The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48893   Message #749019
Posted By: John Minear
16-Jul-02 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Limber Jim
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Limber Jim: History & Lyrics
In a note on July 11, above, I said:

"He(Fletcher Collins) did publish the version of "Limber Jim" that he originally collected from Mrs. Newman in his little booklet called ALAMANCE PLAY-PARTY SONGS AND SINGING GAMES (1940). While this is a somewhat obscure source, I think that it is probably the origin of the "Limber Jims" that are out there on the web and also the one mentioned above in Richard Johnston's book."

I would like to revise that last statement. I think that the ALAMANCE book is the ultimate, or earliest source in print for Collins'/Newman's "Buckeye Jim"("Go Limber, Jim"). However, I discovered what is probably the intermediate and much more accessible source today in the library. Of all places, it is THE FIRESIDE BOOK OF FAVORITE AMERICAN SONGS, selected and edited by Margaret Bradford Boni, published in 1952 by Simon and Schuster. The song is on page 277, with music, verbatim to the ALAMANCE version, as well as for the two website versions mentioned in previous notes, and the Richard Johnston book. The ALAMANCE booklet was mimeographed and published by the WPA. It would have been much more difficult to access than the FIRESIDE book.

The headnote in the FIRESIDE book says:

"Fletcher Collins got this song from a friend in the hills of the Southern Appalachians. It has a quality of unreality, of mystery, quite unlike the feeling of other American songs about animals."

And it says "Transcribed by Fletcher Collins" and "By permission of Fletcher Collins." Dr. Collins did not mention this publication to me when I visited with him. If I live to be 95, I hope to be half as lucid as he is and I certainly wouldn't expect him to remember every detail of his career!