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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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'Turn these people loose and don't bother none of the people that hang around my place," and the police department didn't have any trouble at all in getting these prisoners out imme­diately.
It seems like Benny Frenchy had certain days he came to the place and he was a natural drawing-card. The bunch would come up from the honkey-tonks, with tough killers hanging around and prizefighters of a low caliber that would probably kill you for an argument. When Benny would show up, there would be a type of those lowclass women and some that was a little better class. They would have a special way of dancing when he played and I never seen that dance before or since. They would run right directly up to the wall and with a kind of little bitty shuffle and clap their hands together and kick back their right leg. And they'd say, "O play it, Benny, piay it.
Well, there was this piano right in the Monarch. Benny Frenchy was playing it. All those lowclass whores were doing that dance. I was talking to the fellow who was running the dice game on the daytime watch. I didn't even know who I was talking to, only that he was the gentleman that ran the games. I said to him—it was Bad Sam, only I didn't know who it was—i said,
"Who is this fellow?"
He said, "This is Benny Frenchy*
I said, "1 never heard of him."
"Where in hell you been, never heard of Benny Frenchy?"
I said, "What is he? Supposed to be good?"
He said, "He is the best in the whole State of Tennessee."
I said, "Why, that damn fool can't hit a piano with a brick."
So he said to me, he says, "Can you play?"
I said, "Well, I'm not supposed to be good, but if that is playing I can beat all them kind of suckers."
He hollered to Benny, "Wait a minute, Benny. There's one of them little upstarts around here, thinks he can play. Would you mind lettin him get down there to show what he can do?"