Slow Town is Jazz Town Now (from Linger Longer Letty, 1919)

Vocal Range


Like Berlin’s Alexander’s Ragtime Band and The International Rag, this song is about the transforming power of the new music, in this case changing Slow Town to Jazz Town. The delightful music by the mostly forgotten Al Goodman uses syncopation most effectively, including a three-within-four pattern in the main chorus melody that was often used in piano rags.


In a town where the curfew bell would ring,
Every night there a church choir used to sing;
The village dancers would do the lancers.
Slow Town, a sleepy village,
They never heard about a cabaret;
There each man loved his wife,
Until a Jazz Band came around that way
And brought them all to life.
Slow Town just woke up from its nap,
Changed its name to Jazz Town on the map.

All the trees are swayin’
when the breeze begins a-playin’, down in Jazz Town;
Horses start in neighin’
and the donkeys start in brayin’, down in Jazz Town.
And the chickens in the morn’
Shimmie over to their daily corn;
All the pigs are prancing, all the cows are dancing,
Turkeys turkey-trotting down the lawn.
All the crops just wiggle
and the worms begin to wriggle down in Jazz Town;
Ducks start buck and winging
and the birds begin a-singing from each bough.
And all the fishes in the stream,
They twist their tails and twist them mean,
For poor old Slow Town is Jazz Town now.

Now they took off the bell from the old town clock;
All the kids go to bed with the “Cradle Rock.”
Each Sal and Jimmy can shake the shimmie;
Oh, boy, they’ve all gone crazy.
And every time they have a marriage there,
No mournful march they use;
A different melody will fill the air,
They play the “Wedding Blues.”
Slow Town will never be the same,
Changed the way of living with the name.

All the trees are swayin’...