The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #44348   Message #652254
Posted By: Gary T
17-Feb-02 - 03:22 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Mister Bojangles
Subject: RE: Mister Bojangles
From the thread linked by MCP. This is what I'd always heard:

Does anyone know if this song was written about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson or about some other guy who was sort of nicknamed for him because he danced? I had always assumed it was the latter--a down and out guy who tap danced and, so, folks called him "Bojangles." But someone told me that Jerry Jeff met Bill Robinson in jail and wrote the song about him. (Posted by Genie.)

I heard Jerry Jeff Walker himself say the song is not about Bill Robinson. Walker spent a night in the New Orleans city jail on a charge of being drunk and disorderly....It was in jail that Walker met the character about whom he would later write Mr. Bojangles, an old dancer who was sharing the same abode for the evening "because I drinks a bits." (Posted by Suffet.) __________

To sum up and clarify: There was indeed a "Mr. Bojangles"--dancer Bill Robinson, who among other things appeared in four films with Shirley Temple. The song, however, was not about him but about another dancer whom some called Bojangles, presumably because he too was a black man who danced. It looks to me, C-flat, like you win and get to be an offical smartass.