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Till the Butcher Cut Him Down
began having those asthma attacks, one right after another, just like he was pulling his last breath. It was getting on to the hour he was supposed to be at the Golden Gate, and 1 said, "Ferd, let me call up the manager and tell him that you re ill"
"No," he told me, "No, 111 be all right in a minute/"
I could see he was terrible sick. Finally, about 7:30 1 got on the telephone and called the manager, Tm verv sorry, but Jelly Roll Morton can't appear tonight. He's having a heart condition, one right after another/*
I had two musicians cany him down the steps and put him in the car and I took him to the hospital I stayed in the hospital till almost three, with no doctor around and the nurse telling me she couldn't give him anything.
But you know, those doctors became very interested in him the three months he was there. Whenever I would come to visit, there were always three or four of them around the bed, listening to his stories. And one time, nearly scared me to death, his bed was empty and I found out they had him up on one of the porches playing the piano. , . . They must have been testing him, because his doctor told me. "Well, Im going to let him go home now. But I'm going to tell you one thing. Jelly Roll Morton can't play the piano any more. He can live ten or fifteen years longer, but he can't play piano/*
At home he began to brood all the time, began to worry. I said, "Whv should vou brood? Your life means more to vou than your music. Perhaps it won't be ten or fifteen years. Maybe it will be longer. Make vourself satisfied with the royalties from your music and your records/' But Ferd couldn't get that in his head. He was a man used to making a lot of money and having a big band and he just kept brooding.
Wasn't out of the hospital a month and he says to me one dav, "Tm going downtown and make some sides." 1 tried to prevent him in every way, but he told me, "Let me take my own chances/" and he went down and he made Alabama