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Jack the Bear
put more of them in jail than anybody else, because they don t want to work."
I said, "Did you say leave town?"
He said, "Yes.*'
I said, "Well, that will be my next move, because i don t intend to do anything but play music."
There was a boat leaving for Memphis very shortly. 1 be�lieve the boat's name was the Natchez and it was no doubt the best boat on the river. Man, they had roustabouts on that boat they beat with whips to make them move up faster. They bring down the whip and those boys would holler, "Yes, Cap n-boss, we comin up with it* Those guys believed it was still in slavery times.
We got into Memphis, all right, which Jack was supposed to know all about. He wras spins; to take me around and intro-duce me to the different personnels of Memphis. But the big, lying dog�I found out he hadn't ever been to Memphis before. So, anyhow, after I was in Memphis, safe and sound, on the shores of Memphis, Tennessee, I decided to go to this Beale Street I had heard a lot of talk about. I first inquired was there any piano players in the city and they told me that absolutely the best in the whole state of Tennessee was there. I asked them had they heard about Tony Jackson, Alfred Carroll, Albert Wilson, or Winding Boy, and they said they had never heard of them guys. "Them guys wouldn't be able to play with this fellow, Benny Frenchy, the best in the whole state." Well, that kind of frightened me and I wouldn't even try to touch a piano until I could hear Benny Frenchy.
This guy, Benny Frenchy, was playing in a place on Beale Street, near Fourth. Nothing went into that place but pimps, robbers, gamblers, and whores� (it's really a shame to think of some of those environments I drifted into)�which it was run by a white fellow who was the tough guy of Memphis, Ten�nessee. When the police picked up some of his visitors or hang-arounders or the gamblers that gambled in Ms place, why, that man would walk into the police station and say,