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. POP MUSIC NOT PILLS. ANDY YOUNG. (November, 2008). IT'S DONE WITH MUCH TIME AND LOVE.


"TO BE A ROCK BUT NOT TO ROLL"

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 became a household name with his signature song, nearly every Singaporean went crazy with this Jamaican folk.
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".
The first recorded version called Day De Light was found in the album, Songs From Jamaica (1952) with Trinidadian singer Edric Conner and his band, The Carribeans, with lyrics by Ivrine Burgie from the Barbados. It's been covered by other singers and parodied too.
**The YouTube animation by 'acretiansholiq', "Run Mr Taliban." composed after the 9/11 attacks, features a parody version apparently performed by Colin Powell on the microphone with George W. Bush on bongos. The main refrain is, "Come Mr. Taliban, turn over bin Laden/Payback come then we drop the bomb..."
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 in 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 tarantula/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/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.
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