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Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)

MorwenEdhelwen1 18 Sep 11 - 04:58 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 19 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Sep 11 - 08:09 AM
James Fryer 19 Sep 11 - 10:41 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Sep 11 - 10:54 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Sep 11 - 03:51 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 19 Sep 11 - 04:53 PM
James Fryer 19 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Sep 11 - 06:25 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 19 Sep 11 - 06:47 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 Sep 11 - 02:55 AM
James Fryer 20 Sep 11 - 03:46 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 20 Sep 11 - 07:48 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 21 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM
James Fryer 21 Sep 11 - 03:55 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 22 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM
James Fryer 22 Sep 11 - 05:38 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 24 Sep 11 - 10:22 AM
James Fryer 24 Sep 11 - 11:30 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Sep 11 - 01:42 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Sep 11 - 01:44 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 25 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM
James Fryer 26 Sep 11 - 04:54 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 26 Sep 11 - 06:38 PM
GUEST 19 Jun 14 - 01:51 AM
Azizi 20 Jun 14 - 12:25 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 Aug 17 - 11:46 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 18 Sep 11 - 04:58 PM

I listened to this song by Roaring Lion (Rafael de Leon) on YouTube and could only figure out the chorus; "Singing Netty Netty, gi me de ting you got in your belly". Can anyone help me figure out the verses?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 05:23 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 08:09 AM

Morwen

Since noone has come back to you, here's a start. It's not a style I've listened to and the slang defeats me - you'll need someone who knows the music or the language for that.

Here's what I could make out, but bear in mind that it's probably not all accurate.

Mick



NETTY, NETTY
("Roaring Lion" Rafael de Leon)

Christmas night, I almost died with laugh,
Lying in me bed with a high brown craff*
Christmas night, I almost died with laugh,
Lying in me bed with high brown calf
She hold a gin-bottle with a wicked roll
Ah dambou-vamou** Nelly make her lose control


Singing, Netty, Netty
Gimme the thing*** that you got in your belly


The craff on me bed was very still
And when she hold the gin bottle she got a thrill
And said "Wake up, wake up darling, let's make our names
Your dambou-vamou addlin' me brain"
She jump up off me bed and nearly bust me blind
Lash me in the face with a body-line.

Singing, Netty, Netty
Gimme the thing that you have in your belly


<v3**** I can only make out a few words - mainly slang/patois>

Singing, Netty, Netty
Gimme the thing that you got in your belly


The craff catches up and she start to dance
She said, "Lion, this the time to take our chance"
I said "Woman, you better stop your stupidness
You always calling men for foolishness"
She said "I care nothing at all"
She jump out the road and she nightly? fall.

Singing, Netty, Netty
Gimme the thing that you got in your belly




Notes:

*= sounds like craff/graph, and I presume a slang word for loose woman? I've left as craff
** = sounds like this. I'm guessing slang for alcohol or related
*** = not sure in 1st chorus, but thing in others
**** = this verse sounds mostly slang or possible French-influences patois and I can make out
    only a little, so I've omitted it here

Source: Roaring Lion Netty, Netty video at Youtube


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 10:41 AM

I have "Sacred 78s" which has the lyrics to a later version of this song. I think you're mostly right about the 30s version, a few comments:

* is "craf", a woman
** is Tamboo Bamboo, a type of carnival band pre-dating steel pan

"She hold a gin-bottle" is given as "She heard a gin bottle" i.e. he can hear a bottle-and-spoon band.

The last verse is given as, "The craf caught a vap and she start to dance". I have no idea what a vap is. The last line is given as "... and she nighty fall".

Also the lyrics "If you can't stand the digging/Give me back me shilling" are sung in other versions of this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 10:54 AM

James

Thanks for those corrections/enlightenments! (she nighty fall makes a lot more sense).

I did listen to the other version with digging/shilling addition, but did the transcription from the early version as you noted.

Thanks again.
Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 03:51 PM

There are online dictionaries, but they are very incomplete.

One of the better ones:
http://www.eng.fju.edu.tw/worldlit/caribbean/dictionary.htm

It was no help with this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 04:53 PM

Thanks, Mick and James! BTW, how is this song about abortion?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 06:00 PM

We only have an unsourced statement on Wikipedia to say it is, but the line "gimme the thing you got in your belly" does point in that direction... Possibly the patois verse sheds more light on it. Also there may have been other verses which weren't recorded, and there may have been well-known events which were only alluded to in the song.

I checked in the book that comes with the "West Indian Rhythm" box set, which says:


The Growling Tiger (Neville Marcano) recalled that "Netty" was "a girl from behind the bridge" (east of the Dry River in Port of Spain). She deported herself as though she was having a baby but never delivered the infant, this being an important part of the song's satirical content.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 06:25 PM

Thanks, James, that is just the sort of thing that was satirized.
Like the one about the girl who drownded but didn't.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 19 Sep 11 - 06:47 PM

Q - I did try looking at a few of the online dictionaries when I did the transcription; as you say they were no help! Thankfully James came along to fill in the blanks.

I think we need someone with proper knowledge of patois to sort out verse 3. (I could probably make a stab at a transcription of it, but it would be time-consuming and almost certainly wrong!)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 02:55 AM

So, the girl got pregnant, acted like she was going to have the baby, but had an abortion? Or (b) she left the city to go somewhere and people just assumed she was pregnant? <\i>


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 03:46 AM

I think what really happened is unknowable: it could have been a phantom pregnancy, some kind of psychological disorder, who can tell? The event is too long ago and too insignificant to be recorded except in the calypso and a few interviews, themselves not too reliable.

Another example is a recording of Boo Boo Man sung by Lord Melody. He begins the verse (not used by Belafonte) which starts "My wife and I had a big disturbance/owing to the constant annoyance" but he sings "Constance annoyance". The audience laughs at this so much that Melody has to restart the verse. So who was Constance? Probably only someone alive at the time could tell me. For a song written in 1956 this is still possible but for Netty written in '36 all that remains is the calypso...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 20 Sep 11 - 07:48 PM

btw, if Netty was a real person, was Matilda who "took me money and run Venezuela" real, too? I wonder if any calypsonian performing in that time period was interviewed about her <\i>.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 03:01 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 21 Sep 11 - 03:55 AM

I have read somewhere that "Mathilda" was based on a true story. Of course calypsonians will always embellish the story if it improves the song!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 02:38 AM

Does it say anything about "Matilda" in the "West Indian Rhythm" book?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 22 Sep 11 - 05:38 PM

It has the original recording of "Matilda" by King Radio from 1939 but doesn't say much other than it was a popular road-march song. There is also a reprinted page from a 1940 "Travel" magazine which says, "Many of the calypsos are on local, current events. Once a girl, by name Matilda, deserted her lover and went off to Venezuela with his money."

But that's just a precis of the song. I am sure I have seen a more convincing version of the story, if I ever find it I'll add it to a thread for that song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 10:22 AM

Please do that. I've been looking for information on the (or a) true story that inspired or might have inspired that song. In fact I think the reason it's so appealing is that we (the listener) don't know why she left. All we know is that she left . BTW, I've also wondered whether the persona was King Radio himself, or just him putting himself into the persona's head and writing a song from that perspective.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 24 Sep 11 - 11:30 AM

Well, we know that the singer says she was scheming: "the money was to buy me house and land/But Matilda had a different plan". I think the meaning of the song is clearly she was a thief who lulled him into a sense of trust.

I think most calypsos are told from the POV of the singer, in character. That's part of their charm. The alternative is to say "this happened to a friend of mine" but that's not the case in this song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:42 AM

BTW, there is a thread on "Matilda" here:"Matilda" thread

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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 01:44 AM

Does "ïn character" mean that he was singing in a persona?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 25 Sep 11 - 06:08 PM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: James Fryer
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 04:54 AM

Yes all calypsonians adopt a character or persona. This is a distinguishing feature of calypso in my opinion -- the songs are sung from the POV of the calypsonian in character.

Even in a third-person song such as Invader's "Prince Rainer" he inserts himself into the song, saying they should have invited him: "I am positive they would have been so glad/to hear the Lord Invader from Trinidad".

Compare/contrast with modern popular music which is sung from the POV of the singer as themselves, or folk music (since the '50s revival) which is sung from the POV of the character in the song. That's why Bob Dylan could sing "It's been the ruin of many a poor girl" in "House of the rising sun" but Eric Burdon had to change it to "poor boy".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 26 Sep 11 - 06:38 PM

Thanks for that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Jun 14 - 01:51 AM

Speaking to a Trinidadian. The thing in her belly just really relates to her lady parts. Netty is a prostitute. The words if you can't stand my digging (sex), give me back my shilling refers to if she doesn't like what he's doing she can give the money back


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: Azizi
Date: 20 Jun 14 - 12:25 AM

Thanks to Mick Pearce and James Fryer for their transcriptions and notes about the song "Netty Netty". Thanks also to Guest 19 June 14 for his or her comment about the meaning of "the thing in her belly".

I quoted the transcription, and two of James Fryer's comments and Guest's comment in my blog post on this song:

http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2014/06/roaring-lion-netty-netty-calypso-with.html

Here are two minor changes that I made to that transcription:
I changed the name "Nelly" that Mick Pearce gave in the last line of Verse 1 to "Netty". Also, Mick Pearce wrote "Your dambou-vamou addlin' me brain" as line four of Verse 2. I changed that to "Tamboo Bamboo", conforming with the change that was given to that transcription by James Fryer.

Also, "high brown" refers to skin color and may be the same as the African American term "high yellow", meaning a very light skinned Black person, in this case, a light skinned Black woman.

In addition, in that post I question the generally accepted meaning of this song. I wrote that
"I wonder what was so shocking in 1936 about a prostitute having an abortion. It's likely that a number of prostitutes in those days had abortions. But perhaps what was shocking was to openly sing about that fact. That said, it seems to me that some of the more sexually explicit or at least sexually suggestive lines in that song would have been considered more shocking than the line "give me the thing you have in your belly" - For instance, do the references "gin bottle" and "tamboo bamboo" refer to a man's body part" and not [just] types of music bands?...

I wouldn't be surprised if that abortion explanation for the phrase "thing in her belly" line was a story that might have been promoted by Roaring Lion to cover up the more explicit meaning of those lyrics & other lyrics in that song. It wouldn't surprise me if anyone who was really in the know about what this song was really about chuckled when they heard that cover story and may have even publicly confirmed that that story was the real meaning of the song just to "put one over" on un-hip listeners."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Netty Netty (Rafael de Leon)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 11:46 PM

"Bamboo Tamboo"

1881 - Canboulay riots

Murder & mayhem, no fun. The powers that was banned all percussion instruments, not just African, and they set time, place & manner restrictions on everything else. Basic law & order, peace & quiet stuff.

Hollow bamboo sticks & poles, pounded on the ground, were used to get around the law but they got banned as well.


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