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Behind The Classics: ‘Mr. Bojangles’

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

‘I knew a man, Bojangles, and he danced for you…’

The year was 1971 and a group called The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band introduced millions of us to this ‘Mr. Bojangles’.

Not really truly the Country Music of the day…not really truly the Rock Music of the day…it was, well, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Music.

The song crossed musical borders and boundries, and had all of us first learning about this magical man named Bojangles, and then singing along.



So who was responsible for this great classic story-song?

A song writer named Jerry Jeff Walker, originally from the state of New York, but Texas based now for decades.  And while ‘Mr. Bojangles’ is certainly his most commercially successful song, the 71-year-old is considered one of the great ‘Texas’ singer/songwriters, in the same realm as Guy Clark, Ed Bruce, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Willie Nelson.   And personally, I would also put him among the great songwriters of the past half-century.

And of course, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band wasn’t the only artist to record and have a hit with this great song.



Jerry Jeff continues to write, perform and record great music.


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