I Got Mine

The Jim and Mary Scott String Band
circa 1895-1910.

"I Got Mine" was originally published as sheet music by John Queen and Charlie Cartwell in 1902 and recorded by Arthur Collins, "The King of the Ragtime Singers", on Edison cylinder. Collins was a white singer and his version was appallingly racist. Sad to say, this was not uncommon in popular music of this type in those days. But the song was improved soon after and taken up in the 1920's by southern country string bands like Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers as well as African American singers and finger picking guitarists like Big Boy George Owens, Frank Stokes, and Pink Anderson.

One of my favorite renditions is by Pink Anderson, a great blues man who started out in the medicine show business in 1914 and kept playing well into the 1960s.

I heard it first from Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band. I must give them credit for introducing me to loads of fun music like this.

A note about the picture: We don't know if they did, but this is the kind of group that may well have performed a song like this. The string band in this photo was formed by Jim and Mary Scott of Mecosta County Michigan. They were members of one of the "Old Settlers" communities that were founded by people who came to the area via the underground railroad through Canada. Follow the links, it is a fascinating story.


Well I went down to a big crap game, it certainly was against my will
I lost every dog-gone nickel I had but a greenback dollar bill
They boys had a bet laying on the floor, and my buddy's point was nine
The police come in and got all of them, But I got mine.

I got mine, I got mine
I grabbed that money and out the back door I went flyin'
Ever since that big crap game I been living' on chicken and wine
I'm a leader in high society since I got mine.

Now I went down to a turkey feast, and that dinner certainly fine
Fifteen minutes 'fore the table was set, all the jitter bugs fell in line
When they brought them gobblers in, Uncle Joe, how his eyes did shine
Talk about wrestlin' and grabbin', Now I got mine.

I got mine, I got mine
I grabbed that turkey and out the back door, I went flyin'
I tried to make it to a hidin' place, but I didn't get there in time.
Some rascal grabbed me by my coat and I got mine.

Well, I went down to my best gal's house, and the hour was just about nine.
I wasn't dressed up like Henry Ford, but I was feeling' twice as fine.
Caught her sittin' on another fella's lap, I didn't like that sign.
I told that fella what I thought of him, and I got got mine.

I got mine, I got mine
I grabbed my jacket and out the back door I went Flyin'
That rascal grabbed a big shotgun and he used it mighty fine
Talk about a rascal runnin', I got mine.

Say, I know a barber shop, it's over on North Fourth Street
It's the only place on a Saturday night we gamblers care to meet
Some go there for a haircut, and some go there for a scrap
But you see my buddy and me down there, we mean to shoot some crap.

I mean 7 come 11, won't you come come come
If I don't see those 11 dots, I'm done done done
If I see police 'fore he sees me, gonna run run run
I'm a leader in high society, since I got mine.