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Origins: Sly Mongoose

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MorwenEdhelwen1 26 May 11 - 06:18 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 26 May 11 - 07:17 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 27 May 11 - 12:17 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 May 11 - 05:52 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 May 11 - 06:34 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 May 11 - 08:27 PM
Joe Offer 28 May 11 - 10:29 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 May 11 - 02:40 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 May 11 - 02:42 AM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 May 11 - 06:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 May 11 - 07:25 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 29 May 11 - 10:22 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 11 - 04:07 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 May 11 - 01:38 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 11 - 06:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 May 11 - 06:32 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 11 - 06:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 May 11 - 08:43 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 30 May 11 - 11:00 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 May 11 - 04:11 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 May 11 - 12:40 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 31 May 11 - 07:12 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 01 Jun 11 - 07:39 AM
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Q (Frank Staplin) 12 Jun 11 - 05:34 PM
MorwenEdhelwen1 27 Jun 11 - 09:17 PM
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James Fryer 04 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM
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Subject: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 26 May 11 - 06:18 AM

"Sly mongoose, you name gone abroad
Sly mongoose you name gone abroad.
Mongoose go into white man's kitchen
Took out one of his fattest chickens".
Can anyone provide any information as to the first date of collection for this traditional song?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 26 May 11 - 07:17 AM

Refresh. Anyone have information on the history of this song? According to the "Calypso In New York" liner notes, this song is known all over the Caribbean region. I know that the Jamaican version of this song mentions Alexander Bedward, a popular nonconformist preacher with a significant following who is said to have claimed to be the Second Coming. Some of my research claims that this is a satirical song about Bedward. Other versions, such as the one with the chorus and first verse quoted by Lord Invader on the "Calypso In New York", refer to "the white man's kitchen". Which version came first? Can anyone here shed light?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 27 May 11 - 12:17 PM

I have a recording of SLY MONGOOSE dated to 1925. It is performed by Sam Manning and appears on the CD CALYPSO PIONEERS, Rounder CD 1039, issued in 1989. No specific information about the song is provided in the sparse booklet notes.

So, you might search Sam Manning online, and/or contact Rounder Records to see if they can help...or if the CD is in print.

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 May 11 - 05:52 PM

I found a version of Sam Manning's Sly Mongoose on Myspace. It appears on the CD "Calypso-Best of Trinidad". I'll try and get the CDs- this and "Calypso Pioneers" and look at their liner notes.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 May 11 - 06:34 PM

To be specific, it appears on CD 1 of "Calypso-Best of Trinidad".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 May 11 - 08:27 PM

Wikipedia- Alexander Bedward

Wikipedia on Alexander Bedward, the jamaican Revivalist mentioned in the Jamaican versions of this song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 11 - 10:29 PM

John or Morwen, would you like to make a stab at posting the lyrics?
Thanks.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 May 11 - 02:40 AM

Here they are:
SLY MONGOOSE
(from "Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica" Collected by Noel Dexter and Geoffrey Taylor, published by Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston, Jmaica, 2007.

Chorus:
Sly mongoose, yu name gone abroad,
Sly mongoose, yu name gone abroad.

Verse 1

Mongoose go eena Bedward kitchen,
Tek out one a 'im righteous chicken,
Put it eena 'im wescut pocket,
Sly mongoose.

(Chorus)

Verse 2

Mongoose tek up a half a brick,
Bedward tek up a piece a stick,
Mongoose say, "If yu lick, a slip."
Sly mongoose.

(Chorus)

Verse 3

Mongoose say 'im like rice and punkin,
Bedward say 'im like cornmeal dumplin'
Mongoose say, "Yu no know good something."
Sly mongoose.

(Chorus)

Verse 4

Bedward draw a six-shooter gun,
Mongoose tek up a pint a rum,
Bedward halla, "Lawd, watch di fun."
Sly mongoose.

(Chorus)

Verse 5

Mongoose go eena Palace Theatre,
Swear to king him a operator,
Wille Willie say, "Come back later".
Sly mongoose.
(Chorus)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 May 11 - 02:42 AM

Most of the Jamaican versions of this song mention something about Bedward's daughter.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 May 11 - 06:29 PM

Sorry, correction of spelling. "Jamaica".


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Run Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 May 11 - 07:25 PM

Morwen, below is a similar version of the song, set out in the form that is preferred here, for easier 'harvest' if it is deemed worthy of putting into the DT, the repository of songs at mudcat.

Lyr. Add: Run Mongoose

Chorus:
Run Mongoose, yu name gone abroad
Run mongoose, yu name gone abroad.

1
Mongoose, go in a *Bedward kitchen
Tek out one a him righteous chicken
Put in a him waistcoat pocket
Slide Mongoose.
2
Mongoose tek up a half-a-brick
Bedward tek up a piece a stick
Mongoose say if you lick I slip you
*Slide Mongoose.
3
Mongoose say him like rice an' pumpkin,
Bedward say him like cornmeal dumplin',
Mongoose say you no know good something
*Slide mongoose.
4
Bedward draw a six-shooter gun,
Mongoose tek up a pint a rum.
Bedward halla: Lord, watch de fun.
*We all gone in.
5
Mongoose say him a *Backra man
Bedward say you a *red-Ibo man,
Mongoose say: look *how 'im 'tan'!
Slide Mongoose
6
Mongoose go in a Palace Theatre
Swear to king him a operator
Willy-Willy say come back later.

Slide- sly? Or is their rather slithery movement meant?
Bedward- cult leader who led a fanatical outburst of Revivalism.
We all gone in- trouble brewing.
Backra- boss man.
red-Ibo- fairer skin than most central Africans, like Ibo tribesmen.
how....- look at him.

From "Jamaican Folk Songs," Selections by the Frats Quintet of Jamaica. Edited by Edward Seaga. Insert in 1955 LP.

Copied from www.mentomusic.com

(Digression- The mongoose was introduced into Hawai'i to control rats in sugar cane, but is wreaking havoc among native bird species and has proven of little use in rat control. Its value in the Caribbean is doubtful.)

(Suggestion- Not much point in refreshing a thread more than once in 24 hours. Many mudcat users only check in once a day or less often then that.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 29 May 11 - 10:22 PM

Thanks, Q. I hope it (and the tune) are placed in the DT. I've heard that the "mongoose" in this Jamaican version was a con man or government official who attempted to court one of Bedward's daughters. I wonder whether the Bedward verses are an update of this song, which is apparently known all over the Caribbean, and when and where the song was first collected.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 11 - 04:07 AM

A version of "Sly Mongoose" talking about "Bedward's daughter".

"Sly Mongoose" another version


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Subject: Lyr. Add: Dip Dem, Bedward (Jamaica)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 11 - 01:38 PM

Baptismal song-
Dip dem Bedward, dip dem
Dip dem in de healing stream.

Lyr. Add: Dip Dem, Bedward
Traditional, Sam West version, 1950s

Chorus:
Dip dem, Bedward, dip dem,
Dip dem in the healing stream.
Dip dem sweet but not too deep.
Dip dem to cure bad feeling.
1
Some come from de naat
Wid dem face full a wart
Dip dem de healing stream.
Some come from de souf
wid dem big yabba mouf
Dip dem in the healing stream.
Chorus:
2
Some come from de east
dem was leggo beast.
Dip dem in de healing stream.
Some come from de west
dem was perfect pes'.
Dip dem in de healing stream.

"Bedward believed people could be cured of illnesses by being baptized in the Hope River. People from all over the island came to him for this reason."

Lyrics and notes from a 1950s LP of Sam West songs.

Copied from www.mentomusic.com

The past month saw several articles about Alexander Bedward whose church was especially strong in the 1890s and later. He was judged insane in the 1920s and died in 1930 in an asylum.
The articles appeared because an American preacher also forecast the 'rapture' for May 21.

I could find little about Bedward's personal life or family, so cannot comment on the Geographic item about the 'mongoose'.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 11 - 06:19 PM

1890s- that means if this song was originally a satire against Bedward, it must come from around that period or after. Was it a satire? Or a trickster ballad with references to Bedward folk-processed in?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 11 - 06:32 PM

Very little information on Caribbean songs and their backgrounds. The Jamaica Gleaner newpaper started in 1834, might have local items of interest. All of the material is digitized. One has to subscribe to look. Newspapers used to use songs and poems as filler. It also may have printed some of the local gossip.
A brief one-month subscription might be enough to go through the material, if one scans rapidly- it might be disappointing, however.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 11 - 06:43 PM

Does anyone here have an idea of when this song was first collected?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 May 11 - 08:43 PM

Found a note in mentomusic.com that suggests it was written by Slim and Sam in the 1930s. No further information.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 30 May 11 - 11:00 PM

Where does the 1925 recording come from if it was written in the 1930s? Q, could you link to the note in mentomusic?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 May 11 - 04:11 AM

Refresh. Is there an example of this song (with a mention of Bedward's daughter) in any Jamaican folk song collections?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 May 11 - 12:40 PM

You are asking some questions that cannot be answered without a thesis level of study of old papers, notebooks, and locally issued recordings that are not available outside of a handful of collectors.
Mento music is perhaps the best source we have, collector-based, but field research either has not been done or is buried in theses in university holdings. Like many old UK songs, the exact origins may be lost.

Perhaps you should consider origins of mento-Jamaican folk as a graduate college thesis. It wouold involve on site investigation and search for old comments and recollections in reports, papers, memories.

Here is a link to a Gleaner article which has the same information on Slim & Sam* as that on the large mentomusic site:
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20030629/arts/arts1.html
It could be a cover of an earlier recording, or collected by them.

Look up *Sam Manning and Lionel Belasco at mentomusic.
I hadn't seen the Jazz Oracle catalogue before this morning. It shows a circa Dec. 30, 1925 date for a recording of "Sly Mongoose," attributed to Lionel Belasco. Two Sam Manning cds are listed.

http://www.jazzoracle.com/catalogue/BDW_8028.asp
also
http://www.jazzoracle.com/catalogue/BDW_8029.asp


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 31 May 11 - 07:12 PM

Q, thanks for the suggestion. The July school holidays in Australia are coming up (I am still in high school) so I might try and conduct some research then. I just noticed you added the lyrics of "Murder in de Market" and mentioned Edric Connor's book. Is it possible that he collected a version of "Sly Mongoose" as well?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 01 Jun 11 - 07:39 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 01:55 AM

Coincidentally, neither this song, "Cudelia Brown", or "Day Dah Light", appear in "Jamaican Song and Story", although "Dip Dem Bedward" does. Perhaps Walter Jekyll didn't collect over an extensive area.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 01:58 AM

Something else I thought of: Can anyone tell me whether or not this song appears in the 1958 "Folk Songs of Jamaica".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 12 Jun 11 - 05:34 PM

Morwen, you are making assumptions that "Cudelia Brown" and "Day dah Light" are pre-1904, or uncollected by Jekyll.
Jekyll states that his songs are a selection, and that they varied from district to district.
Interesting line of inquiry- Is there an archive of Jekyll material somewhere?

Murray, 1952 "Folk Songs of Jamaica,"- should get to this book soon. Dunno if it has "Sly Mongoose."
It was printed in an insert dated 1949 for a Frats Quintet recording, with the title "Run Mongoose."

Your Australian libraries might have a copy of Claude McKay, 1912 reprint 1969, Songs of Jamaica. The reprint, as well as the original is rare, $125 for the only copy I found listed for sale. I don't know what songs are included.
McKay's "Constab Ballads" is very rare.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose- three other verses
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 09:17 PM

Three verses from Sam Manning's recording not found in other versions:
"Let us tell the story how mongoose slide from Jamaica,
Let us tell the story how mongoose slide from Jamaica,
Mongoose a newspaper reporter,
Took Bedward the preacher's daughter,
Baptise her in his holy water,
Sly mongoose."

(Chorus, then the usual verse about Bedward's kitchen, ends with: "That's why he slide from Jamaica".)

Mongoose slide from Jamaica,
Then he slide right down to Cuba,
Won't stop 'til he reach America,
Sly mongoose.

(Chorus)

Mongoose tell a high-brown mama,
"Go 'way gal, get another puppa,
I love your sister, oh, that's better."
Sly mongoose."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 09:58 PM

Both Sam Manning (from Trinidad) and Lionel Belasco recorded the song; both had come to New York before 1940. The recordings belong to the 1930s. Belasco's recording is on Rounder, and should be available. Jack Snead also recorded it in the 1930s.

Information from www.mentomusic.com


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 27 Jun 11 - 10:10 PM

I thought Sam Manning's recording was 1925.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:19 AM

Harry Belafonte also sang this as part of a medley. Not sure if he ever sang a full version. "Mongoose slide on a telegraph wire, wrap his tail and it caught fire, then they sent for the Black Maria, Sly Mongoose."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:43 AM

Another thing - is it possible that the "daughter" mentioned in the Barbadian(?) version I posted- and it is quite possible that a "Bedward" version existed in Barbados- Bedward apparently had a significant following- was not actually his daughter but a young female follower? Considering that Bedwardism seemed to be a sect of the Spiritual Baptists- known to refer to each other by kinship terms- and that Bedward considered himself to almost be the Second Coming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 07 Jul 11 - 08:50 AM

Sorry "Spiritual Baptist" should be "Revival Zion".


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 12:06 AM

Refresh. Anyone want to discuss this?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: James Fryer
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 06:32 AM

It's a lovely tune. I've never performed it as I don't have a set of lyrics I am happy with. I've always felt there should be a pre-Bedward set of lyrics but never found them.

I like Invader's version a lot, which is really a picong against Houdini ("And he won it with Sly Mongoose") who had the cheek to enter, and win, a New York calypso competition with this venerable song.

Here is a brief clip of someone playing it on a bamboo saxophone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taEnME5_-Ts


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 08:23 AM

Thanks, James! Incidentally, my brother hates this song. But I guess we all have different tastes. As for a pre-Bedward set of lyrics, you could sing the "white man's kitchen" version, changing the lyrics if you want to change them.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 08:26 AM

And also,in the Invader version he implies that he and the other singers were all performing old songs as well.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 01:41 PM

Made me wonder when the small Indian mongoose was introduced to the Caribbean to fight rats.
Four males and 5 females were imported in 1872 and released on a sugar plantation north of Kingston, Jamaica. They learned the multiplication table and spread rapidly, and soon were introduced to the other Caribbean Islands and Hawai'i.

http://mongoose.wsc.ma.edu/node/3
The note has a list of references.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 04 Sep 11 - 06:12 PM

Thanks Q! That was really interesting!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 02:06 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: James Fryer
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 07:41 AM

@Morwen: I do the 'master's/white man's kitchen' and that gives me a chorus, but no verses that would make sense to a modern audience.

@Q: That would give us a lower time limit for the song then! Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 05 Sep 11 - 05:15 PM

Anyone want to discuss the "daughter" reference in the song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: MorwenEdhelwen1
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 03:43 AM

Refresh.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sly Mongoose
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Sep 11 - 01:39 PM

Unless something can be found about Bedward's family, if any (nothing found in google), the reference to a daughter cannot verified.


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