You Don’t Mess Around With Me

I had a hard time deciding between Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Buffett and Jimmy Cliff, but I finally ended up going with Jim Croce mostly because he wrote a song about Jim.  Jim Croce worked in a really shady area down in south and west Philadelphia.  He used to go to some of these pool halls to try to sell air time for a radio station.  He knew that it wasn’t a very good neighborhood, so he would sit there and watch the pool games and see what people were doing, and he ended up seeing this guy named Jim Walker, who was one of the guys who used to play pool there.  While Jim Croce was spending his time down in the dumps of south Philadelphia, he heard all kinds of stories about things that went on down there, and that is when he ran into this guy, Big Jim Walker, who was a pool-shootin’ son of a gun.  One day while Croce was up on the 2nd floor in this pool hall, he saw Big Jim Walker get into it with the bouncer there and Big Jim was not the victor.  This gave Jim Croce the ‘hook’ that he needed for this song, and Big Jim and Alabama Slim both became the legendary characters in this song.

Jim Croce was an American folk singer and songwriter.  He released five studio albums between 1966 and 1973, before his untimely death in 1973.  This song was Croce’s first single and it was recorded in 1972.  Croce met his future wife, Ingrid Jacobson, at a folk music party and they wed in 1966.  Croce and Jacobson performed as a duo singing covers by musicians like Joan Baez and Woody Guthrie, but were soon writing their own music.  In 1970 Croce met Maury Muehleisen, a classically trained pianist, guitarist and singer-songwriter from Trenton, New Jersey and they started to record songs together.  Their biggest hit was ‘Bad Bad Leroy Brown’, which went all the way to number one.  On September 20, 1973, Croce, Muehleisen and four others were killed in a plane crash in Louisiana.

‘Big’ Jim Walker, a pool hustler was not too bright, but he was respected because of his tough reputation, his considerable strength and size, and his skill at pool.  His buddies who regularly gathered at night in the pool hall advised everyone not to mess around with Jim.  Another pool player named Willie ‘Slim’ McCoy who hailed from south Alabama came into the pool hall to get his money back from Jim after being hustled out of it the previous week.  When Jim comes in, McCoy ambushes and kills him, stabbing him in “about a hundred places” (to the point where “the only part that wasn’t bloody was the soles of [his] feet”) and shooting him “in a couple more”.  McCoy has his money back as well as the respect that was formerly granted to Jim, and the regulars at the pool hall have now changed their advice to warn people that they should not mess around with Slim.  There’s always going to be someone out there that is bigger than you are and that is why I became a lover not a fighter.

Uptown got it’s hustlers
The bowery got it’s bums
42nd street got big Jim walker
He’s a pool shootin’ son of a gun
Yeah, he big and dumb as a man can come
But he stronger than a country hoss
And when the bad folks all get together at night
You know they all call big Jim boss, just because
And they say

You don’t tug on superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

Well outta south Alabama came a country boy
He say I’m lookin’ for a man named Jim
I am a pool shootin’ boy
My name Willie McCoy
But down home they call me slim
Yeah I’m lookin’ for the king of 42nd street
He drivin’ a drop top Cadillac
Last week he took all my money
And it may sound funny
But I…

Well outta south Alabama came a country boy
He say I’m lookin’ for a man named Jim
I am a pool shootin’ boy
My name Willie McCoy
But down home they call me slim
Yeah I’m lookin’ for the king of 42nd street
He drivin’ a drop top Cadillac
Last week he took all my money
And it may sound funny
But I come to get my money back
And everybody say Jack don’t you know

And you don’t tug on superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with Jim

Well a hush fell over the pool room
Jimmy come boppin’ in off the street
And when the cuttin’ were done
The only part that wasn’t bloody
Was the soles of the big man’s feet
Yeah he were cut in about a hundred places
And he were shot in a couple more
And you better believe
They sung a different kind of story
When big Jim hit the floor now they say

You don’t tug on superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off that old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with slim

Yeah, big Jim got his hat
Find out where it’s at
And it’s not hustlin’ people strange to you
Even if you do got a two piece custom made pool cue

Yeah you don’t tug on superman’s cape
You don’t spit into the wind
You don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger
And you don’t mess around with slim

Written for 5/20/18 Helen Vahdati’s This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time Song Lyric Sunday Theme where the prompt is to use “a song from an artist/singer who shares your name”.

34 thoughts on “You Don’t Mess Around With Me

  1. Perfect choice, Jim. Don’t nobody mess around with you, right? I often wonder about talented singer/songwriters like Croce who were taken so early and the songs they might have written/sung had they lived.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks and I imagine that this challenge will give you some difficulty, but I am sure that you will figure out a way to handle it. I was thinking the exact same thing about Jim Croce having such a short career and having all that talent.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes a quote by Lao Tzu, but I tend to disagree as if you change the contents in the atmosphere say from ordinary air to an oxygen environment, then the flame will burn both twice as bright and twice as long.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I was very lucky as I could not have gone wrong with Jim Morrison, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jimmy Buffett or Jimmy Cliff and I always liked my name. My favorite Aunt was Helen and in fact she was my mother’s twin. I am still not sure how Kirstwrites is involved with the prompt, but I did check out her blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She’s a follower of the weekly challenge, just like you. She emailed me some theme choices. You are welcome to do the same, if you’d like. Help is always welcome!

        I always thought my name was an “old” name. I was named after both of my grandmother’s, Helen being my dad’s mom. I’ve come to appreciate it. 😏

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That is wonderful that you have shared interests with your father. My dad was a Sinatra fan and he listened to Dean Martin, Dinah Shore and Lawrence Welk. There was always a world of difference between the music that we each liked.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that I remember you saying that you read like a book a day and in all different languages and besides that you do a lot of traveling and you take a lot of pictures, so it was just an assumption on my part that you are busy.

        Liked by 1 person

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