Home > 1, Music > Book 3. Caribilly Continued, The Emperor of The North.

Book 3. Caribilly Continued, The Emperor of The North.

Book 3. Caribilly Continued, The Emperor of The North.

 Around 1973, my friend Tutsie took me up to the North Side, to Estate Neljeteberg to meet his new guru “Roupe” and to sit a while at the Roupe’s bar. Roupe, was an old Creole fisherman, his Grand father was a German (Moolinar) who had owned the entire Estate, his Grand Mother was an ex slave from the British Island of Tortola. Roupe, had golden skin, wild wavy hair and green absolutely merry with mischief eyes,. He was dressed in kaki gurka shorts, a favorite ripped and faded shirt and a cowboy hat made of straw.

 His bar/house was an unfinished two story concrete block construction with a dirt floor and no roof on the second floor.. The walls and window spaces up above gave the impression of a psychedelically lopsided medieval castle, while the drinking and living quarters was a menagerie for merrymaking madmen and wild chickens, and there were plenty of both.

 The Roupe, or Calwin aka The Vampire aka The Emperor of The North, sang and played an old old very old rusty stringed Spanish guitar, tuned to a reference note that only he could hear. Or perhaps a note that existed on the equally ancient orchestral flute/pipe that only he could play. What a merry mix of madness the music was. It was Caribilly at the source.

Roupe, or Calwin, or The Emperor aka The Obeah Man, had a most extraordinary sweetheart living there with him, quite a daunt in her own right. “Doris” was a large, and very dark lady who had come down from Tortola many years before. She had twelve fingers, and twelve toes (demonstrating perhaps a genetic inclination to ultra naughty behavior amongst her immediate ancestral), but the extras came in mighty handy when referenced as “proof of things supernatural” by Calwin when he was in his (Voodoo) “Obeah Man” bag.

 It turned out that Calwin had a deal with many of the superstitious north side French people, they would acknowledge him as the baddest of the baddest, the “Emperor of The North” and he would refrain from raining down Obeah, or Voodoo curses upon them. 

Doris had married a local French man, and inherited his land, which included some rent paying properties. This meant that Doris was not only a wiggling and willing living twelve digit proof of The Emperor’s mastery of magic, but a lady of means, a lady with Monarchs! (Which may account for Doris’s monthly accusatory chorus of “Calwin yu stinkin’ one drawers ting yu, is only me f**kin’ Monarchs yu want!”)

The libation of choice at Calwin’s was the rankest of Gins, in fact the very same gin that had caused the London gin epidemic of 1760, it was vile. However, like everyone else, Doris drank double her share and then some.

 Rough as they were, (and they were plenty rough) they were genuinely good souls, Many a Saturday night became Sunday morning at Calwin’s and that meant that we all switched from the profane to the insanely profane, or to drink addled hymns and the blitzed reading of everyone’s favorite passages from the good book.

 Calwin is the good fellow that taught me the old Virgin Islands “folk song” La Beiga Carousel, which I fell in love with and stuck my song about my friend “Tutsie” right in the middle of, making a medley which I then recorded on “Many Sunny Places” aka “The Helsinki Album”

Here’s what it sounded like on the Helsinki Album Released on RCA as “Many Sunny Places”

 La Beiga Carousel/Tutsie

 

 Cho. 1)

Man I would walk and drink rum de whole night, before me go ride on La Beiga Carousel

Man I would walk and drink rum de whole night, before me go ride on La Beiga Carousel

Come go home come go home Cecebelle, tonight we’ain gon ride on La Beiga Carousel

Come go home come go home Cecebelle, tonight we’ain gon ride on La Beiga Carousel

 Ver. 1

And a skinny little fellow looks a little bit like me,

Lives on an Island in the Caribbean sea

And he drinks straight cane rum from an old calabash

And with those Island girls, lord he really is a smash

 Cho.1

And he lives off the tourists with the greatest of ease,

 Why I’ve even seen him selling bags of cool Island breeze

He lives high on a mountain in an old sugar mill

He wants to be a Pirate, I know someday he will.

 (La Beiga Cho. 2)

An’ I’ll walk and drink rum  whole night, before me go ride on Labeiga Carousel

Man I’ll walk and drink rum whole night, before me go ride on Labeiga Carousel

 Ver. 2

And he spends all his days cooling out in Trader Dan’s,

There’s no time for working in my friend Tutsie’s plans

He wears a pretty flower tucked up in an old straw hat

But if you should try to fight him, he’d show you where it’s at.

 Cho.2

And he lives off the tourists with the greatest of ease,

 Why I’ve even seen him selling bags of cool Island breeze

He lives high on a mountain in an old sugar mill

He wants to be a Pirate, I know someday he will.

 (La Beiga Cho. 3)

An’ I’ll walk and drink rum  whole night, before me go ride on Labeiga Carousel

Man I’ll walk and drink rum whole night, before me go ride on Labeiga Carousel

 Ver. 3

And I wish I were like Tutsie and could do as I please,

 then I’d be barefoot at the Foxes’ Tamarindo

And I’d drink straight cane rum from an old calabash

And with those Island girls, lord, I’d really be a smash

 Cho.3

And I’d live off the tourists with the greatest of ease,

 And have fun selling bags of cool Island breeze

I’d live high on a mountain in an old sugar mill

And someday I’d be a Pirate, you know someday I will.

 (La Beiga Cho. 4)

Man I would walk and drink rum de whole night, before me go ride on La Beiga Carousel

Man I would walk and drink rum de whole night, before me go ride on La Beiga Carousel

Come go home come go home Cecebelle, tonight we’ain gon ride on La Beiga Carousel

Come go home come go home Cecebelle, tonight we’ain gon ride on La Beiga Carousel.

 What an outrageous and colorful, multifaceted man and musician he was, and what fun we had spending time with him … Calwin, Roupe, The Vampire, The Obeah Man aka The Emperor of The North (just a few of his pseudonyms) was the wildest of the wildest, of our very own Caribilly Cowboys.

 When he died, I was asked to sing at his grave side. I was deeply honored to do so. As we crowded around in the little family cemetery by the side of the road, directly across from Calwins Caribilly Bar, at the Top ‘O the World, Estate Neljteberg, Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands, I sang the song requested. “Home Home On The Range” it was the most natural thing in the world.

 After he died, I wrote Captain Creole in remembrance of yet another side of him.

 Captain Creole

The word spread through The Virgins, the Old Creole was dead

He died in the light of the full moon night, in a swordfight, in his bed

Some say he was crazy, he had a rum dream in his head

But I will tell you, in his words, what Captain Creole said…

 He said “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes we don’t ever die

Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The Dancing Senoritas, the Ghosts of Buried Gold

The German and The African that battled in his soul

The Jolly Jolly Rodger, The Treasure Ships of Spain

Called out to him and bid him come… back to The Spanish Main

 Because “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes they don’t ever die

Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 The word spread through The Virgins, Like the ringing of an old ships bell

The Preacher turned to Heaven, most folks bet on Hell

The Old Creole was sinking, the Old Creole was gone

And we cried in the light of the full moon night, whispering his song

 He said “Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes we don’t ever die

Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

 Old Pirates never die, dry your eyes we don’t ever die

Old Pirates never die, they just sail away”

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