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The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:03 pm
by Jarlath
Someone mentioned this on one of the other boards I am on. I was trying to find some more details on it.

This link has the following info about the piece

http://www.economicexpert.com/a/Axeman:of:New:Orleans.html

"In 1919 local tune writer Joseph John Davilla wrote the song "The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)". Published by New Orleans based World's Music Publishing Company, the cover depicted a family playing music with frightened looks on their faces.

In 1945 the book " Gumbo Ya-Ya , A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales" came out. The popular book had a chapter on the Axeman entitled "Axeman's Jazz", which helped spark renewed interest in the Axeman. The book also reproduced the cover of the 1919 sheet music."

I have searched on the net and asked on another forum about this song/tune. Does anyone know of a recording of it or the lyrics for it (if there are any lyrics)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:41 pm
by Alan Balfour
It's very funny but periodically over the past decade or more the question of lyrics for this has been made to various discussion groups - blues, jazz, folklore, crime etc - but nobody seems to have come up with the sheet music, only the front cover! Personally I'm intrigued as to what has sparked the interest again.....

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:50 pm
by Charlie
Jarlath wrote:In 1945 the book " Gumbo Ya-Ya , A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales" came out. The popular book had a chapter on the Axeman entitled "Axeman's Jazz", which helped spark renewed interest in the Axeman. The book also reproduced the cover of the 1919 sheet music."

Somewhere, I have a copy of this, sent by a kind forumista. But where did I put it?

In the so far fruitless search, I found a package with Garth's name on, containing a book he lent me and which I was sure I had already returned to him. Sorry about that Garth. But it is safe.

One down, one up.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:03 pm
by Jarlath
Someone from New Orleans asked the question (back in March) on another group that I belong to. I had a quick look on the net but could not find much at all apart from the cover. I also asked the question over on the Mudcat forum but so far no one has been able to shed any light on it.

I did start to think that it might not actually exist. There 'appears' to have been just the one reference to it in the book Gumbo Ya-Ya and very little mention of it elsewhere. Other mentions of it just refer back to the book. I just thought I would ask the question here as there might be a chance someone had come across it in the past.

I suggested that the best chance might be to check e-bay and other places for a copy of the sheet music. I don't think he managed to get a copy yet.

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 6:08 pm
by Jarlath
Charlie wrote:
Jarlath wrote:In 1945 the book " Gumbo Ya-Ya , A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales" came out. The popular book had a chapter on the Axeman entitled "Axeman's Jazz", which helped spark renewed interest in the Axeman. The book also reproduced the cover of the 1919 sheet music."

Somewhere, I have a copy of this, sent by a kind forumista. But where did I put it?



I have not got a copy of the book myself. Someone told me that they had a copy of the book and that the lyrics were not printed. The same person said he had checked 'the catalog of the Library of Congress, New Orleans Public Library, World Cat, and Tulane University' and was unable to find any trace of it.

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:14 pm
by Charlie
Jarlath wrote:I have not got a copy of the book myself. Someone told me that they had a copy of the book and that the lyrics were not printed.

Found it.

The lyrics of the song are not printed, just the front of the sheet music, where the title is in three lines, with no 'e' in Axman:

The Mysterious
Axman's Jazz
(Don't Scare Me Papa)

by Joseph John Davilla
Author of the Noted Sophie Tucker
Coon Novelty Song:
"Give Me Back My Husband, You've
Had Him Long Enuff", etc

the main picture is a cartoon of a fat woman seated at a pianola

--------------------------------

Several pages of the book are devoted to the story of the Axeman, a notorious figure from 1918-19 who was evidently New Orleans' answer to Jack The Ripper, with his own method of ending lives.

PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:26 pm
by Charlie
Just followed the link in Jarlath's opening post, and found this tidbit:

Writer Julie Smith used a fictionalized version of the Axeman events in her 1991 novel The Axeman's Jazz.

A few years ago, my wife and I were walking up the long series of sandy beaches north of Placencia on Belize's Caribbean coast when we passed a couple about our age, smiled and kept walking. Some time later the same afternoon, we found ourselves sitting next to the same couple as we lounged in a bar in the sunshine, and found we were in the company of a published novelist from New Orleans, called Julie Smith.

I had not previously heard of Julie. But when, back home in our cabin later in the day, I picked up the noir thriller I was half-way through, I found that the first quoted review on its back cover was by Julie Smith. What do these things mean? Not much, since I have not subsequently tracked any of Julie's books down to read them. Anybody out there who has read her?

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 9:48 am
by Jarlath
I am glad that you found your book Charlie.

I had searched for both spellings of ax(e)man back in March. Just did a quick search again this morning and found something which said that The Historic New Orleans Collection has recently acquired the sheet music for this piece. Now I know that someone has a copy I will try and see if I can get some more information about it.

If I get any info I will post it here.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:06 pm
by Jarlath
I have heard back from the Williams Research Center,The Historic New Orleans Collection about this item

http://www.hnoc.org/

but it was not the answer that I wanted to hear. They told me the following:

We have processed your research request and have located the sheet music for J.J. Davilla's "The Mysterious Azman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa) in our collections. Unfortunately, the sheet music does not include lyrics to the song. On the bottom of the second page, however, the phrase "Lyrics reserved for special mechanical reproduction" is included, therefore it seems likely that the song does include lyrics that we currently do not posess.

So the search for the lyrics (if there are any) continues for the moment.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:19 pm
by Jarlath
I have sent an e-mail to Bruce Raeburn, author of an article The Axeman Cometh published in the Spring 2006 issue of Louisiana Cultural Vistas, asking him if he had any other source for the song apart from Gumbo Ya Ya.

You can read the article here

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leh/lcv-spring06/index.php?startid=30

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 8:44 am
by Jarlath
Alan's post on the books thread about Ernie K Doe led to me the HNOC website again.


Something Old, Something New: Collecting in the 21st Century

Something Old, Something New showcases some of the most significant items acquired by The Collection since the year 2000.

Multiple curators selected objects that reflect the broad range of Louisiana’s history as represented through library materials, manuscripts, pictorial items and new media. Included are sheet music for “The Mysterious Axman’s Jazz (Don’t Scare Me Papa)”; a duck decoy crafted in 2008 using traditional Louisiana carving methods; and photographs by Michael P. Smith, Ernest Bellocq and C. Bennette Moore. The selections cover the nuances of the historical record and subjects both familiar and obscure.

Something Old, Something New: Collecting in the 21st Century
July 24, 2012–February 8, 2013
533 Royal St.
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.,
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
Admission is free.

http://www.hnoc.org/21stcentury/

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 5:11 pm
by Jarlath
This was posted the other day on YouTube by Ragtimer95. As he says "I'd been looking for a copy of the music everywhere, and a friend let me borrow his (photocopy). I had JUST memorized it when I recorded it -- hence the dirtiness. I'll try to upload a cleaner version later."


http://youtu.be/Fz02N0hZ-Nk

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:22 pm
by Jarlath
Miriam C Davis has just published a book on the original murders, called "The Axeman of New Orleans"

Article here in the New Orleans Advocate, where Davis says that she thinks the letter to the press back in the day was a hoax.

http://www.theadvocate.com/new_orleans/entertainment_life/books/article_354ea4e6-0418-11e7-a8b0-779c268b9138.html

There is also an interview on Vice.com with Davis about her book

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/how-the-axeman-of-new-orleans-terrorized-a-city-and-escaped-the-law

Re: The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz (Don't Scare Me Papa)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:22 pm
by NormanD
And in the intervening years - there being no mention on this thread - quite a big seller in the UK fiction market has been "The Axeman's Jazz" by Ray Celestin
https://www.panmacmillan.com/authors/ra ... man-s-jazz

The author is, surprisingly, British - and a friend of The Crow On The Hill indy bookshop in Crystal Palace. He's also written a second novel, featuring the same characters, but set further north of New Orleans. Genre-wise, he's on a roll. More on Ray Celestin: http://www.afantasticallibrarian.com/20 ... estin.html

I've read the novel, as has Jamie here. Our enjoyment, and comments on it, were pretty much the same: a bit grisly, but a really good read.