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Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)

DigiTrad:
JOSHUA GONE BARBADOS


Related thread:
Tune Req: Joshua Gone Barbados - artist (7)


Barbara Shaw 13 Feb 98 - 11:40 AM
Paul Stamler 13 Feb 98 - 12:34 PM
Jaxon 13 Feb 98 - 12:52 PM
Phideaux 13 Feb 98 - 01:56 PM
Barbara Shaw 15 Feb 98 - 11:58 AM
Susan of DT 15 Feb 98 - 12:26 PM
Steve in Wisconsin 15 Feb 98 - 07:26 PM
Dale Rose 16 Feb 98 - 02:12 AM
Jaxon 16 Feb 98 - 10:11 AM
16 Feb 98 - 10:52 AM
Stefan Wirz 11 Jun 00 - 02:05 PM
GUEST,dick greenhaus 11 Jun 00 - 11:32 PM
GUEST,Roger the skiffler 12 Jun 00 - 11:32 AM
JedMarum 12 Jun 00 - 10:15 PM
Susan A-R 12 Jun 00 - 10:17 PM
GUEST,Passing Stranger 13 Jun 00 - 04:36 AM
dwditty 13 Jun 00 - 06:09 AM
Max Tone 15 Oct 00 - 07:12 PM
GUEST,Rockaday Johnny 16 Oct 00 - 11:05 AM
Mountain Dog 16 Oct 00 - 12:33 PM
jofield 16 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM
GUEST,Tom Dowling 16 Oct 00 - 10:22 PM
RWilhelm 17 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM
GUEST,lindsay 17 Oct 04 - 10:19 AM
breezy 17 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM
Herga Kitty 17 Oct 04 - 12:04 PM
Mark Ross 17 Oct 04 - 01:38 PM
Padre 17 Oct 04 - 02:17 PM
DonMeixner 17 Oct 04 - 07:06 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Oct 04 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,lindsay 18 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM
open mike 18 Oct 04 - 04:33 PM
Greg F. 18 Oct 04 - 06:28 PM
GUEST,Philippa 21 Feb 09 - 09:19 AM
Barry Finn 21 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM
Ron Davies 21 Feb 09 - 12:08 PM
Mark Ross 21 Feb 09 - 11:22 PM
breezy 22 Feb 09 - 01:59 PM
Herga Kitty 22 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM
GUEST,MS 28 May 09 - 03:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 28 May 09 - 04:30 PM
GUEST,Mark Rosenthal 12 Nov 12 - 09:44 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 13 Nov 12 - 08:43 AM
Jim Dixon 13 Nov 12 - 11:18 AM
GUEST,Mark Rosenthal 04 Jan 16 - 04:01 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Jan 16 - 06:21 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Jan 16 - 06:28 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 04 Jan 16 - 07:35 PM
GUEST,Gilly 05 Jan 16 - 06:50 PM
Murray MacLeod 26 Sep 16 - 07:28 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 26 Sep 16 - 08:39 PM
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Subject: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 11:40 AM

Does anyone have the music and/or lyrics to this song? Has anyone heard of it?


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Subject: ADD: Joshua Gone Barbados^^^
From: Paul Stamler
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 12:34 PM

Yes, I've heard of it. The song was written by Eric Von Schmidt; I don't have the music, but here are the words:

JOSHUA GONE BARBADOS
(Eric Von Schmidt)

Cane standin' in the field
Gettin' old and red
Lot of misery in Georgetown
Three folks lyin' dead
Joshua head of government
Say "Strike for better pay"
Cane cutters strikin'
Joshua gone away

(chorus:)
Joshua gone Barbados
Stayin' in a big hotel
People on St. Vincent's
Got many sad tales to tell

Sugar mill owner told the strikers
"I don't need you to cut my cane
Bring in another bunch of fellas
Your strike be all in vain
Yeah, bring in a bunch of tough fellas
Bring 'em from Zion Hill
Bring 'em in a bus to Georgetown
You know somebody get killed"
Police givin' protection
New fellas cuttin' cane
Strikers can't do nothin'
Their strike be all in vain
(chorus)

Sonny Child, the overseer
I swear he's an ignorant man
He's walkin' through the cane field
Pistol in his hand
Sonny Child, he curse the strikers
You know he wave his pistol 'round
They're beating Sonny with a cutlass
They beat him to the ground
Cane standin' in the field
Gettin' old and red
Sonny Child lyin' in the hospital
Pistol by his bed
(chorus)

I wish I could go to England
Trinidad or Curacao
People on the island
They got no place to go
There's a lot of misery in Georgetown
You can hear the women bawl
Joshua gone Barbados
He don't care at all
^^^

- Eric Von Schmidt (BMI)

The song was recorded by Howard Bursen on his first album, "Cider in the Kitchen" (Folk-Legacy FSI-74). I don't know if Sandy Paton still stocks cassettes of this one, but if so, it's a fine recording.

Peace. Paul



Added to the Digital Tradition April 1998.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Jaxon
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 12:52 PM

Tom Rush made a great recording of this song. I think it's on his Classic Rush album. Jack Murray


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Phideaux
Date: 13 Feb 98 - 01:56 PM

The Airport in St. Vincent is E.T. Joshua. If it's the same guy, I guess someone liked him or he really ran the place with an iron hand.

Bob Schwarer


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 15 Feb 98 - 11:58 AM

Thanks, folks! My husband has been talking about finding these lyrics off and on for 30 years. While I'm here, I'm also looking for a Jim Kweskin tune called (maybe) "Guabe, Guabe" which we only know 2 lines of, in some foreign language, maybe Swahili. Not the typical bluegrass stuff that we usually do, but a very catchy tune.
Guabi Guabi thread here (click)


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Susan of DT
Date: 15 Feb 98 - 12:26 PM

Barbara - Start a new thread titled Guabe, Guabe so people who don't know Joshua gone Barbados will see it.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Steve in Wisconsin
Date: 15 Feb 98 - 07:26 PM

Hi All-

Tom Rush has a wonderful live version on "New Year" which is available on CD from Tom's company (sorry I don't have the URL, but if you find it, urge him to reissue "Late Night Radio" on CD-from the same concert, I believe, and a great album as well).

The chords to Joshua G.... are mostly G and C.

(G)Cane standin' in the field Gettin' old and (C) red Lot of misery in (G) Georgetown (C) Three folks lyin' (G) dead Something in that order. Hope it helps!

Acoustically,

Steve


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Dale Rose
Date: 16 Feb 98 - 02:12 AM

Joshua Gone Barbados - Von Schmidt, Eric 1.Bursen, Howard. Cider in the Kitchen, Folk Legacy FSI-074, LP (1980), cut# 10 2.Rush, Tom. Take a Little Walk with Me, Elektra EKL-308, LP (1966), cut#A.07 3.Von Schmidt, Eric. Eric Sings von Schmidt, Prestige 7384, LP (1964), cut#A.03

You guys pretty well covered the recordings! Here is what is listed at Folk Music On Recordings, always a good place to start when you are looking for who did what.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Jaxon
Date: 16 Feb 98 - 10:11 AM

I've been playing it in C. (C)Joshua gone to Bar(F)bados, (C)Staying in a big Ho(F)tel, (C)People on St.(Am)Vincents,(F)Got many sad (C)tales to tell.> It keeps on repeating throughouy the song.

Jack Murray


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Subject: ADD Chords: Joshua Gone Barbados
From:
Date: 16 Feb 98 - 10:52 AM

I picked up this up on the net a while back. It's a verson of Tom Rush's rendition

Jim McCarthy



  Tom Rush       Joshua Gone Barbados

G C
Cane standing in the field getting old and red
G C G
Lots of misery in Georgetown three men lying dead
G
Joshua head of the government
C
Said strike for better pay
G
Cane cutters are striking
C G
Joshua gone away
G C
Joshua gone Barbados staying in a big hotel
G C G
People on St Vincent got a many sad tale to tell
G
Sugar mill owner told the strikers
C
I don't need you to cut my cane
G
Bring in another another bunch of fellas
C G
You strike me all in vain
G
Get a bunch of tough fellas
C
Bring them from the Zion hills
G
Bring them on a bus to Georgetown
C G
You know somebody will get killed
G
Sonny Child the the overseer
C
Swear he's an ignorant man
G
Walking thru the cane fields
C G
Pistol in his hand
G C
Joshua gone Barbados just like he don't know
G C G
People on the island got no place to go
G
Police giving protection
C
New fellas cutting cane
G C G
Strikers can't do nothin strike is all in vain
G C
And Sonny Child he cursed the strikers waved his pistol round
G
They're beating Sonny with the cutters
C G
Beat him to the ground
G
There's a lot of misery in Georgetown
C
You can hear the woman bawl
G
Joshua gone Barbados
C G
He don't care at all
G C
Cane standing in the fields getting old and red
G C G
Sonny Child is in the hospital pistol on his bed
G C
I wish I could go to England Trinidad or Curaco
G C G
People on the island got no place to go
G C
Joshua gone Barbados staying in a big hotel
G C G
People on St Vincents got many sad tales to tell


From Tom Rush Take A Little Walk With Me
1966 Elektra Records


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Stefan Wirz
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 02:05 PM

Recently I un'covered' a few other cover-versions of that song

If interested, look at the Eric von Schmidt discography


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: GUEST,dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jun 00 - 11:32 PM

The Von Schmidt album is out on CD (at CAMSCO, of course). Guabi Guabi is in DigiTrad


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 11:32 AM

It's also ( the Erik Von Schmidt version) on one of the "Folk at Newport" compilations, which is,I'm sure, available from those fine folks at Camsco or Folk Legacy as well as from the big stores.
RtS


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: JedMarum
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 10:15 PM

Joshua Gone Barbados? I've loved this song for years, and sing it, occasionally. Tom Rush does have a wonderful versionof the song!


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Susan A-R
Date: 12 Jun 00 - 10:17 PM

Arlo Guthrie used to do Guabi Guabi, and made up some hilarious translations of the song (as only Arlo can. He did the same with Tzena Tzena (sp?) Don't know if he recorded it but it's fun.

Glad to have the lyrics to the Joshua Gone Barbados song. I heard it on the radio long ago, and had thought that Tom Rush had written it. Glad for the clarification.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: GUEST,Passing Stranger
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 04:36 AM

Martin Simpson did a cracking version of "Joshua" on an early album.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: dwditty
Date: 13 Jun 00 - 06:09 AM

Ric Von Scmidt released Baby, Let Me Lay It On You in 1995 on Gazelle (Sam Charters' label - PO Box 527, Mansfield Center, CT). Joshua is on it as well. A friend of mine saw Eric at a Chris Smither concert a few weeks ago. He still lives in Westport.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Max Tone
Date: 15 Oct 00 - 07:12 PM

I have a crackin' version by Brendan Croker + 5 o'Clock Shadows, from a live tape in Dundee, c. 1989. stormin' tune. Rob


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: GUEST,Rockaday Johnny
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 11:05 AM

Cindy Mangsen used to do a wonderful version of Joshua in the eigthies..just fantastic -- Art Thieme also did great guitar & vocal version of Guabi Guabi...


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Mountain Dog
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 12:33 PM

For the record (or "disc" for those who perfer the digital paradigm), there's a version of Joshua Gone Barbados by Dylan and the Band on the definitive 5-CD set of "The Basement Tapes", too.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: jofield
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 09:43 PM

Ric von Schmidt based "Joshua" on an actual incident that happened on St. Vincent in the late '50s or early '60s. He told me he exagerated a little for dramatic effect -- there were not three deaths, though there were plenty of violent doings. Mr. Joshua was a real governor of St. Vincent, so that is almost certainly his name on the airport.

James, from Paris


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Subject: RE: KWEKSIN AND GUABE, GUABE
From: GUEST,Tom Dowling
Date: 16 Oct 00 - 10:22 PM

That fine tune is on the classic Jim Kweskin and the Jugband album called, appropriately enough "Jug Band Music"

When they sang it at Town Hall back in the 1970's, Jim Kweskin asked, "how can you not love a song with the words "Easy Weechie Le Banana"?

(Also, see related string on Buffalo Skinners, soon to be posted.)

Tom Dowling


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: RWilhelm
Date: 17 Oct 00 - 11:22 AM

Joshua Gone Barbados was also covered by Mother Vineyard's Jug Band

An MP3 of it can be downloaded from their site.


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Subject: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: GUEST,lindsay
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 10:19 AM

Hi,
I've got the words and chords but does anybody know anything about the history. when was the strike and what actually happened?


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: breezy
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 11:59 AM

ask MCP he sings it, thats how I know it.

Dave van Ronk?


MCP plays at St Albans tonight


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 12:04 PM

Eric Von Schmidt?


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: Mark Ross
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 01:38 PM

It is Eric Von Schmidt, based on an actual incident in the West Indies. It was also recorded by Tom Rush.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: Padre
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 02:17 PM

The events occurred on St. Vincent, [one of the last places on earth where whaling from shore occurs] Ebenezer Joshua, the founder of the People's Political party (PPP) called a general strike against the sugar growers, which turned violent.


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: DonMeixner
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 07:06 PM

Listen to Howie Bursen's exceptional fine job on this song on his Folk-Lethargy recording "Cider In The Kitchen"

(Heh, sorry Sandy :-))

Don


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 07:21 PM

I say, I say, I say!

What do you say?

My wife's gone to the West Indies!

Jamacia?

No, she went of her own accord!

BOOM! BOOM!


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: GUEST,lindsay
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 02:36 PM

Hi,
yes it is by Eric Vonschmidt.
I was, and still am, looking for a bit more detail on the circumstances, assuming it did happen. Any help or directions as to where might prove useful would be appreciated. I don't like singing a song without knowing a little about it (if I can)
Regards,
Lindsay


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: open mike
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 04:33 PM

this is also recorded by "FOURTOLD" on their eponymous album
(Steve Gillette, Ciny Mangasen, Michael Smith, Ann Hills)
http://www.compassrosemusic.com/fourtold.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: joshua gone barbados
From: Greg F.
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 06:28 PM

What you need is a searchable newspaper archive from the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's. Unfortunately, I don't have access to any but the NY Times, which indexes several articles mentioning Mr. Joshua, but only in the late 1960's.

Here's some basic info to get you started; more intensive web searches will probably turn up more.

http://www.caricom.org/uwi%20project/web%20page%20-20may%202003/ebenezer_theodore_joshua.htm
    EBENEZER THEODORE JOSHUA
    23rd May 1908 – March 1991

    Ebenezer Theodore Joshua was founder and leader of the People's Political Party (PPP) of St. Vincent. When he died in March 1991, he had dominated the politics of St. Vincent for more than forty years.

    Born in 1908, he was educated at Kingstown Anglican School and by correspondence at the Chicago School of Science and Physics. Mr. Joshua then taught at schools in St. Vincent, Trinidad and British Guiana.

    He first entered the political arena as a candidate for the Uriah Butler Party in the San Fernando Legislative Council General Election in 1950. Mr. Joshua then returned to St. Vincent in 1951 and founded the Federated Industrial and Agricultural Workers' Union (FIAWU) of which he was President at the same time as he held the leadership of the PPP. He was elected to the Legislative Council of his own country as a member for North Leeward in 1951. In 1957, he was elected to the Legislative Council but this time as a member for Central Windward and appointed Minister of Trade and Production. In 1960, Mr. Joshua was appointed Chief Minister and Minister of Finance, and retained this post for three consecutive terms. In 1972 he was appointed Deputy Premier.
*****************
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2345.htm
    POLITICAL CONDITIONS
    The People's Political Party (PPP), founded in 1952 by Ebenezer Joshua, was the first major political party in St. Vincent. The PPP had its roots in the labor movement and was in the forefront of national policy prior to independence, winning elections from 1957 through 1966. With the development of a more conservative black middle class, however, the party began to steadily lose support, until it collapsed after a rout in the 1979 elections. The party dissolved itself in 1984.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: GUEST,Philippa
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 09:19 AM

I want to reintroduce this song to my repetoire so I'd like more information on the historical background.


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Barry Finn
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 10:47 AM

Here's a link to a blog that has more infomation on Ebenezer Theodore "Papa" Joshua, Sonny Child, the stike & the Island 7 those times.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Joshua Gone Barbados
From: Ron Davies
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 12:08 PM

It's a great, hypnotic song--but it seems to have gotten many of the details wrong--especially the attitude of Joshua himself, and the fact that nobody was killed.

Reading the information linked to above, it's evident that the song was based on a rumor--which proved false, and somewhat defamatory of Joshua.

That said, I still love to hear the song.

I wonder how many people believe the song's details are correct. It's hard to avoid if the song is the only context in which you know the history of the strike.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: Mark Ross
Date: 21 Feb 09 - 11:22 PM

I think there's a version of GUABI GUABI on YouTube done by Pat Sky.
GUABI GUABI





Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmid
From: breezy
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 01:59 PM

Thanks for that Barry , it made for interesting reading.

i was introduced to the the song by catter MCP


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 22 Feb 09 - 07:57 PM

So was I, we sang it at our Twickenham folk club gig ....

Kitty


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,MS
Date: 28 May 09 - 03:40 PM

John Cash nailed "Joshua" in 1984 on the "Johnny 99" album.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 28 May 09 - 04:30 PM

"nailed"- crucified?

A day in advance of National Heroes Day, St. Vincent Grenadines, March 12, 2009, commemorated the life and times of Ebenezer Theodore Joshua, a prominent candidate for National Hero.
Paramount Chief Chatoyer is the sole national hero at present. Robert Milton Cato is another candidate.

The Vincentian, published March 12, 2009.

The song is inaccurate, the late Mr. Joshua was well-regarded.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Mark Rosenthal
Date: 12 Nov 12 - 09:44 PM

This is a wonderful song, but unfortunately Von Schmidt got the facts of Ebenezer Joshua's trip quite wrong. A few years ago I came across a webpage in which the author wrote that his father, who was an official with the U.S. State Dept. at the time, had personally arranged for Joshua to travel to a regional economic planning conference on Barbados. The trip was planned long before the strike, and the people on the island were in desperate need of some source of income other than sugar cane, so portraying Joshua's trip as a cowardly betrayal of the people is a gross mischaracterization. Unfortunately I can no longer find where I saved that post or the URL where I originally saw it.

Karl Eklund, who retired from the U.S. to the island of St. Vincent, knew the song and when he learned of Eric Von Schmidt's death in 2007 he wrote a blog posting entitled "Joshua Gone Barbados. Eric Gone, Too.(v2)". St. Vincent is small enough that Eklund knows people who had known the major people mentioned in the song, including Ebenezer Joshua and Sonny Child. From his own research it's pretty clear that Eric got the story wrong. Joshua wasn't the hated tyrant Von Schmidt makes him out to be. He was actually a rather poor man who was quite beloved by the people.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 13 Nov 12 - 08:43 AM

You must hear Howie Bursen's version!
It's just terrific!
Lovely guitar accompaniment, as well.


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Subject: Lyr Add: JOSHUA GONE BARBADOS (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 13 Nov 12 - 11:18 AM

Here's my transcription from Spotify. Most of the words are the same as the version posted earlier, but some verses are in a different order. I don't think any part of this song can fairly be called a "chorus." The tune is the same for every couplet.


JOSHUA GONE BARBADOS
As sung by Eric Von Schmidt on "Living on the Trail" (2002)

Oh well, the cane standin' in the field, gettin' old and red.
A lot o' trouble in Georgetown; three men lyin' dead.

There's Joshua's head of the government; he says, "Strike for better pay."
The cane cutters they strikin', Lord, but Joshua's gone away.

Well, Joshua's gone Barbados, stayin' in a big hotel.
The people on St. Vincent got many sad tales to tell.

Oh well, the sugar mill owners told the strikers, "I don't need you to cut my cane.
Bring in another bunch of fellas; well, your strike be all in vain."

And a lot o' mis'ry in Georgetown; you can hear the women bawl.
Joshua's gone Barbados; well-a, he don't care at all.

Yes-a, Joshua's gone Barbados, just like he don't know.
Poor people on this island ain't got nowhere to go.

Oh well, they get a lot o' tough fellas, they bring 'em from Sion Hill,
Bring 'em in a bus to Georgetown; you know somebody get killed.

Sonny Child, the overseer, I swear he's an ignorant man.
He's a-walkin' through the cane field with a pistol in his hand.

Oh well, Joshua gone Barbados; he's stayin' in a big hotel.
The people on St. Vincent, they got many sad tales to tell.

Oh well, the police they givin' protection to new fellas cuttin' cane.
The strikers can't do nothin'; their strike be all in vain.

And Sonny Child, he cursed a striker; he wave his pistol 'round.
Well, they beatin' Sonny with a cutlass, man; they beat him to the ground.

Yeah, Joshua gone Barbados just like he don't know.
Poor people on this island ain't got nowhere to go.

Oh well, the cane standin' in the field, gettin' old an' red.
Sonny Child in the hospital, Lord, a pistol on his bed.

I wisht I could go now to England, Trinidad, or Curacao.
The poor people on St. Vincent ain't got nowhere to go.

Oh well, Joshua gone Barbados, stayin' in a big hotel.
People on St. Vincent got many sad tales to tell.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Mark Rosenthal
Date: 04 Jan 16 - 04:01 AM

A few years ago I wrote, "This is a wonderful song, but unfortunately Von Schmidt got the facts of Ebenezer Joshua's trip quite wrong. A few years ago I came across a webpage in which the author wrote that his father, who was an official with the U.S. State Dept. at the time, had personally arranged for Joshua to travel to a regional economic planning conference on Barbados. The trip was planned long before the strike, and the people on the island were in desperate need of some source of income other than sugar cane, so portraying Joshua's trip as a cowardly betrayal of the people is a gross mischaracterization. Unfortunately I can no longer find where I saved that post or the URL where I originally saw it."

I've now found the source. See https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topicsearchin/soc.genealogy.west-indies/after$3A2004$2F12$2F01$20before$3A2004$2F12$2F31/soc.genealogy.west-indies/WV4vfriG5RA. It includes the following posting from 12/9/2004 by Richard Bond:

"I don't know when the sugar strike in the song took place. My father
paid for Prime Minister Ebenezer Joshua to go to Barbados for the
founding meeting of The Caribbean Food Crop Society in October 1964. Dad
was involved in technology transfer for the US Department of
Agriculture. It did take place at one of Barbados better hotels but was
just a week long. It is true that organizing the sugar workers was
Joshua's initial poitical base but his responsibility was wider once
elected.

"I know for a fact that sugar was marginal in the Windwards in the 1960s
and the British and the island governments there were actively trying to
discourage it. Bananas were felt to be a better alternative. Also a lot
of the sugar lands were being broken up and sold to smallholders to be
put into food crops. A lot of the food consumed in the islands is
imported. The land area in cash crops competes with area which can be
placed in food production and the two need to balance. If the sugar strike
took place in October 1964 Joshua was trying to find out how to give better
support to food growers.

"The Georgetown sugar mill was losing money and they closed it down in
1972. It was always possible for the largest consumer the distillery to
purchase their molasses base from Trinidad, Guyana or Barbados all of
which had lower cost of production. The Georgetown sugar mill has since
reopened but with better equipment and at a smaller size scaled down to
the distillery demand. Much less land and workers are in sugar. Tourism
also pays better than farming.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Jan 16 - 06:21 AM

Here is the Eric Von Schmidt take on the lyrics:

Sing Out!:
"Joshua is his last name. He was swept into office in 1960 when England's move to dump some of her poor small islands coincided with the wave of Caribbean nationalism following Castro's move in Cuba. Like Castro's followers, Joshua's supporters also grew beards, meager tufts, scanty sideburns, trimmed with all the self-consciousness of Jaycees at a Frontier Day cookout. But Joshua, slightly poor and very black, had his followers in his pocket. He became Prime Minister of St. Vincent.

In the year following his inauguration land taxes rose astronomically. These new levies merely reduced the comfortable profits of the plantation owners but were ruinous to the poor whose property was seized daily. The revenue was used for such projects as sending Joshua and his ministers (they prudently exempted themselves from all taxes) on jolly world-wide Goodwill junkets. If to the outsider there was a comic opera quality to the island ("Porgy And Bess" as revised by Gilbert and Sullivan), to the poorer Vincentians it was a cruelly serious matter.

Joshua's biggest campaign pitch had been to back a strike by the island's biggest labor and voting force -- the miserably paid cane cutters. When the showdown came, in the spring of 1962, he simply got out on his yacht, and split for Barbados. His time in high office had given him new insights into the Problems of Sugar Mill Owners, the Complexities of Free Enterprise, the Realities of Diminishing British Aid. He was tired. He was chicken. So the government did nothing.

Strikebreakers were recruited in the tough Sion Hill section above Kingston and brought up to Georgetown in wooden-sided buses with funny names. The new men began work. Fights broke out, sometimes brother against brother or son against father. Police were brought in to protect the strikebreakers, who could cut only in guarded fields. Every man carried his razor-sharp machette (called a cutless on the islands), and many on both sides were drunk. Sonny Childs, the head overseer and a very unpopular white man with more courage than brains, walked into one of the unprotected fields and came out feet first. The leaders of the strike were quickly arrested, the others dispersed, and word came from the hospital that Sonny had sworn to shoot the men who had beaten him. Their strike failed.

I had been away from St. Vincent for a few weeks and returned just at the end of it. The song is based on the events as told me by Norma Duncan of Calliqua [sic.] No one was killed in the uprising, but at that time rumor was rampant and Norma thought that two strikers and a policeman had been killed in a gunfight in Georgetown. Norma is a fine singer and a wonderful person. I would like to dedicate this song to her."

http://www.charliegillett.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=3863


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Jan 16 - 06:28 AM

A word or two about the "Villagers" of Calliaqua, St. Vincent.

The Villagers were a spinoff of the Girl Guide and Boy Scout Troops in Calliaqua and Rathomill that started up in the mid-1950s and were just peaking when Eric Von Schmidt and family touristed nearby in 1962. They were mostly high school educated, middle class (petite bourgeoisie.)

If they had one skill it was partying. Picnics, football, cricket matches, anything for an excuse really. However, lest you get the wrong impression, Villagers were also extremely religious and church acolytes were common. They were also the island's future intelligentsia (clergy, doctors, engineers, lawyers, &c.) but politics and economics typically led them to emigrate to the United States or the U.K after not too long.

If Eric Von Schmidt's "Norma Duncan" is the one I'm thinking of she wasn't so much a folk singer as an activist law student/intern who eventually went on to join the Bar in St. Vincent. Not a Joshua supporter one assumes. This version of events is mostly political gossip, rumour and innuendo. Party chatter not suitable for repeating. Shame really.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 04 Jan 16 - 07:35 PM

Mark (quoting Bond): "I know for a fact that sugar was marginal in the Windwards in the 1960s and the British and the island governments there were actively trying to discourage it. Bananas were felt to be a better alternative."

By the 1960s cane sugar exports had become marginal almost everywhere. It was competing with domestic beet sugar which had (mostly) recovered from "Curly Top Virus" and its own labour pains (in California most Japanese-American beet farmers wound up in WWII internment camps and/or crosswise with union locals.)

But bananas were by no means a given. By the 1960s the Gros Michel cultivar was all but wiped out by the "Panama" fungus and the replacement Cavendish industry meant a long term commitment to the likes of The United Fruit Company. Rejection meant potential problems with much needed infrastructure that came with it like the Tropical Radio and Telegraph Company, &c. Sticky wicket.

If you ever see a Gros Michel in your local market just grab it. Heaven on earth. If by some chance you like the Cavendish better chow down while you still can. The fungus is back among us.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Gilly
Date: 05 Jan 16 - 06:50 PM

Didn't Bob Dylan do a version of it once ? Basement tapes era ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 26 Sep 16 - 07:28 PM

Just come home tonight from a Martin Simpson gig ...this was his "final" (pre-encore) song and it was simply stupendous.

Martin's singing these days is truly amazing, and his intricate , rippling guitar accompaniment om this song was awe-inspiring.

Unfortunately his only recording of the song so far AFAIK is on vinyl, on his 1981 album "Special Agent". Here's hoping he sees fit to do a reprise one of these days.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Joshua Gone Barbados (Eric Von Schmidt)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 26 Sep 16 - 08:39 PM

Gilly: "...Bob Dylan ...Basement tapes era?"
Yup. It's on the "A Tree With Roots" compilation as well.


MM: "...1981 album "Special Agent". Here's hoping he sees fit to do a reprise one of these days."
No new recordings but Agent was reissued on CD (Fledg'ling Records, FLED 3005, 1995) The '81 vinyl is something of a collector's item.


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