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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Game Kid and Buddy Carter played around honkey-tonks like Kaisers and the Red Onion and Spano's. Ill tell you the fact, I don't think some of those places were swept up in months. Gambling went on night and day among a lot of rough people who made it dangerous for anyone that would go in there that didn't know what it was all about. Sometimes they'd have good-looking women of all kinds. Some was very, very ugly. Some had lips looked like bumpers on a box car.
I'm telling you they had all kinds of men—some wearing rags that looked like ribbons, some with big guns in their bosoms, and many times you would see St. Charles millionaires right in those honkey-tonks. Called themselves slumming, I guess, but they was there just the same, nudging elbows with all the big bums—the longshoremen and the illiterate screwmens from down on the river.
You see, there wasn't no certain neighborhood for nobody to live in in New Orleans, only for the St. Charles Avenue millionaires' district, and that's why anybody could go axty place they wanted to. So in those days in honkey-tonks the St. Charles millionaires would bump up against the fellows that was on the levee, some of whom didn't bathe more than once in six months and, 111 go so far as to say, were even lousy. They would reach up in their collars, when they saw anyone that was dressed up, get one of these educated louses and throw it on that person when his back was turned. Then maybe a St. Charles Avenue millionaire would be in the same situa­tion they were—lousy—and didn't know how they got to be that way. It was a funny situation. And away in the dark there would always be an old broke-down piano and some­body playing the blues and singing something like this . . .
I'm a levee man, Tm a levee man, Ym a levee man, Tm a levee man.