SINGAPORE 60's: ANDY'S POP MUSIC INFLUENCE: ON THE MUSIC N MEMORY TRAIL IS MY OWN BLOG N ROLL PROJECT. NOSTALGIA IS PERSONAL HISTORY N PICTURES TELL STORIES. (I DO NOT OWN THE RIGHTS TO YOU-TUBE VIDEOS, AUDIO TRACKS OR IMAGES. THEY ARE UPLOADED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. MOST ARTICLES AND SOME IMAGES ARE ORIGINAL, COPYRIGHTED AND LABELLED SUCH. KNOWLEDGE IS FREE. COPYRIGHTS ARE NOT. ANDY YOUNG. November, 2008).





BUDDY RICH: LAST PERFORMANCE

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

'Banana Boat Song' Calypso Music 60s (Pt I)

SONGS I LOVE:

(While searching for songs to entertain my grandson, I remember The Banana Boat Song with its sunny island rhythm, bongo backing and repetitive lyrics. Up till today his, "Day-o, day-o," has kept many neighbours wide awake.)

In the 50s and 60s when calypso music (from Trinidad) made its debut in Singapore and when Harry Belafonte (image below) became a household name with his signature song, nearly every Singaporean went crazy with this Jamaican folk.
Just as busy and in the limelight today Harry Belafonte is a thinker, a civil rights activist, a political and humanitarian activist and chairs many seminars dealing with racial prejudice.

Although its origin is not completely known, it is calypso and usually sung by Jamaican banana field workers who work on plantations and banana dock workers who load the fruit on the boats. They improvise the lyrics from time to time but the most common reference is "daylight come and we wan' go home".

Explanation:
1) Come Mr Tally Man, tally me banana/Daylight come and we wanna go home = when daylight comes and the shift is over, they want their work to be counted (tally) so that they can go home.

2) Six foot, seven foot, eight-foot bunch = the length of banana combs.

3) Hide the deadly black tarantula = these spiders are found on the bananas.
For younger listeners, the song was used in the comedy film, Beetlejuice where during the dinner scene, the possessed guests sang and danced,
*The Banana Boat Song.
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Day-o, day-ay-ay-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home

Work all night on a drink of rum/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Stack banana till de morning come/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana/Daylight come and me wan' go home

Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Day, me say day-ay-ay-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Day, me say day, me say day, me say day/Daylight come and me wan' go home

Beautiful bunch of ripe banana/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Hide the deadly black taransla/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Lift six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch/Daylight come and me wan' go home
The black taransla = tarantula. These spiders are found in between the 6,7, or 8 bunches.

Six foot, seven foot, eight foot bunch/Daylight come and me wan' go ho
me/Day, me say day-ay-ay-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Day, me say day, me say day, me say day/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana/Daylight come and me wan' go home

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana/Daylight come and me wan' go home/Day-o, day-ay-ay-oDaylight come and me wan' go home/Day, me say day, me say day, me say day....ay-ay-o/Daylight come and me wan' go home...

No underlying meaning. The slow version lulls my second grandchild to sleep. A beautiful song indeed. But maybe it's not a song for children? "Work all night on a drink of rum..." But the version by Wiggles group from Australia dismisses it all.
More than 6 foot, 7 foot or 8 foot. They are bunches of bananas, rhyming beautifully with the song.

Image: From Andy Lim's Kitchen.

3 comments:

Roger said...

Very meaningful song. Immediately I thought of our foreign workers toiling at construction sites and road work sites.

Andy Young* said...

Yes sir, and situations in the world don't change do they, after so many years?

I remember another song with these lines, "This is my island in the sun/Where my people have toiled since time begun..."*

Jamaica is today in bad shape with drug lords on the rampage and killing each other.

It is the place where raggae was
born.

*Island In The Sun - Harry Belafonte.

maba said...

tahnks for the information...

best regards,
maba