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

with Some sheet music & lyrics.

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Cant Remember All Those Towns
Sandy said to me, "You don t know who you're talking to.9* 1 said, "I don't care/' Eight there we had a little argument and 1 finally asked him who was he? He said he was Sweet Papa Cream Puff, right out of the bakery shop. That seemed to produce a great big laugh and I was standing there, mugging, and the thought came to me that 1 better say something about a bakery shop, so I said to him that he didn't know who he was talking to. He wanted to get acquainted^ and I told him I was Sweet Papa Jelly Roll * with stove pipes in my hips and all the women in town just dying to turn my damper down! From then on that name stuck to me and was the cause later of one of my greatest numbers to be called the Jelly Roll Blues.
In those days I had the bad habit, which I never broke entirely, of being a big spender when I had money. Well, the show stranded me? broke, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. So when Sandy proposed that we accept an offer and go to the Pastime Theatre in Houston, I decided that since 1 was a straight man, I might as well be the best straight man on earth.
We took Texas that year—Dallas, Denison, Cuero, Yokum, Brownsville (where I saw a bullfight), San Antonio, and more towns I can't remember. Every place I looked up the piano players, and they were all terrible. In fact the only piano player in Texas I remember was George W. Smith, who gave up the piano when he heard me and moved to California to make his living as a trumpet player.**
I tried to organize a stock theatre in Houston, but relatives ruined it. So I took the money I had left and bought a tailor shop and went after the tenderloin trade, since I was a part-time piano player in a couple of the best houses.
I was sitting in my tailor shop one day with a great big cigar
* Jelly roll—a folk simile of sexual reference which antedates Mortons reehristening. See Time 12, Appendix I.
** "George Smith is frank to admit that Morton carved everybody, including himself. The thing that stuck in Smith's mind was the way Jelly played Jelly Roll Blues and that specialty, The Lion Roared and Broke Down the Door." —Downbeat, April, 1938.