Banana Boat Song

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • The origins of the “Banana Boat Song” are often stated incorrectly. The song was
    originally a Jamaican folk song of unknown authorship; it was sung by Jamaican banana
    workers, with the familiar melody and the common refrain (“daylight come and we
    wanna go home”), but with many different sets of lyrics, some possibly improvised on the
    spot. The first recorded version was done by Trinidadian singer Edric Conner and his
    band “The Caribbean’s” in 1952, on the album Songs From Jamaica; the song was called
    “Day De Light”. It was also recorded by Louise Bennett in 1954. In 1956,
    singer/songwriters Irving Burgie and William Attaway wrote a version of the lyrics that
    was recorded that same year by Harry Belafonte; this is the version that is by far the best
    known to listeners today. Also in 1956, folk singer Bob Gibson, who had travelled to
    Jamaica and heard the song, taught his version of it to the folk band The Tarriers. They
    recorded a version of that song that mixed in the chorus of another Jamaican folk song,
    “Hill and Gully Rider”, and released it, spawning what became their biggest hit. This
    version was re-recorded by Shirley Bassey in 1957, and became a hit in the United
    Kingdom.
    The Tarriers, or some subset of the three members of the group (Erik Darling, Bob Carey
    and Alan Arkin) are sometimes credited as the writers of the song, perhaps because their
    version of the song, which mixed in another song, was an original creation.
    Day-o, Day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Me say day, me say day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Work all night on a drink a’ rum
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Stack banana till the mornin’ come
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day…
     Daylight come and me wan’ go home

    BANANA BOAT SONG

    A beautiful bunch a’ ripe banana
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Hide the deadly black tarantula
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    It’s six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Six foot, seven foot, eight foot BUNCH!
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day…
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home
    Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
    Me say day, me say day-ay-ay-o
    Daylight come and me wan’ go home