Sunday, August 19, 2007

255 - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Mr. Bojangles

DAY 255
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – "Mr. Bojangles”
Cover Song appears on "The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Greatest Hits"

This song is very very special to me for several reason. The biggest reason is because my Grandpa used to play an amazing rendition of this song on guitar. (It was actually the last song Grandpa played by my request before he passed away in February 2006.) Grandpa's version was the best, but aside from his version this is my favorite famous version.

There is some awesome Wikipedia info on this song... this little clip was interesting to me:

"Mr. Bojangles" is a popular song, originally written by Jerry Jeff Walker and covered since by many other artists.

It was about an obscure alcoholic but talented tap dancing drifter (not the famous stage and movie dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, as sometimes assumed). Bojangles is thought to have been a folk character who entertained informally in the south of the US and California, and some say he might have been one of the most gifted natural dancers ever. His actual name is not recorded. Authentic reports of him exist from the 1920s through about 1965.

According to the original lyrics by Jerry Jeff Walker, he met Bojangles in a prison cell in New Orleans (the first precinct jail to be exact). The two began to converse about life in the philosophical way two men on the skids often do. Bojangles began to dance as Walker admired his skill.

Artists as diverse as Dave Jarvis, Chet Atkins, Frank Sinatra, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Harry Nilsson, Bob Dylan, Jim Croce, Harry Belafonte, Elton John, Arlo Guthrie, Nina Simone, John Denver, David Bromberg, Neil Diamond, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tom T. Hall, John Holt, Bermuda Triangle Band, Robbie Williams, David Campbell, Coulson Smith, Josh MacAulay, Jamie Cullum, Ray Quinn, Bryan Cox, Todd Snider and Edwyn Collins have all covered the song. Further, the character is mentioned in Philip Glass's opera Einstein on the Beach. The latest, somewhat personalized, version of the song appears on the album Doing it My Way by [XFactor] contestant Ray Quinn. A version was recorded by New Zealand artist Corben Simpson in the 1970s.

Check out this live performance of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band performing "Mr. Bojangles" on YouTube.

Go see what Andy chose today
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Click here to see my song choices thus far (sorted by artist)
Click here to see the album covers of my choices so far.

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