(Jerry Jeff Walker)

JERRY JEFF WALKER performs "Mr. Bojangles" on The Dinah Shore Show, 1976

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© 1967 Cotillion Music, Inc. and Danel Music, Inc.
Covered by Bob Dylan, Columbia Recording Studios, New York, NY, Jun 2, 1970; released on "Dylan," Nov 16, 1973.

This is really a true story, you know, a lot of people have heard the song, and... Well, at least, Jerry Jeff tells me it's a true... true story.

I played guitar with Jerry Jeff Walker for about two years and we... we did this song every night for two years., and I never got tired of it. Jerry got a little tired of it -- at night, after the clubs would close, we'd do horrible things to it...

'Twas a true story, he... this guy, Bojangles, was a... he was a street dancer in New Orleans, and what he'd do, he'd go from bar to bar and... he'd put money in the juke box, or get somebody else to do it... And then he'd either dance or pantomime the tune. And for that, people would buy him drinks and get him pretty drunk, and then he'd go on to the next bar, and the next one, until it was closing time... and then he'd go on, the next night. After a few nights of this, he'd end up on the corner, and the cops would pick him up and then take him to the drunk tank -- this is where Jerry Jeff met him.

Jerry Jeff wasn't there on a research project -- I mean, the way I got that story, I may have that wrong, but the way I got that is that he propositioned the right woman at the right time and the wrong place -- and her husband, the bartender... called the cops, and they took Jerry to the... Parish jail. And he and this guy just talked for three days in the cell about what've you got...

Intro of song as performed on "Demon In Disguise," 1972;
transcribed by Manfred Helfert.

as reprinted in liner notes for Jerry Jeff Walker, "Five Years Gone"

I knew a man Bojangles and he danced for you
In worn out shoes;
With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants,
The old soft shoe.
He jumped so high, he jumped so high,
Then he'd lightly touch down
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was
Down and out.
He looked to me to be the eyes of age
As he spoke right out
He talked of life, he talked of life,
He laugh-slapped his leg a step.

He said the name, Bojangles, and he danced a lick
Across the cell.
He grabbed his pants, a better stance, he jumped up high,
He clicked his heels.
He let go a laugh, he let go a laugh,
Shook back his clothes all around.
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs
Throughout the South.
He spoke with tears of fifteen years how his dog and him
Had traveled about.
His dog up and died, he up and died,
After 20 years he still grieves.
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

He said "I dance now at ev'ry chance in honky tonks
For drinks and tips.
But most of the time I spend behind these county bars
'Cause 'I drinks a bit."
He shook his head, and as he shook his head I heard someone ask "Please,
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

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