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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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hall. The police would be unable to pick me up for vagrancy, because I had me a residence in that town with a loving babe that really liked the way I could play piano.
One of my instructors at the pool table was a very black gentleman, named Lily White, whom I later wished I had never met. We started out from Biloxi together and he con­vinced me that there wasn't any use to pay train fare; we could ride the train free. I tore both the knees out of my trousers taking my first free ride, but the next one I made successfully. It was a deadhead, an empty mail car. When we reached our destination and got off, Lily White heard someone coming and said, "Look out, let's run/' which I refused to do. Up came a guy with two big pistols and carried us on down to the jail. They claimed we had robbed a mail train, and, when we proved out of that, they gave us a hundred days on the county gang for carrying weapons. It seems that Lily White had a big razor up his sleeve.
When the inmates on the gang saw us, they hollered "New meat in the market!" Then they jumped on us and took our money and cigarettes. I didn't have but one thing in mind-how to get out of there the quickest way I could. It was said that whenever anybody got a hundred days on the gang, they wasn't no more good ever afterwards. I knew if I didn't get out of there, I would ruin my hands and never be able to play again. So I got some money from the outside and bought food for everybody and that way I made plenty friends. Then I watched my chance. We used to travel about eighteen miles from camp to where we worked on the road. I studied the route and picked me a piece of woods where I figured I could lose myself. Then, one afternoon about dusk, I fell over the side of that wagon and started running.
They had a system there of sending a prisoner to catch a prisoner and the one who did the catching got a lot of good time added to his record. The man they sent after me could really run, but I managed to keep ahead until we neither one of us could run no more—I guess it was some miles I kept in