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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Money in the Tenderloin
two hundred and ten pounds. So the suit was tried and did not fit me anywhere. All the kids had holiday clothes but me. I was so peeved at my uncle and his wife that 1 tried to kill their cat, Bricktop.
The older generations were passing away and friends were vanishing. The estate was being mortgaged and grandfather was losing his liquor business. My favorite horse, Tom, died during a very drastic September electric storm, and things were generally going bad.
I had heard of some boys getting jobs in the cooperage, lin­ing barrels, making not less than two dollars a week, more than I had ever made working. (Lining is the small strip nailed around the head of a sugar barrel to make it secure—two strips to each head—five cents to each strip.) School closed. I went to the Brooklyn Cooperage Company, was hired and, positively green to the job, made three dollars the first week. My heart was jumping with joy. I could see success by my own hands. I finally got to be one of the best in the shop and was promoted to higher departments to learn the trade of cooper.
By this time I was considered one of the best junior pianists in the whole city. Everywhere I went I was accepted as a king. I was always dressed well by my folks, but I, myself, wanted to dress myself. Of course, my father wanted me to be a hard­working boy in the brick-laying trade, like he was. He was a contractor, bricklayer, making large buildings and so forth and so on. He offered to pay me two dollars a day as a foreman, but I decided, after I learned to play music, I could break more money playing piano in the tenderloin district.
This is the story of how I got my first job in music . . , I had leave to stay out at night on Saturday and Sunday till 11 p.m., so when some boys enticed me to go to the tenderloin district, I finally accepted the invitation. I liked the freedom of stand­ing at a saloon bar, passing along the streets crowded with men of all nationalities and descriptions. There were women stand­ing in their cribs with their chippies on—a crib is a room about