The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48893   Message #843784
Posted By: John Minear
09-Dec-02 - 08:19 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Limber Jim
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Limber Jim: History & Lyrics
Stilly River Sage, thanks for the bibliography. The good old Smithsonian ethnologies, and of course the JAF. Next time I get in to the university library I'll take a look. The "comparative" study of religion is always an interesting process, "ours" and "theirs", and so forth. I've often thought that "ours" could have used some jaybirds, and how much difference is there between emerging out of a hole in the earth and being scooped up out of the mud of the earth? Both seem to be talking about earth origins. But I am not one to collapse the differences! They are very important.

So, what about that jaybird building his nest up above the moon in a silver spoon and a redbird's eye? The redbird's dance with a bull frog on the hollow log probably had its origin with Burl Ives when he changed Patti Newman's song for his own purposes. It wasn't in the version collected by Fletcher Collins from Patti Newman down in Elon, NC.

To refresh our memories: Fletcher Collins "gave" Burl Ives a copy of the song he had collected from Patti Newman. I call Collins'(Newman's) song "Limber Jim" because it got published under that title in a few places and because it has the phrase "go limber, Jim" in it. Collins, and probably Newman, called it "Buckeye Jim". However, Burl Ives significantly altered the verses and the tune, and dropped the "limber Jim" phrase, when he recorded it and published it. It was Ives' version that became popular and was published by the Lomaxes in FOLKSONGS, USA. So, while it may be confusing, I let old Burl have the "Buckeye Jim" title and reserve "Limber Jim" for the "original" version. Also, Lafcadio Hearn's version was called "Limber Jim".