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Till the Butcher Cut Him Down
time, I said, "Listen, you ve got to listen to me now. This isn't
your town. These aren't your kind of folks. Just let them get good and drunk Christmas Eve and they 11 come in here looking* for trouble and that will be vour end."
Finally he said "All right." Two days before Christmas he
got his car, packed his trunks, and told Mister Carew * goodbye. We didn't say a thing to Cordelia, we just headed North. It was a blizzard that night—a blizzard when he was coming into Washington and one when he was leaving—and we had to take it easy. Coming over that Delaware River Bridge we had to just inch along, it was so slippery with ice. We drove into New York in a snowstorm.
So in January of 19S9 Jelly RoH Morton tackled that cruel city again. He gigged out on Long Island with pick-up bands. He played personal appearances. Xow that Morton was an "important historical figure" the voung hipsters at least stared at him respectfully, though they scarcely could listen to the music he played at the jam sessions. Jelly abominated jam sessions; they ran counter to his whole approach to jazz; but now he had fallen low and he had to sit in. The French critics discovered him. Victor reissued some of his old records. A small record company did a small historical album of the best things he had cut for the Library of Congress. Two hot-eyed jazz fans were caught by Washington police crawling into a window of the Archive of Folk Song; they confessed to an insatiable craving for the records Jelly Roll had made for the Library of Congress. It had already become fashionable to collect earlv Morton, even while the live man was charging around New York City talking about a big new band, demanding a better rating from ASCAP, arranging to sue his publishers for back royalties, ready to launch a war to the death with his old enemy, MCA.
In September Victor caled him in to record some of the best
* His friend, Roy J. Carew, wBo published Ms last times and is Ms musical executor.