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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

Home Main Menu Singing & Playing Order & Order Info Support Search Voucher Codes

Share page  Visit Us On FB

Previous Contents Next
Jack the Bear
And he says to me, "Will you play?"
I said, "Sure, there is no worry about playing with a palooka like that. Why, certainly/7
Bad Sam said, "Okay, Benny, here is a little bum thinks he can play piano. Let him try his hand. See what he can do, because, if he can t play, 111 kick him in the ass/*
There was a kind of chill came over me when he said that. Bad Sam was a very tough man, but I didn't know it at the time. I found out later he was really the toughest Negro in Memphis, no doubt the toughest man in the whole section, black or white. And he had Sean Malioney backing him up with plenty money.
I happened to be there personally one day wThen a man came in the gambling room, selling chickens. Bad Sam was back there with his two pistols and this guy came in hollering, "Chickens/* Bad Sam told him, said,
"Say, listen, Im losing a whole lot of money here. I just lose a bet and I told you about that hollering 'Chickens' and I ain't gonna tell you no more/*
And the guy hollered "Chickens' —very soft. Said, "Get your chicken sandwiches/'
When he said that again, Sam told the boys, "Wait a min­ute," and be walked from behind the gambling rack. Then— I actually seen him do it—he drew back his right hand and hit that man on the jaw and broke his jawbone. His jawbone came through the flesh. I actually seen {hat So you see, Sam was a very tough man.
Well, when Bad Sam said that to me, this supposed-to-be-tough partner of mine, Jack the Bear, he didn't seem so very tough, he didn't open his mouth. But courage came to me be­cause I knew that no matter how 1 played I could beat Benny Frenchy because he couldn't play at all. I got up a lot of courage and I said, "You won't lack me in the ass, because 1 can beat this palooka."
And Bad Sam said, "He's a game kid, all right, so let him go down."