The Bistro West Peachtree NW Atlanta Georgia | Beaufort County Now | Jeff Walker has died October 23, 2020 @ 78 years old

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The Bistro West Peachtree NW Atlanta Georgia

The Bistro West Peachtree NW Atlanta Georgia

I had not planned on submitting this for publication, as I thought I had retired my passing ICONS for publication. I still write these little Icon notes but don't publish them now.   However this year has been a particularly hard on old entertainers.

Jerry Jeff Walker has died October 23, 2020 @ 78 years old.

Jerry Jeff Walker Obituary

One of my old haunts back in the mid 60s in Atlanta was a converted house called The Bistro. It was located at 1102 W. Peachtree Street. I first saw Jerry Jeff Walker there ~ circa 1966-67. He sang a song about an old drunk he had met while he was in Jail in New Orleans. The song title was jiffy and brought back the memories of Bill "Bojangles" Robinson who danced in one of Shirley Temples movies.

This was long before he actually had recorded the song before it became a national hit for numerous groups (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). At the time he was just another traveling folk / country singer doing gigs where ever he could find them.  In 1967 I was 22 and he was just 25.  Normally most of those vagabond singers came and went with my noticing or remembering their names. 

I remember that I was impressed with the with the song because it talked to the rambling fever most teenagers and young 20 age people felt at the time.  We all seemed to admire the troubadours who rambles the streets of the USA with no particular place to go and no idea how to get there or get back and no real concern about tomorrow.  The song and the singer’s name stayed with me. He eventually recorded the song in 1968 but I was out of the country at the time.

Like most young people at the time if you saw an old bum or  wino on the side of the street you often thought to yourself; “look at that loser what do you think happened to him.”  Well Jerry Jeff wrote the song about that old bum or wino.  As it turns out his story was one of the elements that has been part of the American experience since the founding of this country. And then you hear Mr. Bo jangles by Jerry Jeff Walker and you realize this man has lived a life.  As you grow a bit older, you begin to realize that you too have lived a life.  Perhaps not as depressing as Mr. Bo jangles, but just as full of memories both good and bad.

When the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band released the song on a 1970 album. I immediately knew it was the song I had heard three years before. That cemented my brush with Jerry Jeff Walker forever in my mind.  I was a longtime fan of him and his music as well as his covers of other songwriters.

A YOUNGER JERRY JEFF, A VACANT LOT WHERE THE MEMORIES LAY, AND AN OLD ADD AS PROOF IT DID EXIST. (Picture of Jerry Jeff Walker from his website)

The year 2020 has been a standout year for many reasons.


On an entertainment level we have lost:

  • Charlie Daniels 83
  • Mac Davis 78
  • Jerry Jeff Walker 78
  • Bill Withers 81
  • John Prine 73
  • Trini Lopez 83
  • Kenny Rogers 82
  • Bob Shane 86
  • Billy Joe Shaver 81

Many more from the entertainment industry  but those really have had a more direct connection to my youth and memories. I am sure some young 22 -25 years old kids have made permanent memories of the events during this year as well as their favorite entertainers.  Then some fifty-threes years from now in 2073 some artist will die and they will say.  Oh, yea I remember Him or Her. Ah, the pleasures of youth.

I have never been one to predict if someone who passes goes to Heaven or Hell as that is between them and the lord.  Regardless of where they ended up, the Righteous Brothers - Rock and Roll Heaven (1974) may have been right.  Well you know they've got a hell of a band, band, band.

https://youtu.be/e-LVXR6rjXs

"Mr. Bojangles"

I knew a man Bojangles and he'd dance for you

In worn out shoes

With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants

The old soft shoe

He jumped so high, jumped so high

Then he lightly touched down

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, talked of life, he laughed

clicked his heels and stepped

He said his name "Bojangles" and he danced a lick

across the cell

He grabbed his pants and spread his stance,

Oh he jumped so high and then he clicked his heels

He let go a laugh, let go a laugh

ack his clothes all around

Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles

Mr. Bojangles, dance

He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs

throughout the south

He spoke through tears of 15 years how his dog and him

traveled about

The dog up and died, he up and died

And after 20 years he still grieves

He said I dance now at every chance in honky tonks

for drinks and tips

But most 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 him please

Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles

Mr. Bojangles, dance..

 


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Comments

( November 5th, 2020 @ 11:58 pm )
 
Since we are talking about music, I did find a little time to play yesterday softly during a political meeting (not government) with two county commissioner friends (both were just elected) at my place. I know this because now these two tabs were open on my laptop, and just wondered - "Where did they come from?".

I did not sing a lick, but just talked politics and played the chords with the tune in my head. One was - tabs.ultimate-guitar.com, which might suggest where my head was

I guess I am not your usual county commissioner.
( November 5th, 2020 @ 11:04 pm )
 
Thanks for the video tip Bobby Tony. I will try it when I am fresh tomorrow after I get most of my endless chores done.

For now, however, that is what I need to know, which I don't know - the 6/8 roll rhythm. I try to mimic the rhythm, and then I just wind up with something that works with my voice.

Even though I can move my hands fast enough and grab all the chords well enough, I need to get the that 6/8 roll down.

Plus, I need a another guitar, although, I am quite fond of my little Yamaha with the fat neck. My next guitar will have to be a perfect fit, and of full, hearty quality, or, I am afraid I will reject it ... like the sad woman woman, who just is not quite as good as the one that got away.

One more thing that is weir for me. I won't spend much time on any one song. I will work on a song, play it all the way through, then, I'll go get another one; quite often one that I have never done, and do it to some varying quality ... maybe learn a new chord or two in the process.

And then I get so busy, I do not pick my guitar up for a week or more, and that is when I realize that my fingernails need clipping.

So, I earnestly pick up my guitar, play some chords until if feels good, sounds good, and then two to three hours roll by, and I have worked on 6 or 7 songs and also put a little original melody together that sounds good, and then, "I thank the good Lord for my fingers".

It is during one of those sessions where I will try stuff from The Band, to Tom Waits, to Johnny Cash, to Dire Straits /Mark Knopfler even, maybe Pink Floyd, James Taylor; the Beatles, Paul Simon, Van Morrison (try singing a Van the Man tune like "Caravan") ... it gets fun.

I have been doing Bob Dylan songs lately ... but not much of the older Folky stuff. Mostly from 1965 forward, like "Just Like a Woman", "Shelter From the Storm" "Mighty Quinn", "All Along the Watchtower" ... the songs that made an impression on me. Not that "Blowing in the Wind" is not a cool song, but it gets boring real fast for me, however, I do like "Mister Tambourine Man" because it begs to be changed up a bit, and "Don't Think Twice" - I like that one because of the cool Lyrics - "Ain't no use to sit and wonder why babe; If you don't ... know by now".
( November 5th, 2020 @ 7:24 pm )
 
Iíve simplified it for my old arthritic hands. C Em Am G7. The rest pretty much the same. Once you get the 6/8 Roll rhythm down itís like an old 50s song. 123-4-56

youtu.be
( November 5th, 2020 @ 6:13 pm )
 
Get your guitar out and ty this version of Mr. Bojangles - tabs.ultimate-guitar.com

I still need to get a better strum / pick ratio. Often, I just pick and pull the notes out of the chords.
( November 5th, 2020 @ 3:48 pm )
 
It never fails. When one of these Icon's pass, I do a deep dive on YouTube and find numerous songs that I never knew they made. That is particularly true with song writers. I stop buying albums and CD's years ago and as a result only knew the hits for some. I have often thought that the best songs were the B-Side of a single or lost in the 12 or so tracks on an album.

Since I am guilty of over analyzing everything, I don't doubt that GEMS will not appear until they pass should I still be alive when that occurs.
( November 5th, 2020 @ 3:11 pm )
 
Thanks Bobby Tony for this elucidation on a piece of who Jerry Jeff Walker was, and what his music still means.

"Mr. Bojangles" is a national treasure, and one of the many reasons why I threw caution to the wind, and started learning to play a guitar 4 years ago.

I always attempt to do the Jerry Jeff Walker version (because it is the best), with varying degrees of success - depending now on my mood - when I do this classic.

I love the song, and I am thankful, because of Jerry Jeff's "lightning-in-a-bottle creativity, that I get a chance to play it from time to time.



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