would always be laid out in the front and he'd be by himself most of the time and couldn't hear nothing we would be saying at all. He was dead and there was no reason for him to be with us living people. And very often the lady of the house would be back there with us having a good time, too, because she would be glad he was gone.
Then we would stand up and begin—
Nearer my God to thee very slow and with beautiful harmony, thinking about that ham—
Nearer to thee plenty of whiskey in 'the flask and all kinds of crazy ideas in the harmony which made it impossible for anybody to jump in and sing. We'd be sad, too, terribly sad.