Jim Croce’s Final Midnight Special Appearance Gets Rowdy With, “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”
YouTube, via rwells47
Midnight Special, June 1973
There are many things in life that you just don’t do: tug on Superman’s cape, spit in the wind, or pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger – and you certainly don’t mess around with Jim. Singer-songwriter Jim Croce taught us this important lesson during his final appearance on The Midnight Special in 1973 when he and guitarist Maury Muehleisen performed ‘You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,’ and it’s so good that by the end of it you’re willing to tempt fate if it means just five more minutes at Jim and Maury’s feet, listening to them play!
Written in 1972, ‘You Don’t Mess Around With Jim’ isn’t about our beloved Jim Croce – far from it, in fact; the Jim mentioned in the song is fictitious character “Big Jim” Walker who dominates a seedy underground pool hall and gets his comeuppance when newcomer Slim (who, incidentally, you also do not mess around with) stakes his claim on the pool hall.
Fun Fact: When Jim was in college, he met a few real life “Big Jim” Walkers; he worked in a pretty scary part of town, wheeling and dealing with sketchy characters.
By the end of the performance, Jim Croce manages to get the crowd on its feet and clapping along – something that you’ll probably end up doing, too. Jim may not have been the gun toting pool shark of ‘You Don’t Mess Around With Jim,’ but his legacy as one of the greatest musicians of the last 50 years is something you definitely can’t mess with.