On Campbells and camels
thompsng at ELMER4.BOBST.NYU.EDU
Fri Aug 4 21:29:35 UTC 2000
I have had since the 1960s an LP by an itinerant black street singer
named Pink Anderson, called, as I recall, Pink Anderson, Medicine
Show Man. (Pinkney Anderson, born February 12, 1900, in Laurens, S.
C. -- this from The Encyclopedia of Popular Music.) One of the songs
on the record is "He's in the Jail House Now." This contains a line:
"I have a friend named Camel, he used to drink and gamel. . . ."
When I used to listen to this, I very acutely translated "gamel" into
"gamble", but it was years before it occured to me that Pink's friend
was (in my pronunciation) named Campbell. (I don't recall what
misadventure befell Camel in the song, but "he's in the jail house
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