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Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)

DigiTrad:
BANANA BOAT SONG
BELAMENA
CHOUCOUNE
COME BACK, LIZA
EDEN WAS JUST LIKE THIS
JAMAICA FAREWELL
TURN AROUND
YELLOW BIRD


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Bill 27 Mar 97 - 04:14 PM
Arnowitt 04 Apr 97 - 10:55 PM
Bill 05 Apr 97 - 11:45 AM
Amos 23 Jul 03 - 11:30 AM
KathWestra 23 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 24 Jul 03 - 06:23 PM
KathWestra 25 Jul 03 - 09:56 AM
EBarnacle1 25 Jul 03 - 10:07 AM
Art Thieme 26 Jul 03 - 06:42 PM
GUEST 14 Mar 04 - 07:41 PM
Anglo 15 Mar 04 - 05:46 PM
Charley Noble 15 Mar 04 - 08:55 PM
GUEST,Joe_F 14 Apr 05 - 09:59 AM
GUEST,Mr Happy 14 Apr 05 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Dan Aguiar 02 Apr 11 - 09:42 AM
GUEST,Rand 18 Aug 12 - 12:05 PM
GUEST 18 Aug 12 - 01:09 PM
GUEST,Rand 18 Aug 12 - 01:57 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 May 16 - 10:21 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 May 16 - 10:24 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 May 16 - 10:27 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 17 May 16 - 12:06 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 17 May 16 - 12:18 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 14 Jun 16 - 10:19 PM
GUEST,Ellie 11 Jan 18 - 04:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 12 Jan 18 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Emmie 13 Jan 18 - 03:20 AM
GUEST,Emmie 13 Jan 18 - 03:23 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 13 Jan 18 - 05:13 AM
GUEST 14 Jan 18 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 14 Jan 18 - 06:39 PM
GUEST,silver 16 Jan 18 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 16 Jan 18 - 09:54 PM
GUEST,Emmie 16 Jan 18 - 10:41 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 17 Jan 18 - 01:05 AM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 05:45 AM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 17 Jan 18 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 05:46 PM
GUEST,Emmie 17 Jan 18 - 07:17 PM
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Subject: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Bill
Date: 27 Mar 97 - 04:14 PM

I need the lyrics for Ballymena

by Harry Belafonte


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Arnowitt
Date: 04 Apr 97 - 10:55 PM

Hmmm, is this the one about the smuggling ship? If so, I Have it on a Gordon Bok album and could get lyrics for you. Not sure if it's the same one however.


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Bill
Date: 05 Apr 97 - 11:45 AM

No, I don't think so.

It includes the lyrics:

"Brothers we are, and brothers we'll be,

I'll till the soil, and you sail the sea.

To the ship, Ballymena, you gave your best,

Until a raging sea laid your soul to rest."

(That's all I can remember)


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLY MENA (I Burgie & R DeCormier)
From: Amos
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 11:30 AM

BALLY MENA

Words and Music by : Irving Burgie and Robert DeCormier
Publisher:   
Slow Ballad
Recorded by Harry Belafonte on:
45 :
LP : LSP-2388
CD: 74321-29454-2, BVCP-8002
Also recorded by:
The Merrymen - MM012,
Lyrics:

CHORUS: Bally Mena, Bally Mena, Bally Mena in the harbor,
Bally Mena, Bally Mena, Bally Mena in the harbor--
Bring the Bally Mena to the dock
And paint the Bally Mena black.
Bring the Bally Mena to the dock
And paint the Bally Mena black.

1.Brothers we were and brothers we'll be.
I till the soil and you sail the sea.
To the ship Bally Mena you gave your best,
But a raging sea laid your soul to rest. CHORUS

2. No more to hear, to hear the tale
Of how you tamed a mighty whale,
And the girl who waited so patiently
Will walk no more by the sea. CHORUS


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: KathWestra
Date: 23 Jul 03 - 01:04 PM

Interesting. The lyrics posted are definitely (but only vaguely) related to the one Gordon Bok recorded as "Belamena." The lyrics posted seem like a bowdlerized--and then copyrighted--version of the much earthier story Gordon recorded. Since I'm at work and don't have the liner notes he wrote, I can't tell you what he said about his version. Will post those when I can. In the meantime, would be really interested in seeing if anyone else knows more history on this one.
Belamena in the Digital Tradition


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 24 Jul 03 - 06:23 PM

The "Belamena" song gordon does so well on his Folk Legacy 12-string guitar record was one I first heard done by the calypso singer, BLIND BLAKE (Blake Alphonso Higgs). Don't confuse him with the blues singer with the same name.

Art Thieme


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Subject: Lyr Add: BELAMENA (from Gordon Bok)
From: KathWestra
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 09:56 AM

Yeah, Art. I've heard the Blind Blake version too. And it's definitely a calypso. "Belamena" is on Gordon's "A Rogue's Gallery of Songs for 12-String Guitar," probably my favorite Bok recording of all. Gordon's version is attributed to "Trad.", and listening to it on the way to work this morning, my conviction remains that the Burgie/DeCormier copyrighted text is an arrangement of a traditional song. IMHO, they didn't do the song any favors with those sappy lyrics. The way Gordon sings it (he learned it from an islander with whom he sailed in the Caribbean) is far from the "slow ballad" noted in the Burgie/DeCormier version. It's a rockin' calypso. Gordon's notes about the song say that the several boats mentioned in the song (the Belamena, the Mystery, and the ?Inagua? -- not sure of sp?)were rum-runners, who eluded the authorities by changing their paint frequently. Thus the following verses (with apologies about not knowing the spelling of the third boat--don't have Folk-Legacy's booklet with lyrics, only the abbreviated CD liner notes):

BELAMENA (from Gordon Bok)

Belamena, Belamena
Belamena lies in the harbor.
Belamena, Belamena,
Belamena lies in the harbor.
Put the Belamena on the dock,
and paint the Belamena black, black black.
Paint the Belamena black, black, black
When she come back she was white.

Oh the Mystery, oh the Mystery
She used to carry whiskey.
Oh the Mystery, oh the Mystery,
the boat she is very frisky.
Put the Mystery on the dock,
and paint the Mystery black, black black.
Paint the Mystery black, black black,
When she come back she was white.

Oh Inagua(sp?), oh Inagua
She got stuck in New York harbor.
Oh Inagua, oh Inagua,
Carried a very funny cargo.
Put Inagua on the dock,
and paint the Inagua black, black, black.
Paint the Inagua black, black, black,
When she come back she was white.

repeat first verse.


Gordon Bok Recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe1l-rZD43Y


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: EBarnacle1
Date: 25 Jul 03 - 10:07 AM

I believe that Gordon got this one from Dan Aguiar of the X-Seamen, as he was doing it in the late 60's. The lyrics seem the same.


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Art Thieme
Date: 26 Jul 03 - 06:42 PM

Kath,

I always thought that what you say is Inagua is actually "Managua"----the city in Nicaragua.

EBarnacle,

Could you possibly the person named Barnacle who had a bit to do with Leadbelly? I con't recall what it was though. ---- A folklorist, possibly, who helped him navigate the ins and out of the Eastern U.S.A. folk scene?

Art Thieme


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Subject: looking for lyrics the Merrymen "Beautiful Bahamas
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Mar 04 - 07:41 PM

I am looking for the lyrics to the song "Beautiful Bahamas" by the Merrymen.Any help would be greatly appreciated.
          earthling1955 @hotmail.com


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Anglo
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 05:46 PM

Although this is no help to the original poster's question, I think I can clear up one anomaly on this thread. I happened to cross paths with Dan Aguiar over the weekend, and now have his permission to post his answer to my question following EBarnacle1's post above.

Dan says:
"No, Eric actually has the process backward. I heard the song on a live
concert tape that I made at one of Gordon's Long Island concerts in the
early 70's. I loved Gordon's intro mentioning bootleggers sly methods of
stashing booze in false bilges, adding Allison airplane engines to
slow-looking vessels and the song's story of the rumrunners carrying paint
around to disguise a boat overnight and John Townley also had several
stories of rumrunners' evasive techniques from his days sailing down in
the Carribean on his parents' boat and he liked the song too so we put it
on one of our albums as "The Rumrunner." However, I misheard the boat's
name and recorded it with "Bellanena" instead of "Bellamena."
"I have a postcard somewhere with Gordon scolding me for not
checking with him first for the correct words which he would gladly have
given me. The boats in his version were Bellamena, Mystery, and Nagua."

So the X-Seaman had it from Gordon Bok.

I agree with Kath (for what my opinion's worth) that the Belafonte song was probably a rewrite of an earlier song. I say this with no evidence whatsoever other than facts presented in this thread, not having heard the Belafonte or the Blind Blake version as far as I remember (less and less as the years go by).

As a final note, Kath does have the spellings correct in her post above. Inagua is an island group in the Bahamas (also rendered as 'Nagua in GB's lyrics).


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Subject: RE: lyrics for Ballymena by Belafonte
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 08:55 PM

Very fond of how Bok does this one, much more meat to the tale than the Irving Burgie and Robert DeCormier version. They should have been served with a contempt notice.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballymena by Belafonte
From: GUEST,Joe_F
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 09:59 AM

Could "Belamena" etc. actually be "Bellarmina"? Bok, in his liner notes, confesses great uncertainty about the phonology of his informant.

The mystery remains why I happen to be aware of the name Bellarmina, which is not terribly common. In Google it comes up mostly in the name Schola Bellarmina of a men's chorus in Brussels that does Gregorian chant. Its Web site does not reveal how it got the name.

--- Joe Fineman    joe_f@verizon.net

||: What sticks to the spoon doesn't get stirred. :||


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballymena by Belafonte
From: GUEST,Mr Happy
Date: 14 Apr 05 - 10:09 AM

many boats & ships are named for beautiful women.

guess the name 'Bella Nina' would make sense [imo]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Ballymena by Belafonte
From: GUEST,Dan Aguiar
Date: 02 Apr 11 - 09:42 AM

You can find our version on the "Heart of Oak" album still available from the Smithsonian Folkways series where we called it "The Rumrunner." John Townley arranged the "punched up" version with drums, bass, and his own inimitable mandolin riffs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Rand
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 12:05 PM

I came across a website (Florida Folklife from the WPA Collections, 1937-1942) where you can listen to an early rendition of this song. They call it "Bellamena"

Here's the URL:

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/h?ammem/flwpabib:@field%28NUMBER+@band%28afcflwpa+3384a1%29%29

They are slow to get started (warming up to it I guess), but the tune and words are very recognizable. Seems the song may have originated in the Bahamas. Here's what the site says about the song:

Item Title: Bellamena

Performer: Rolle, Theodore (Tea Roll); piano

Created/Published: January 20, 1940

Notes

duration: 4 minutes, 28 seconds

A Bahamian folksong, commemorating the role of Caribbean vessels in "rum-running," or transporting alcohol, to the United States during Prohibition (1919-1933). The 18th amendment to the Constitution, known as the Volstead Act, or Prohibition Act, had outlawed the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Enterprising "rum-runners" transported alcohol manufactured from islands in the Caribbean to the U.S., repainting their boats between trips to avoid suspicion by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The singer is from Andros Island, Bahamas.

My favorite version of the song is on the "Heart of Oak" album. I'm looking for the music.

-Rand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 01:09 PM

Another Google search resulted in another version of the song, seemingly much more modern. Here's the link:

http://www.allaroundthisworld.com/songs-caribbean.html

If you scroll down about 3/4 down the page, you'll see a section entitle "Bellamina" and there's a link that you can click to hear their song. In there version, they paint each boat a different color.

The text also mentions, "Author Zora Neale Hurston heard 'Belllamina' when she first arrived in the Bahamas, incorporated it into one of her plays and even made a recording of the song in the '30s." I also came across the same information in her autobiography. So, it seems the song was popular in Nassau back around 1930-ish.

I have also noticed that the folks from the Bahamas sing the song
in the first person, where as "white" versions of the song sing about it in the third person.

There seems quite a few versions of the songs, one of which the singer ends by seemingly singing about his woman "Maise" who drives him crazy and his wanting to paint her bottom black. LOL.

-Rand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Rand
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 01:57 PM

Another Bellamena recording...

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmemory.loc.gov%2Fafc%2Fafcflwpa%2F338%2F3385b2.mp3&h=aAQHJ-eT-&s=1

-Rand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 May 16 - 10:21 PM

Bellamena is Creolized Ballymena. It was once a fairly common name for a vessel but there were three Nassau urban legends in particular:

The oldest wasn't a bootlegger. She was an American Civil War blockade runner. Rumored to be part of the Fraser, Trenholm and Company fleet. Some peg Charleston, South Carolina millionaire George A. Trenholme (1807-1876) as the model for Captain Rhett K. Butler in Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind.

More in line with the popular "folk" theme was a steel-hulled, sailing auxiliary out of the New York Yacht Club rumored to be in the bootlegging employ of one Samuel T. Shaw, a wealthy New York arts patron and manager of the Grand Union Hotel.

But mostly it was the S.S. Ballymena a Miami – Nassau tramp-packet that was notorious for bumping booked and boarded black passengers in favor of late arriving whites. The "paint it black" was supposedly a reference to 1920s Bahamian Garveyism's short-lived plans for a competing "Black Star Line" Miami – Nassau service.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 May 16 - 10:24 PM

"Or perhaps it was that stirring piece, whose tune by some strange freak of chance has wandered to those far-off islands from the streets of Paris, and whose rhythm sets the feet to tapping and the body to swaying, while along the wharves basses and tenors take up the refrain:

Ballymena, Ballymena,
Ballymena's in de harbor,
Ballymena, Ballymena,
Oh she's hove to in de harbour.
Dey take Ballymena, put her on de dock,
An' dey paint Ballymena black.
Dey took Ballymena, hauled her on de dock,
An' dey paint Ballymena bl-aa-ck!

[Heilner, Van Campen, Adventures in Angling: A Book of Salt Water Fishing, (Cincinnati: Stewart Kidd Co., 1922, pp.227-228)]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 May 16 - 10:27 PM

"The next boat to sail for the Islands was the decrepit Ballymena, the inspiration for the old native song:

Ballymena, Ballymena in de ha'ba'
Ballymena, Ballymena, Ballymena
        in de harbour,
Dey put Ballymena on de dock
An' paint Ballymena black, black, black.

Besides me there were five white men and a white woman with a baby aboard; the rest were all native blacks. The little craft was so chockablock with cargo that the erstwhile bunks and bathroom were loaded with everything imaginable. The rain came down in torrents and for three hours I stood – there was not even a place to sit. I could only hope the rain would cease for a while at least, so I could get about and hunt for a chair of some sort.

One six-foot-tall white man was an extremely poor sailor. He seemed to have chartered one of the two cots in the main cabin or lounge. The woman with the baby had the other. Another man lay on the floor and the rest of us huddled wherever we could. Finally the Captain found a chair for me and a piece of tarpaulin to cover me as the top canvas leaked and I was drenched. When we reached the middle of the Gulf Stream the sea became more treacherous. It was marvlous how that little old Ballymena kept afloat at all.

After two days and two nights of this miserable sailing – on a trip that usually took about twenty hours at most – we finally limped into Nassau. The rain showed no sign of ceasing. We had come through the tail end of a hurricane."
(1923)


[Lythgoe, Gertrude C., The Bahama Queen (New York: Exposition Press, 1964, p.98)]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 17 May 16 - 12:06 PM

Ballymena

Ballymena, Ballymena, Ballymena in the harbor,
Ballymena, Ballymena, Ballymena in the harbor.
Bring the Ballymena to the dock and paint the Ballymena black.

[The Island Song Book: Foreword by John and Evelyn McCutcheon, Privately Printed at The Chicago Tribune Tower, Jan. 15, 1927, p.13]

Note: First appearance with music. Arranged by Charles Atkinson, an in-law of the Shaws and the family banjoist.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 17 May 16 - 12:18 PM

27. Bellamina

Round dance (AAFS 432 B)
Performed by Nassau string band
Recorded at the Lucerne Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas, in July 1935
Previously unreleased

"In autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road Zora Neale Hurston recalls hearing this song on her first visit to Nassau in 1929:

I loved the place the moment I landed. Then, that first night as I lay in bed, listening to the rustle of a coconut palm just outside my window, a song accompanied by string and drum broke out in full harmony. I got up and peeped out and saw four young men and they were singing "Bellamena," led by Ned Isaacs. I did not know him then, but I met him the next day. The song has a beautiful air, and the oddest rhythm. I found out later that it was a song about a rum-running boat that had been gleaming white, but after it had been captured by the United States Coast Guard and released, it was painted black for obvious reasons.

That was my welcome to Nassau, and it was a beautiful one. The next day I got an idea of what prolific song-makers the Bahamans are. With that West African accent grafted on English of the uneducated Bahaman, I was told, "You do anything, we put you in sing." I walked carefully to keep out of "sing."


A version of "Bellamina" similar to the one presented here was recorded by Blind Blake and His Royal Calypsos in Nassau in the early 1950s (ART ALP-4A).

Several other ships are mentioned in this song: the Mystery J. was an auxiliary yacht carrying passengers between Nassau and Miami. The S.S. Munargo belonged to the Munson Steamship Lines, performing a regular passenger service between New York and Nassau.

Bellamina, Bellamina,
Bellamina in the harbor,
Bellamina, Bellamina,
Bellamina in the harbor,
Put
Bellamina on the dock
And paint
Bellamina black, black, black.
Put
Bellamina on the dock
And paint
Bellamina black.

The
Mystery, the Mystery,
She always carry whisky,
The
Mystery, the Mystery,
She always carry whisky.
Put the
Mystery on the dock,
And paint the
Mystery black, black, black.
Put the
Mystery on the dock,
And paint the
Mystery black.

The
Maise, the Maise,
She almost made me crazy,
The
Maise, the Maise,
She almost made me crazy.
Put the
Maise on the dock
And paint the
Maise black, black, black.
Put the
Maise on the dock
And paint the
Maise black.

The
Munargo, the Munargo,
She got stuck in New York harbor,
The
Munargo, the Munargo,
Put the Munargo on the dock
And paint the
Munargo black, black, black.
Put the
Munargo on the dock
And paint the
Munargo black.
(Repeat first verse)

[Bahamas 1935: Ring Games and Round Dances, Rounder 82161-1832-2, ©℗ 2002 Rounder Records Corp.]
[Zora Neale Hurston, Dust Track on a Road (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996, pp.157-58)]


Nassau String Band - Bellamina (Bahamas, 1935)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 14 Jun 16 - 10:19 PM

Rand: "There seems quite a few versions of the songs, one of which the singer ends by seemingly singing about his woman "Maise" who drives him crazy and his wanting to paint her bottom black. LOL.


Bellamena

Another classic of the Bahamas waterfront, known wherever Bahamians have gone in Florida is "Bellamena." A version recorded in Key West includes a number of verses not to be found in the popular Harry Belafonte version.

Bellamena, Bellamena,
Bellamena
in the harbor.

Mena, Mena, Mena in the harbor,
Gonna' put Bellamena on the dock,
Gonna' paint her bottom black-black!

Oh, the Mystery, oh the Mystery,
That boat she tote the whiskey;
Gonna' put the Mystery on the dock,
Gonna' paint her bottom black-black!

Oh the Maise, oh the Maise,
That boat she drives me crazy;
Gonna' put Maise on the dock,
Gonna' paint her bottom black-black!
Now I ain't talkin 'bout her backsides-
Gonna paint her be-hind black-black!

[Kennedy, Stetson, Grits & Grunts: Folkloric Key West (Sarasota: Pineapple Press, 2008, p.158)]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Ellie
Date: 11 Jan 18 - 04:52 PM

The earliest mention I have discovered of the song is in a 1922 published book. The author had said it was a song in Paris but he was mistaken. There is a newspaper article about the Ballamena being a English ship that came from Nassau to Miami and was heading back to Nassau. So there is no way it could of been a song in Paris. https://archive.org/stream/adventuresinang01heilgoog#page/n284/mode/2up/search/peas If there is something dated earlier than 1922 please post it here.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 12 Jan 18 - 05:30 PM

Ellie: Your link doesn't work for me. If it's not Heilner's Adventures in Angling could you please post the title and author here? (see above: 16 May 16 - 10:24 PM)

The Miami-Nassau Ballymena packet boat was quite well known in its day. Notorious even. No mystery there.

I read Heilner as referring to the tune, not the lyrics or the vessel. For the melody to have been adapted/adopted from elsewhere would have been normal for the genre.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 03:20 AM

Yes the book is by Heilner. I was asking if there is an earlier reference because why would a song about a boat in Nassau have originated in Paris as to Heilner's comments in the book. Just to pinpoint the origins.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 03:23 AM

"I read Heilner as referring to the tune, not the lyrics or the vessel. For the melody to have been adapted/adopted from elsewhere would have been normal for the genre."

Oh I see, is there a version of the melody in existence anywhere?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 13 Jan 18 - 05:13 AM

I haven't even been able to trace the melody back as far as Heilner and '22, just the lyrics.

afaik the oldest music is the 1927 Atkinson arrangement. Same songbook and Shaw-McCutcheon family tree as John B.

fwiw the above, Heilner, Le Gallienne, Prouty et al are all one step removed from the Bahamian Tourist Board and nothing in that songbook is "original."

Still looking...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 18 - 04:39 PM

Oh, are you saying that there is a song book by the Bahamian Tourist Board in existence? Can you tell me how to find it please.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jan 18 - 06:39 PM

A Bahamian also made arrangements for the Ballymena. It was published in 1927. He made arrangements of several of the songs that he called Grants Town Melodies. https://bahamianology.com/hice-up-the-john-b-sail-by-austin-ira-destoup-1927/


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,silver
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 09:21 AM

I have listened to both Harry Belafonte's and the Nassau String Band's versions of the song on Youtube. Oddly, they both miss the point: "When she come back she was white"!
Hooray for Gordon Bok, a true folksinger who listened to the people and did not over-research. A brilliant guitarist to boot.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 09:54 PM

Emmie:

The Island Song Book was put out by John and Evelyn McCutcheon and The Chicago Tribune. Worldcat.org and Abebooks.com are your friends.

John T. McCutcheon was a writer and political cartoonist for the Trib and the newspaper was the Tourist Board's advertising agent in Chicago.

The McCutcheon's owned the former "Treasure Island" off Nassau, (was Salt Cay and is currently Blue Lagoon Island. The Tower was still there last I checked.... and Canopus.

I think A. Destoup was one of the constables that attended & reported on the Nassau Universal Negro Improvement Association (Garveyite) meetings were the Bellamena's name came up a few times. Might be worth checking in to.

Where did you get his dates from? (His headstone reads "Unknown.")


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 16 Jan 18 - 10:41 PM

Phil it isn't my website. However I believe you can contact the owner of the website they may be able to assist you with that.

Thanks I found the book.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 01:05 AM

Emmie,

I think the tourist board subject is better kept here maybe.

Not sure what you mean by taking the narrative too far. It was what it was.

Bellamena; John B.; Peas & Rice &c all have very well documented Bahamian histories. Those histories are overwhelmingly associated with the Bahamian government and the Bay Street, Nassau tourist industry. The latter run mostly by the Yanks.

Check your own citations and references. By the numbers, where do they come from?

Lomax, of course, the main exception. By the time he showed John B. had appeared in newspapers thousands of miles away yet it's presented as if in cultural isolation, not just from the mainland, but from Bay Street as well!

I don't buy it. You'll never convince me cultural exchange is a one way street. Nassau is to the Family Islands what the mainland is to Nassau. Big gorilla.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:09 AM

I am not trying to convince you because that would be impossible with such a narrow mind as yours however my perspective is clear and I feel more sensible.

Your question is very silly and I am not sure what you are implying by asking me where do they come from. Where does the early written history of West Africa comes from?

It wasn't until 1937 that radio was introduced to the Bahamas. The songs have been Identified in the Bahamas well before 1937.

A man who makes statements like the Bahamas only maritime activity was during the sponging period and claim it didn't have fleets like New England and Europe, makes it quite obvious to me that you are a delusional and need help, I have even heard you make idiot claims that the Bahamas doesn't have folk music.

Here is reality Americans ran the Tourist Board, now how does this equate to Americans being the originators of the music? Where were these Yanks who ran the tourist board living?

Lastly you say that culture exchange isn't one way? Like I said I think you need help with your brain. America introduced a lot of things to the Bahamas from fast food, fashion etc. Trying to use a few songs as a culture exchange argument is really ..... stupid.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:45 AM

The Bahamas has introduced conch salad, conch fritters, Junkanoo which is still held annually in Key West and Miami into the USA. Also gave the US Sidney Poitier and Bert Williams. Pioneers who opened a lot of doors for Blacks in America in the Entertainment business.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 02:38 PM

And also the tourist board was established in 1914. The John B song was said to be made in 1903. By an american band who was living and performing in The Bahamas in that year. The song was never heard before he went to The Bahamas and likely heard the song among locals.

Even the book of island songs is noted as their favourite songs they found in The Bahamas, again promotion not creation.

Because everyone knows tourist boards seek out promotion opportunities not creation of songs.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:08 PM

Emmie:

No, I don't believe in Bahamian (or American or...) exceptionalism. I'm a discographer and genealogist. I deal in documented history not emotion or social justice. You're argument isn't with me. It's with the established document record and body of knowledge.

Your position is little different from mudcatter James Fryer's in the Peas & Rice thread. My response/challenge here and now is the same as June, 2016. It's been quiet there, except for me updating Bay Street, ever since.

So... Emmie... if you have a non-Bay Street, Nassau source reference for Bellamena, John B., et al by all means post them in the appropriate thread(s.) Challenge that Prouty copyright with some hard facts.

If it's a solid source you will find a lot of support here on Mudcat. If it's speculation or BS you're going to hear about that too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:34 PM

This song was written in 1900 a year after the Great Bahamas Hurricane of 1899 and during the peak of the sponging era, hence the need for sloops to travel around Nassau . “The John B . Sails” is a folk song that first appeared internationally in a 1917 American novel, Pieces of Eight, written by Richard Le Gallienne.

I still don't get the point of Bay Street. You keep using Bay Street as if Americans owned Bay Street lol.

It is well known to anyone with knowledge that the sponging industry and fishing trade was carried on regularly in Nassau Harbour and it was an industry dominated by Bahamians.

The earliest reference I have seen of the song peas and rice is this article https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045774/1921-08-22/ed-1/seq-1/#

It says clearly that black women are singing the song while rolling the barrels to the docks. Do you have an earlier reference Mr Discographer? If so show it to me.

Even in the song itself that was released it say you can hear those natives singing merrily clearly the version released in 1932 shows that it was a native song.

You keep making silly claims when you know absolutely nothing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 05:46 PM

How many people do you know who traveled into the inner city. Ameriicans when they came her they stayed in the areas that had the hotels largely and still do but the natives were always in that area singing their songs while working.

You have this belief that because bay street is main area for tourism that the songs are somehow designed for tourist. You have to be a silly American to think something that naive. Junkanoo is a Bahamian parade that was taking place downtown since even before emancipation of slavery in 1834. Earliest reference date to the 1820's now for you, Junkanoo is a tourist product and not Bahamian because it happens on Bay street. SMH.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Bally Mena (from Harry Belafonte)
From: GUEST,Emmie
Date: 17 Jan 18 - 07:17 PM

This is going to be my last time with this conversation.

Even when you take the song the Ballymena. The song is clearly a working song. Put the ballymena on the dock and paint the ballymena black. Clearly a working song, it doesn't talk about smuggling or voyages between ports.

It was black labourers who would have been painting those ships and singing the song and anyone who argues against that is clearly delusional.


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