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Jerry Jeff, The Dirt Band & Mr. Bojangles

October 15, 2015

Jerry Jeff Walker - Mr. Bojangles (1968)

 

This is a song I have some history with.  We had a group called the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, kind of a country/folkish group with some great musicians.  The Dirt Band covered this hit by Jerry Jeff Walker in their own style and we started working the single.  It had a brief Spoken Intro with an old man talking about his dog, and Top 40 radio just didn't want to play it.  So we dropped the intro, shortening the record from over 5 mins. to just over 3 mins., more friendly to radio.  This version of "Mr. Bojangles" went top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.  John Hale's comments. –TDR

 

Jerry Jeff Walker is best-known for being part of the cosmic cowboy movement of the early seventies in Austin, Texas, alongside such other singers as Willie Nelson, Michael Martin Murphy, and bands like Asleep At The Wheel.  Walker comes across as a prototypical Texan, but in fact, he’s a native of New York state, and first made his mark in music as a folk singer. 

 

Jerry Jeff Walker wrote and had a big hit in the late sixties with a song based on the popular dancer from back in the thirties, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.  Mr. Bojangles was Jerry Jeff Walkers first and best-known hit, and in fact, it became a hit a second time in the early seventies for country rockers the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

 

The Nitty Gritty Dirty Band - Mr. Bojangles

 

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