There was a performer named Bill Robinson who called himself “Mr. Bojangles.” He (the one Jeff Olsen is talking about) also used to hold the world record for running 75 yards backward, for what that’s worth. Here’s a biography of him:
For the record, the song Mr. Bojangles was not about the dancer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1878-1949). “Bojangles” was a stock character in minstrel shows, and many popular minstrel players went by that name.
Jerry Jeff Walker is nothing if not a bullshit artist. Before you believe a story about a song being written about a chance encounter with a nobody in a New Orleans drunk tank instead of a wildly popular entertainer, you might want to snoop around and find out if Jerry Jeff Walker was ever in a New Orleans drunk tank.
And, by the way, there wasn’t a single murder, or even a death, at the prison during David Allen Coe’s time behind bars. Each and every man who went in before or during his incarceration can be accounted for. That’s doesn’t make David Allen Coe a bad songwriter, but it does kind of screw up his story about killing a man in prison.