Update: 12 Sept '06 - The Jamaican Folk Singers now apparently have a new "Pepperpot" CD coming out....
Click here for more info. I haven't seen any online sites where it can be ordered yet.
Volumes 2 and 3 have long been out of print and do not seem to be readily available.
The following was transcribed from the liner notes of the two albums.
Some JFS album covers can be seen on this web page.
I've enjoyed this music, especially tracks 8 - 14. email@example.com
Back to Steve Grubb's page
The Jamaican Folk Singers - Volume 2 (1971?)
|An invitation to dance and sing which shows the influence of both Africa and Europe on Jamaica's folk heritage. The Jamaican Folk Singers sing verses 1 and 3 in the indigenous mento rhythm and the 2nd verse in waltz time, in order to project the two versions of this popular folk song.|
|A love song in waltz time. A young girl reminisces of the "awakening" and promise of love 'under the coconut tree'.|
|3. Tambo||A medley of three Tambo songs. Tambo, a traditional form combining the use of drums, catta-ticks, singing and dancing, is now used on social occasions. Originally in Tambo the slaves lamented separation from their homeland and from loved ones through death or trading or some other significant incidents in their lives.|
|A beautiful song from the days of slavery featuring the voice of Marilyn McDonald. This song was also sung by slaves in the Carolinas of North America and there is an arrangement of it by Stephen Foster.|
|5. John Crow||A digging song which is found in several versions all over the island, but in each there is the typical substitution as the workers make fun of various people under the alias "John Crow".|
|6. War||Another work song whose rhythm does not seem to identify it with its function and yet it is typical of a type of worksong still used in certain parts of Jamaica. This song refers to the 1865 Morant Bay uprising.|
|7. Missa Potta||A song used for floor cleaning with coconut brushes which would be used in the characteristic rhythm. This song is arranged as a round which we hope gives it an air of bustling activity, as would have been the case as the women got to work.|
|8. Eva||A song for gentler type of womens' work, like dusting and comforting babies. It tells of a girl who got tired of life in a very rural hill district and went to Kingston. However, once there she could not cope with that sort of life either, and having walked to Kingston hurries back home.|
|9. Rocky Road||A play song which is found in several parts of Jamaica.|
|10. Our Father
|This is the traditional tune of the Lord's Prayer as sung in folk ceremonies all over Jamaica with the solo part taken by Marilyn McDonald. The words of verses two and three were written by Denzil Southwood-Smith in the style of the original folk version.|
|Two popular choruses from the Revival cults. The first verse refers to Peter's denial of Christ; the second to Noah and the Ark. For cultists in Jamaica, all nature is 'steeped in sacredness' and it is not uncommon to hear songs with verses referring to secular matters following quickly on others concerned with Old Testament and Christian subjects.|
|12. Rocky you body / Guinea War / Kumina||A medley of songs from the Kumina cult which still flourish in the eastern end of the island. In the functional setting of Kumina, singing, dancing, and drumming are used in combination to invoke the help of spirits mainly for the solution of personal and social problems. Drumming in Kumina which is sometimes used with 'catta-ticks' and other percussion instruments is amongst the most exciting that can be found in the island.|
|13. Sityra||A song widely used for death ceremonies in the western parts of the island. The modal quality of this song is emphasized by both the style of singing and the atmosphere of its usual physical setting.|
|14. Wrong Train||A popular Revival chorus which is also used at wakes and other ceremonies concerned with death.|
|15. Weeping Eyes||This song is sometimes heard as a rousing Revival chorus, but when used at death ceremonies the interpretation is completely different. The Jamaican Folk Singers here sing the wake version.|
The Jamaican Folk Singers - Volume 3 - Encore!
|16. Rio Grande||A rafting song which could be for the pastime so well known to visitors to Jamaica, or when the river is being used to transport bananas or other produce by raft to the towns. This song was brought to the Jamaica Festival of Arts through the combined work of Mrs Lydia Aljoe and Mr Ken Neil, two of Jamaica's most dedicated teachers and workers in traditional music.|
|17. Fireman||A song from the days when sugar was boiled in large copper receptacles, brought to light for today's generation by "Doc" Tate, popular cricketer, scout master, and chemist of Clarendon, Jamaica.|
|18. Chi Chi Bud||One of Jamaica's most widely known work songs. It is here arranged to include many of our birds normally not mentioned in the song and to give a feeling of space and variety.|
|19. Done Baby||This is an old Jamaican lullaby taught to the writer by Miss Becky Blackwood of the South Coast fishing village of Rocky Point and sung here by Yvonne Foster and female chorus.|
|20. Bye Bye mi Baby||Another old lullaby, familiar to many of the singers from their own childhood. Heard recently in it's natural setting, coming from behind an old ramshackle zinc fence in one of Kingston's most crowded and noisiest areas, like a trickle of cold, clear water.|
|21. Mango Time||This song truly reflects the feelings of many of us when it is mango season... "Wash yu' pot, tun' dem dung, mango time".|
|22. Linstead Market||Usually played and sung as a mento for dancing, but it is sung here as a lament, in keeping with the mood of the words... "Not a quattie wo't sell.. All de picknie dem a linga, linga fe wah dem mumma no bring".|
|23. Helena||Jamaica has strong traditions of folk healing by herbs, and other means. Here one of the most potent healing bushes is the subject. Carace is known in Guyana as Corilla bush and has recently been the subject of serious scientific research for use in diseases like diabetes and cancer. The song highlights the careless use of herbs, because the young girl obviously does not know Cerace and when instructed by her mother to boil some of the tea for her pains she picks the deadly Night Shade - "Night Sage".|
|24. Yella Yam||Another song from Rocky Point. The form is similar to that of many songs found in North American folklore.|
|25. Mi Cahfi||A great favorite in Jamaica especially when sung, as on this disc by Yvonne Foster and the female chorus. This song has been widely used in Jamaica for generations and contains touches that make it uniquely Jamaican, for example, ackee and saltfish.|
|26. Mango Tree||The Jamaican Folk Singers thank Mrs Daphne Davis of Westmoreland for this song which she brought to the festival a few years ago. She was kind enough to send a copy to the group. It was promptly included in the repertoire and has in a very short time become one of the most popular songs of the group. The song highlights the beauty of the independent life of a single girl.|
|27. Little Samuel||"Speak Lord thy servant hears"... A beautiful and widely used Revival chorus, given here a rather stylized interpretation.|
|28. Daniel Saw the Stone||A rousing Revival chorus using one of the favourite biblical heroes, Daniel. Daniel has been important to the Jamaican cultist for a very long time, as he represents the ordinary mortal who by using spiritual powers can overcome what appear to be insuperable odds.|
|29. My Journeyman Jesus||A deeply significant song from the Revival cult.. "My journeyman Jesus, he journey's with me" .. even in matters where "I am a stranger".|
Produced by (vol2) Cecil Watt, (vol3) Oswald G. Harvey
Arranged by Olive Lewin
Recorded and mixed at Aquarious Sound Studios
(9 Constant Spring Road Kingston 10 Jamaica)
Jamaican Folk Singers, 4 Norwood Road, Kingston 5