Late Night OTB – Bojangles

Jerry Jeff Walker singing a song he wrote and others made famous, “Bojangles,” on the “Dinah Shore Show” back in 1978. Introducing him is Dandy Don Meredith, the first star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys but perhaps best known as Howard Cosell’s sidekick on “Monday Night Football” and for his Lipton ice tea commercials.

Bonus: The late Sammy Davis, Jr. performs his version.

I knew a man Bojangles and he danced for you
In worn out shoes;
With silver hair, a ragged shirt, and baggy pants,
The old soft shoe.
He jumped so high, he jumped so high,
Then he’d lightly touch down
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

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 he spoke right out
He talked of life, he talked of life,
He laugh-slapped his leg a step.

He said the name, Bojangles, and he danced a lick
Across the cell.
He grabbed his pants, a better stance, he jumped up high,
He clicked his heels.
He let go a laugh, he let go a laugh,
Shook back his clothes all around.
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

He danced for those at minstrel shows and county fairs
Throughout the South.
He spoke with tears of fifteen years how his dog and him
Had traveled about.
His dog up and died, he up and died,
After 20 years he still grieves.
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

He said “I dance now at ev’ry chance in honky tonks
For drinks and tips.
But most of the time I spend behind these county bars
‘Cause ‘I drinks a bit.”
He shook his head, and as he shook his head I heard someone ask “Please,
Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles, Mr. Bojangles,

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jay says:

    I always loved that song, as done by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, from the time I was a kid.

  2. floorplanner says:

    it’s the first time to hear this song,
    oh,so good.