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Book 3. Caribilly

 

 Jeff (Medina, worlds champeen guitar) was anxious to get back to Las Vegas as soon as possible, so having been told that reservation cancellations show up just after midnight in each time zone, I called American Airlines very early in the morning and by God a seat had opened up..I was able to get Jeff’s flight moved from Wednesday to Tuesday. 

I picked him up at the boarding house and headed for the studio, knowing that all of our moolah for rent was gone, and he had no place to stay. I was able to cheer him up a bit with the news that I had managed to move his flight from Wednesday to Tuesday 

 We did “One World” and “When You Take it all Away” (recordings in process), Jeff did beautiful work..Derrick (the engineer) was very pleased and so was I. 

 It occurred to me to call Tuts’s son Marcel, about a place for Jeff to stay, so after the session, I did. I ran the sitch down to Marcel and he brightly piped up “Oh you’d like to know if he can stay in the cottage?” I said yes, and Marcel (God bless him coming and going) said Of COURSE! You could have knocked me down with a feather. His offer was such a perfect solution. 

 “Top O the World” is where Marcel lives. Straight up Crown Mountain, and right into the rain forest. Trees up to heaven with leaves as big as a couch and as cooling as a Fedders 1940 Frosty Boy Deluxe. The uppermost branches of these trees are what folks sit on while playing dominos in the sweet bye and bye. And right down amongst the parakeets, wind chimes and hummingbird feeders is the fairyland world of Marcel, his wife Lisa and their three daughters Simoneque, Nika and Jae. And now in the cottage, Jeff. What a perfect solution, what a beautiful Marcel. 

The setting is just up the road from one of the birthplaces of Caribilly Music (the combination Of Country and WestIndian) as described in my (not yet recorded) song “Calwins Caribilly Bar” 

 “Calwins Caribilly Bar” 

From the tip top of the mountain, rising like a crystal fountain 

that Caribilly music drifts up to the sky 

when it reaches bye and bye, you can hear the angels sigh 

that Caribilly music makes me laugh and cry. 

On an Island in the moonlight, driftwood fire burning bright 

were gonna keep on singing til we get it right 

bongos banjos and guitars Caribilly cane rum in an old fruit jar 

the closest thing to heaven, Calwins Caribilly Bar 

When Caribilly plays you hear the people say 

it’s the craziest confusion but we like it ay? 

They say, Howdy mon y’all, no problem have a ball 

Melodies so pretty I just fly away 

On an Island in the moonlight, driftwood fire burning bright 

were gonna keep on singing if we sing all night 

bongos banjos and guitars Caribilly cane rum in an old fruit jar 

the closest thing to heaven, Calwins Caribilly Bar. 

I’ll be there tonight, driftwood fire burning bright 

were gonna keep on singing til we git it right 

bongos banjos and guitars Caribilly cane rum in an old fruit jar 

the closest thing to heaven, Calwins Caribilly Bar 

From the tip-top of the Mountain raising like a crystal fountain 

a Caribilly symphony sweeps up to the sky 

when it reaches bye and bye you can hear the Angles sigh 

that Caribilly music makes me laugh and cry 

I’ll be there tonight, driftwood fire burning bright 

were gonna keep on singing til we git it right 

bongos banjos and guitars Caribilly cane rum in an old fruit jar 

the closest thing to heaven, Calwins Caribilly Bar…. 

Calwin Martin Mullenar was a one and only. However, he was also one among many in the Virgins and West Indies, who loved and tried to play Country and Western Music, but wound up inventing “Caribilly” instead.. 

 Here is a passage from my new Musical “The Virgin Island Songs” called “Sookies Western Jamboree” that throws a little light on the genesis of this Country and Western “Cowboy ideation” in The Virgin Islands (and the West Indies in general). 

SOOKIES WESTERN JAMBOREE 

Some of you good people will remember that once upon a time we had one radio station in The Virgin Islands, called WSTA. 

A wonderful station that did it’s best to play something for everyone. This meant that we were all exposed to every kind of music. 

Believing in music as I do, I believe that this wide exposure had a very positive effect on us all. Among the varieties that we enjoyed was good old Southern Gospel and what they called back then, Country and Western. 

 At 3 O’clock in the afternoon the Virgin Islands looked forward to a show hosted by a young Buckaroo from Frenchtown called “Sookiess Western Jamboree”. The show featured artists like Hank Williams, Gentleman Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Skeeter Davis and Patsy Cline and songs like “Your cheating Heart” “Cold Cold Heart “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On” “He’ll Have To Go” and many others. 

In those days as you know we here in The Virgin Islands had a number of our own “home-grown cowboys” young (and old) rough and ready hombres who worked and lived out in the wild wild East, West, North and South Side and rode their horses all over the place and once a year in the big carnival parades. 

In addition to the working cowboys, there were a number of fellows in town who had perhaps been too strongly influenced by the Western Movies that played at The Apollo, The Alexander, and The Center Theater what seemed like every day and night of every week of every month of every year for many years running. 

These home-grown  hombres certainly considered themselves to be the real deal also, and as romantic a figure as any other cowpoke anywhere and they were. 

As noted elsewhere in “The Virgin Islands Songs”, I fully intended to grow up to be Gene Autry the singing cowboy. So naturally I was very interested in learning how to “make up” songs like those that we heard, on Sookies Western Jamboree, and in the cowboy movies. 

Here is one of my own Caribilly influenced songs, (written with the brilliant McCauley Brothers) reflecting the influence of and my love for “Country and Westindian” or Caribilly. So here we go..in rememberance of Sookie’s Western Jamboree and our very own Caribilly Cowboys. 

“Sweet Cheyenne”

I’m going to tell you a story 

about Sweet Cheyenne 

it’s been, a hell of a life, but she’s always done 

the best that she can 

There is a girl called Sweet Cheyenne 

she comes from down Texas way 

she needs someone who understands 

she’s spending the night in Santa Fe 

A cowboy came south from Alberta 

To leave his past behind 

it’s been a hell of a life, but he never gave up, 

he’s just not that kind 

There is a girl called Sweet Cheyenne 

She comes from down Texas way 

She needs someone who ‘ll understand 

He’s spending the night in Santa Fe 

There on St. Francis street 

these two travelers meet 

God Blessed the girl called Sweet Cheyenne 

The girl from down Texas way 

And the Calgary cowboy they call Dan 

Spending the night in Santa Fe 

God Blessed a girl called Sweet Cheyenne 

who does the best she can 

And a kind gentle cowboy they call Dan 

Cause he’s found his woman, and she’s found her man… 

Continued…
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  1. January 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm

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