Dave Chinn | 'Mr. Bojangles' aka Gary Cagle

'Mr. Bojangles' aka Gary Cagle

February 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

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         I decided to title this blog 'Mr. Bojangles' aka Gary Cagle because I had some images of Gary that needed a title. I always try to come up with a title that I think fits special images.  I've known Gary for several years since we served together in the Navy.  He is a fun loving person, always laughing, telling jokes, playing the guitar and singing.  Even when things are not going so well, he is still there to share a joke or song to lighten everyone's spirit, although on the inside he may be living a different story.  I know through the years Gary has had some difficulties just as everyone has in life.  After doing some research on the title of the song and what the song's meaning is, I felt the title was appropriate for my pictures of him.    

                                                              

        "Mr. Bojangles" is a popular song written and initially recorded by Jerry Jeff Walker in 1968 and covered since by many other artists.  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band took the song to #9 on the Billboard pop chart in 1971.  The inspiration for the song was not the famous stage and movie dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, nor the New Orleans blues musician Babe Stovall, as many think.  The song was inspired by an encounter with a street performer in the New Orleans first precinct jail.  According to Walker, a murder on the July 4th weekend of 1965 precipitated the arrest of all the street people in the area.  In the crowded cell, a disheveled, old, homeless man who called himself "Mr. Bojangles" got to talking with Walker, who had been arrested earlier in the day. The man told various stories of his life, but the tone darkened after 'Mr Bojangles' recalled his dog who had been run over.  Someone then asked for something to lighten the mood and the man obliged with a tap dance."

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-LVXR6rjXs&list=RDe-LVXR6rjXs&index=1

"Mr. Bojangles" 

(originally by Jerry Jeff Walker)

DEC_8120 B&WDEC_8120 B&W I knew a man Bojangles and he'd dance for you in worn out shoes
Silver hair, and ragged shirt and baggy pants, the old soft shoe
He'd jump so high, he'd jump so high, then he'd lightly touch down?

I met him in a cell in New Orleans, I was down and out
He looked to me to be the eyes of age, as the smoke ran out
He talked of life, he talked of life, laughed, clicked his heels instead

He said the name's Bojangles and he danced a lick all across the cell
He grabbed his pants and feathered stance, oh, he jumped so high then he clicked up his heels
He let go laugh, he let go laugh, shook back his clothes all around
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.

He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs throughout the south
He spoke with tears of 15 years of how his dog and him travelled about
The dog up and died, he up and died, after 20 years he still grieves
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, dance.

He said, "I dance now at every chance at honky-tonks for drinks and tips.
But most the time I spend behind these county bars, 'cuz I drinks a bit"
He shook his head, and as he shook his head, I heard someone ask him, "Please, please
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,
dance."
 
 

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