Mudcat Café message #736536 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48893   Message #736536
Posted By: masato sakurai
25-Jun-02 - 11:13 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Limber Jim
Subject: Lyr Add: LIMBER JIM (from B.A. Botkin)
Botkin quotes a whole chapter ("Cincinnati Levee Life and Songs", original title being "Songs of the Roustabouts") from Lafcadio Hearn's An American Miscellany, vol. 1 (1924); the chapter first appeared as an article in The [Cincinnati, Ohio] Commercial, March 17, 1876. This song is in it (without music).

LIMBER JIM

Nigger an' a white man playing seven-up,
White man played an ace; an' nigger feared to take it up,
White man played ace an' nigger played a nine,
White man died, an' nigger went blind.

 Limber Jim,
 [All.] Shiloh!
 Talk it agin,
 [All.] Shiloh!
 Walk back in love,
 [All.] Shiloh!
 You turtle-dove,
 [All.] Shiloh!

Went down the ribber, couldn't get across;
Hopped on a rebel louse; thought 'twas a hoss,
Oh, lor', gals, 't ain't no lie,
Lice in Camp Chase big enough to cry,--

Bridle up a rat, sir; saddle up a cat,
Please han' me down my Leghorn hat,
Went to see widow; widow warn't home;
Saw to her daughter--she geve me honeycomb.

Jay-bird sittin' on a swinging limb,
Winked at me an' I winked at him.
Up with a rock an' struck him on the shin,
G--d d--n yer soul, don7t wink again.

Some folks says that a rebel can't steal,
I found twenty in my corn-fiel',
Sich pullin' of shucks an' tearin' of corn!--
Nebber saw the like since I was born.

John Morgan come to Danville and cut a mighty dash,
Las' time I saw him, he was under whip an' lash;
'Long come a rebel at a sweepin' pace,
Whar 're ye goin', Mr. Rebel? "I'm goin' to Camp Chase."

Way beyond de sun and de moon,
White gal tole me I were too soon.
White gal tole me I come too soon,
An' nigger gal called me an old d--d fool.

Eighteen pennies hidden in a fence,
Cynthiana gals ain't got nosense;
Every time they go from home
Comb thar heads wid an ole jaw bone.
Had a little wife an' didn't inten' to keep her;
Showed her a flatboat an' sent her down de ribber;
Head like a fodder-shock, mouf like a shovel,
Put yerself wid yaller gal, put yerself in trubble.

I went down to Dinah's house, Dinah was in bed,
Hoisted de window an' poked out her head;
T'rowed, an' I hit her in de eyeball,--bim;
"Walk back, Mr. Nigger; don't do dat again."

Gambling man in de railroad line,
Saved my ace an' played my nine;
If you want to know my name,
My name's High-lw-jack-in-the-game.

 Limber Jim,
 Shiloh!
 Talk it agin,
 Shiloh!
 You dancing girl,
 Shiloh!
 Sure's you're born,
 [All.] Shiloh!

Grease my heel with butter in the fat,
I can talk to Limber Jim better'n dat.

 Limber Jim,
 Shiloh!
 Limber Jim,
 Shiloh!
 Walk back in love,
 Shiloh!
 My turtle dove,
 [All.] Shiloh!

[Patting Juba]
 And you can't go yonder,
 Limber Jim!
 And you can't go yonder,
 Limber Jim!
 And you can't go-oo-o!

(SOURCE: B.A. Botkin, ed., A Treasury of Mississippi Foklore, Bonanza, 1978, pp. 593-595)

Harold Courlander quotes several verses of the same version from Hearn's "American Sketches" in Selected Writings of Lafcadio Hearn (Negro Folk Music, U.S.A., Columbia University Press, 1963, pp. 120-121; without music)

~Masato