Shoe The Donkey & De Ice House (Barbados): lyrics?
(I just posted a version of this on the “Shoe the Donkey” tune page - the 59th comment on that page!!? But to make sure someone sees it, here are some excerpts🙂 … A Jamaican/English friend, preparing a book of Caribbean songs for ukulele (well, why not?), will include “De Ice House Song”, a Barbados variant of “Shoe the Donkey”. She knows the Barbadian lyrics (see below), but she’s curious to know about any lyrics from Elsewhere; I’m sending her a link to the “Shoe the Donkey” page with attention to a few that ceolachan gave a taste of (“Father Halpin, Father Halpin, Father Halpin’s Top Coat” (or Father Murphy’s); “Joe the Yankee, Joe the Yankee, Joe the Yankee’s Big Toe”; “Put Your Little Foot … Right Here(Out)”). If anyone can give me the full lyrics to one of these, that would be splendid. - And here are the Barbadian ones, from a book quoted on mudcat (Marshall, McGeary & Thompson, 1981, Folk Songs of Barbados):
DE ICE HOUSE SONG
Shake yuh right foot, shake you right foot, an’ leh yuh left foot stand! / Shake yuh right foot, shake you right foot, an’ leh yuh left foot stand!
1. On the mornin’ o’ de fire, Lord Nelson came down / He form de sojers in a line, an’ he blow de Ice House down.
Chorus: Save John Gill, save John Gill, an’ leh de Ice House burn / Save John Gill, save John Gill, leh de Ice House burn!
2. De Ice House in pawn for a five-dollar note / For to buy a rocking chair an’ a silk sofa coat.
Chorus: Cease firing, cease firing, don’t limber up on me* / Cease firing, cease firing, don’t limber up on me.
[*limber up- “a phrase with a salacious meaning.”]
The Ice House burned in February 1860. Not only were ice and luxuries stored and sold there, but it served as a restaurant and hotel to the planter and commercial set and to the tourist [[i.e. the well-off people]]. (Nelson, of course, died some 55 years previously - “poetic license”.) Barbadians believed that the fire was deliberate (“in pawn”). John Gill was a popular chemist who dispensed medicines to the poor at cheap prices.