When the luxury liner, Titanic, sank on the night of April 14-15, 1912, musicians, both Black and white, immediately saw the event, with the loss of more than 1500 people, as worthy of song.
Within months of the disaster more than 125 songs about the event were copyrighted. Few of them achieved widespread popularity.
Jimmie's song appears to be unique. It is the only version I know of in which the captain's drinking is blamed for the disaster.
When the moon rose in its glory
And it drifted to the golden west
It told a sad new story
Sixteen hundred had gone to rest.
Captain Smith surely must have been a-drinking
Not knowing that he was doing wrong
He tried to raise a record
And let the Titanic go down
Well, the porter had retired and was sleeping
He was dreaming of some sad dream
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Way out on the bottom of the sea
Mr. Smith, he says to the rich man
"Oh try and come to light
Try and save your baby
Also your little lovin' wife."
Mrs. Smith heard her husband was a-drownin'
Way out on the deep blue sea
She cried out, "Oh Lord, have mercy
Oh Lord, send him back to me!"
When the sad news reached the city
That the Titanic had gone down
Many widows and poor little orphans
Was walkin' all 'round the town