Riverboat Musician Work, According To Clyde Bernhardt's "I Remember" Bio

by Fred

There's a reference to riverboat dixieland musician employment on page 102 of the Clyde Bernhardt bio, so short and direct that it left me wondering to whom it might refer. The description comes from 1931.

"It was that western weather that finally caused me to quit Oliver. Hot in the summer and so very cold in the winter. In October, when pop told me he was extending the tour through the year, I wanted no part of it. I gave him my two-weeks' notice.

'Now, don't be so damned sure,' he said, looking very serious. 'Back when I played the riverboats, if a good musician wanted to quit, he god-damn have to slip off the job.'

I asked why.

'Cause the old boat captain liable to frame you, say you stole some-thin', then make you sign a paper to keep working. If not, he put you in jail.'

I looked at him.

'But I don't think I do that to you,' he laughed."

Posted on Jun 9, 2017, 7:52 PM

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