The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #48893 Message #930036
Posted By: Stewie
09-Apr-03 - 08:17 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Limber Jim
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Limber Jim: History & Lyrics
[WARNING: Explicit sexual references in the following post may offend some people.]
Turtle Old Man
In your posting of 28 June 2002 above, you quoted comments from Hearn that included:
A great part of "Limber Jim" is very profane, and some of it is not quite fit to print. We can give only about one-tenth part of it.(!) The chorus is frequently accompanied with that wonderfully rapid slapping of thighs and hips known as "patting Juba."
I have recently obtained a copy of a fascinating book by Vance Randolph: 'Blow the Candle Out: "Unprintable" Ozark Folksongs and Folklore Volume II' (Ed G.Legman) Uni of Arkansas Press 1992. I was struck by the number of times the word 'limber' occurs in a sexual context. I quote the following to illustrate.
In section D, 'Ribaldry at Ozark Dances', Randolph talks inter alia about ribald titles for fiddle tunes that were not announced by the fiddler but were well-known to the dancers at the frolics. At #8, p759, Randolph wrote (Legman's note follows in square brackets):
Rufe Scott, an elderly attorney at Galena, Mo., was a left-handed fiddler. In the 1930s, I heard him play one very fine tune, always greeted by with grins by the villagers, because the title of it was 'Big Limber'. Allen McCord, who lived near Galena, could play the same piece. But I have not found many fiddlers who ever heard of it. [The humorous reference in the title is in the word 'limber', meaning heavy and soft, not stiff, alluding to the penis. It is an item of folk belief, and may even be true, that very large penises never can become very stiff.]
In section E, 'Bawdy Elements in Ozark Speech', Randolph has at #9, p 776:
'Stiff as a young man's pecker' is natural enough and so is 'stiff as a bride's present'. And 'limber as an old man's plaything' is understandable ...
In section F, 'Obscenity in Ozark Riddles', Randolph gives the following at Nos 13 and 14, p 826:
Remembered by a lady in Pineville, Mo., 1933:
Goes in hard, comes out easy
Comes out limber, slick and greasy
Cabbage cooked with pork.
Heard in Fayetteville, Ark., 1942:
It goes in stiff and stout
Limber and greasy when it comes out
Cabbage boiled with meat.
In section G, 'Folk Graffiti from the Ozarks, Randolph quotes from graffiti in a filling station run by a woman near Crane, Mo. This is #58, at p 857:
Please do not draw such pictures or write
such dirty writings in my toilet. You are
just showing your ignorance.
B. Someone has added below, in large masculine hand. [Compare the the 'Twelve (Silver) Dollar Jack' references elsewhere in this collection]
Lady I don't want to show my ignorance. But
I sure would like to show you my prick, which
it is twelve inches long limber, and never been
There may be other references and I have yet to receive a copy of Vol I 'Roll Me In Your Arms'. I hope the above may be of some use in your quest for the meaning of 'Limber Jim'.