The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #32772   Message #1014868
Posted By: Joe Offer
08-Sep-03 - 01:33 PM
Thread Name: Origin: Sloop John B
Subject: RE: Sloop John B
Somebody suggested that I paste this into this thread. Sounds like a good idea.
-Joe Offer-
Thread #2804   Message #678793
Posted By: GUEST,
29-Mar-02 - 01:46 AM
Thread Name: The Story BEHIND the song!
Subject: RE: The Story BEHIND the song!

...About John B.: I've heard from one knowledgable source that the bad things that happen on that sloop are all the result of naming the boat "John B." In Afro-Carribean culture, nobody with a surname beginning with "B" (supposedly) will name a son "John," because the result ("John B." sounds too much like "jumby" -- a west african (Wolof/Bambera) term referring to this undead thing we've anglicized to "zombie" -- apparently it won't do to mention these creatures; "speak of the devil," and all that.

"Back to Back/Belly to Belly" is a song that passed for smutty *and* multicultural in middle-class circles in the sixties. It was on an album called "The Big Bamboo" that was sold in swingin' joints with a carribean theme. My parents had a copy, and John Updike includes it in a scene in *Rabbit is Rich*.