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In Honor Of Bastille Day! “Granfaddah Buckra An De Bo’Hog’

July 12, 2014 Leave a comment

My Great Great Grand Father was a sailor from Marseilles, who ran off with an Irish Novice Nun from her Convent in New Orleans. They wound up in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC, and had eight children together. This is in honor of Bastille Day and all our French Brothers and Sisters. I hope that you enjoy it!

GRAN FADDAH  BUCKRA AN DE BO’ HOG

Scott Fagan  9/30-10/2 2010

Well… now it happen so dat Gran Faddah Buckra had de biggest, de schupides, de ugliest, de stinkis, de noisiest and de nastyiest Bo Hog  anybody had evah seen..

de Buckra liked to call him King George, and he loved dat Bo Hog like a Bruddah

One day de neighbor dem come sae…,

 

“Buckra, you know Black people is good people, an de don mine if yu wan tu live wid dem an roun dem an side a dem oh undah neet a dem oh on top a dem or all in de middle an in between a dem  excepin’ when dat big  stinkin ugly’ bo’ hog of yours own “dat yu likes tu call King George”, du knock doun he pig pen “dat yu likes tu call he Castle of King George” an wha yu set up right in de middle a de yad, dat yu likes tu call “de Kingdom of King George” when dat Bo’ hog come  rootin up in every body business all ovah de yad, an throwin’ doun de cloths line wid all de chirren dem clean clothes on it, an rootin’ up an rollin up in all de woman dem clean panty, rootin up and rollng ovah doung  in de dutty mud an stinkin’ up de place an oinkin up de place an squealin up de place like de las pig outta hell an  wakin’ up all de people dem in de yad which of late has  happen almos every  single  night a de week an twice on Sunday,

 

An Buckra, like we say, yu n kno black people is good people an we don mine, but Buckra OH God Buckra,.we tink is time you should go live among yu own kine”..

 

Me own kine? sae de Buckra, me own kine? Wha kina kine yu tink is me own kine?

 

De boldest of de Neighbah dem sae “we have contemplated and conclude you should go live doun in Cha Cha tuun”,

 

“Cha Cha toun? Say de Buckra, Cha Cha Toun?”

Yes sah Buckra we have decided that you should go live  wid de res a dem Cha Cha doun in  Cha Cha toun”

 

“Yu tink oy is a Cha cha? Yu tink oy is a Cha Cha?

Yu loy,! Yu don kno I is a white man?

 I ain no Cha Cha, yu Muddah is a Cha Cha!”

 

No no! de uddah Neighbah say, no no not a Cha Cha, St. Thomas ain ga no Cha Cha no more, We doesn use that expression no more, she mean tu sae you should go live wid de res a dem doun Carenage..ers doun in Carenage..

 

Carenage? Carenage? Who yu callin a Carenage?  yu Muddah is aa Carenage!

No No Mistah Buckra, das de Frenchie dem way tu say  French Toun,

 

French Toun? French Toun? Yu tink I should go live in French Toun?

Yes sah Mistah Buckra, Everybody in de yad say yu is  a Balahoo..

Das why yu should go livewid de res a de balahoo dem  doun in Cha Cha, ah mean French ah mean Carenage Toun!

 

Anuddah neibah pipe in

“Yes man yu keeian see how it is?

Guana should live wid Guana,

Mongoose should live wid Mongoose,

Guava don grow onna Cenepe Tree and yu shluld be wid de res a de Frenchie, Doun in Frenchie Toun”

 

De Buckra hot now, he say Guana? Guana? Who yu callin a Guana? Yu muddah is a Guana!

Not a Guana, de neighbah sae, not a Guana, yu is a Frenchie.

 

“Oy? Oy? You schupid oh sumting? Yu damn forward  AN schupiddy Oy ain no Frenchie,  Oy Is a white man yu talking to… Any body cou see I is a white man,.. wha wrang wid yu, anybody cou see Buckra De Paehae is a white man!”

 

Buckra, (say de very darkest a de neighbah dem)  Buckra, If you is a white man I is a Frenchie, if yu is a white man, why we don hear yu Yankin, Buckra, why we don hear yu yankin?”

 

 “Yankin? Yankin? Sae de Buckra,  yu want tu hear me Yankin?”

 

“Ok den.

AYHMM  COME FRUM ALABAMA

WID A BANJO ON MAH KNEE, BUT NOW AH MMM JES A SAILOR IN THE U.S NAYVEE”

 

“Yu see wha ah tell yu? Yu see wha ah tell yu? De neighbah sae, he ain no white man, he ain no white man. He keeian yank! Bou he is a white man, a white man wha keeian Yank? Yu evah see a white man wha keeian yank? De Buckra ain no white man, he is nuttin’ but a mushay! Ah say Sen im doun French Town!

 

Oh yeah say de Buckra, Oh Yeah? Ok, den.. “AH KIN SEE AHMM A GONNA HALF TA TALKREAL SERIOUS TU YAALLS SO YALL’S GONNA KNOW DAT YU IS TALKIN’ WID A BIG TIME AN  IMPORTANT WHITE MAN WHEN YU IS DEALING WID DE BUCKRA.

 

NAH AHM A GONNA TELL YA SUNPIN, AH DON’T LIKE DE WAY SOMEFOLKS IS BEEN HARASSIN’ AN HOG TIEIN’ MY GOOD  KING GEORGE THE PO’K SWINE WID YER CLOTHLINES EVERY NIGHT AN AHMM A GITTIN’ TIURD AH TELLIN YA SO,

BUT JUS SOS,  DERES NO HARD FEELINS,AN DISDON’T BECOME SOME KINA  FUGE, AH RECKON AHMM A GONNA PACK UP MAH SADDLEBAGS AN TAKE MA HERD, AH MEAN MA BO’HOAWAWG,  AN MOSEY ON DOUN WEST.

 

Yes Yes, Buckra de neighbah dem say, yes yes das de bes ting Buckra,  mosey on doun west to Cha Cha toun…

 

An Me Boy, das when de REAL trouble start!

 

Buckra and  de Bo’ Hog went straight doun to French Town an walk right in to de famous Normandy Bah, it wa round 11 a clock in de mawnin so naturally de place wa almos full. Half a de man dem wa teachin’   high school and mos a de legislatue was doun dare tu get a good head start on de day. Plus a few Sailah Man…

 

Now de Bucvkra had done make up he mine dat  he ain talking no mo Island talk, because he ain wan nobody to make no mo mistake bou de fac dat  is a white man through an through, from den on he Yankin straight,

Well… maybe a white man wid a lil someting else throw in in dare but all de same de Buckra say he  Yankin’ straight.

“WAL MA GOOD FRENCHIE FELLOW” he say to de lil bahman “ LEMME HAVE DE BES RED SODA DAT YOU GOT IN DE PLACE AN PLUS AH WANTS TU RENT A LIL HOUSE FROM Y’ALL DOUN IN DIS HEAH FRENCH TOWN”

Dat time a man name Magras, sae “

 

“Hey hey wait meson wait, Wha yu tink yu goin wid dat Bo hog?”Dis is de Narmandy Bah, only de bes a people cu come in in side a heah an we don deal wid no Bo Hag doun French Toun , We is fishah man doug here, RIDERS ON THE SEA!  You in de wrang place me boy, yu bettah go Nart side whea yu cou join up wid de res a dem RIDERS ON A DONKEY, an fuddah mo you ain no Frenchie!  You mubbee som kina doublebreed Daneman  an Putto Rician from Sain Croix!

 

All dis time three or fo drunken Sailah done feed King George de Bo Hog  mo dan a quart a rum and coke chase down wid bou five or six cold schafah beer me boy, and de Bo Hog  feelin’ it now.

 

“OINK! OINK!  SQUEEE! SQUEEE! OINK! OINK!  SQUEEE! SQUEEE! Say de Bo Hag.

 

Den he take off trunning roung and roung in de Normandy Bah, tunnin up and knockin doun table a chair, lef and right, all ovah de place, dis time he change he tune he  bawling out “ (SQUEEYAW SQUEEYAW OINK OINK! SQUEEYAW! SQUEEYAW!   De nex ting yu know de Bo Hag stop an start tu swing and sawy. He open he eye dem wide wide and den… he vomit up a Green an Yellow tidal wave of de wus stinkin frat full a ole drawers and panty yu evah see.

De sailah dem killing dey self wid de laugh, but de Frenchie dem don tink it’s so funny ah tall.

 

Well me boy, Buckra an de Bo Hag had tu haul dey “humpf” outta French Town man dey two a dem run straight an all de way up Demarara Gut through mo jackspania and catchankee… dem boy ain stop til de reach de very top a Crown  an some ways doun de uddah side.

 

An dats how Buckra and de Bo Hag fus arrive in Nelteburg.

But befo yu know it dat Bo Hog King George wa makin trouble an terrorizing de poor people dem out dare, rooting up in de peppah patch and knockin doun de cloths line.. well until he disappeared one day.

 

 Some people say King George de Bo’ Hog decided tu go St. John an is de Faddah and de Gran Faddah of mos a de wus a de wile pig an even some a de wile donkey dem   harassin de people dem up dare in St. John,

 

Som uddah people say dem Nart side French man finally get tu hol de Bo’ hog,, an had de biggis roas pig  of all time, evah dat Bastille Day doun Hull bay,

 

But mos of all a taxi man say he know fo a fac dat dem boy from the de Agricultural Station out Dorithia catch King George an dress him up like a touris an put him onna touris boat, an nobody didn’t  notice de difference between he an de res a dem til’ dey reach back Florida me boy.

I don kno about dat, but de pert I tell yu, is wha happen an das de trut de whole trut an nuttin but de trut… So help me Miss Gearty!

 

“Scott Fagan Sings Stephin Merritt”

January 30, 2014 Leave a comment

Dear Friends,
Here’s an unusual “smiley” photograph taken at a recent Christmas gig. The only other “smiley” photo of me was on the back of the RCA Album “Many Sunny Places”. That smile was directly related to the 3/4 empty bottle of Mount Gay Rum there in the foreground. This new “smiley” one popped up I guess because well..we were playing a big benefit Christmas Dance, people were really having a ball and I just Love Christmas!Scott Fagan at Christmas Gig 2013

Our “Scott Fagan Sings Stephin Merritt” album project on kickstarter is generating interest in the media.
Here are six little articles about it, and a link to the project on kickstarter. Please take a look, it will be a great and historic album, the boy writes great songs and I intend to sing the holy heck out of ’em.

Pitchfork
http://pitchfork.com/news/53343-stephin-merritts-father-scott-fagan-launches-kickstarter-to-fund-scott-fagan-sings-stephin-merritt/

USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/popcandy/2014/01/09/crowdfunding/4390113/

The Line of Best Fit
http://www.thelineofbestfit.com/news/latest-news/stephin-merritts-father-to-release-magnetic-fields-covers-album-143087

Je Ne Sais Pop (Spanish)
http://jenesaispop.com/2013/12/16/stephin-merritt-versionado-por-su-desconocido-padre/

Il Post (Italian)
http://jenesaispop.com/2013/12/16/stephin-merritt-versionado-por-su-desconocido-padre/

The Vinyl District
http://www.thevinyldistrict.com/storefront/2014/01/forgotten-songs-case-scott-fagan-stephin-merritt/

Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band @ Gullifty’s Camp Hill PA.

December 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band @ Gullifty's Camp Hill PA.

Here’s a picture taken by our beautiful friend and Producer “Digital Dave” recently at Gullifty’s a great spot in Camp Hill Pa. Just behind and to my right is the great Bass Player “Bobby Fry JR”. It was a Wonderful Gig, I wish you had been there with us. We look forward to seeing you soon!

In Honor Of Bastille Day! “Granfaddah Buckra An De Bo’Hog”

July 13, 2013 Leave a comment

 

GRAN FADDAH  BUCKRA AN DE BO’ HOG

Click The Link for the recording…

Granfaddah Buckra and the Bo’hog

Well… now it happen so dat Gran Faddah Buckra had de biggest, de schupides, de ugliest, de stinkis, de noisiest and de nastyiest Bo Hog  anybody had evah seen..

de Buckra liked to call him King George, and he loved dat Bo Hog like a Bruddah

One day de neighbor dem come sae…,

 “Buckra, you know Black people is good people, an de don mine if yu wan tu live wid dem an roun dem an side a dem oh undah neet a dem oh on top a dem or all in de middle an in between a dem  excepin’ when dat big  stinkin ugly’ bo’ hog of yours own “dat yu likes tu call King George”, du knock doun he pig pen “dat yu likes tu call he Castle of King George” an wha yu set up right in de middle a de yad, dat yu likes tu call “de Kingdom of King George” when dat Bo’ hog come  rootin up in every body business all ovah de yad, an throwin’ doun de cloths line wid all de chirren dem clean clothes on it, an rootin’ up an rollin up in all de woman dem clean panty, rootin up and rollng ovah doung  in de dutty mud an stinkin’ up de place an oinkin up de place an squealin up de place like de las pig outta hell an  wakin’ up all de people dem in de yad which of late has  happen almos every  single  night a de week an twice on Sunday,

 An Buckra, like we say, yu n kno black people is good people an we don mine, but Buckra OH God Buckra,.we tink is time you should go live among yu own kine”..

Me own kine? sae de Buckra, me own kine? Wha kina kine yu tink is me own kine?

De boldest of de Neighbah dem sae “we have contemplated and conclude you should go live doun in Cha Cha tuun”,

 “Cha Cha toun? Say de Buckra, Cha Cha Toun?”

Yes sah Buckra we have decided that you should go live  wid de res a dem Cha Cha doun in  Cha Cha toun”

“Yu tink oy is a Cha cha? Yu tink oy is a Cha Cha?

Yu loy,! Yu don kno I is a white man?

 I ain no Cha Cha, yu Muddah is a Cha Cha!”

 No no! de uddah Neighbah say, no no not a Cha Cha, St. Thomas ain ga no Cha Cha no more, We doesn use that expression no more, she mean tu sae you should go live wid de res a dem doun Carenage..ers doun in Carenage..

Carenage? Carenage? Who yu callin a Carenage?  yu Muddah is aa Carenage!

No No Mistah Buckra, das de Frenchie dem way tu say  French Toun, 

French Toun? French Toun? Yu tink I should go live in French Toun?

Yes sah Mistah Buckra, Everybody in de yad say yu is  a Balahoo..

Das why yu should go livewid de res a de balahoo dem  doun in Cha Cha, ah mean French ah mean Carenage Toun!

Anuddah neibah pipe in

“Yes man yu keeian see how it is?

Guana should live wid Guana,

Mongoose should live wid Mongoose,

Guava don grow onna Cenepe Tree and yu shluld be wid de res a de Frenchie, Doun in Frenchie Toun”

De Buckra hot now, he say Guana? Guana? Who yu callin a Guana? Yu muddah is a Guana!

Not a Guana, de neighbah sae, not a Guana, yu is a Frenchie.

“Oy? Oy? You schupid oh sumting? Yu damn forward  AN schupiddy Oy ain no Frenchie,  Oy Is a white man yu talking to… Any body cou see I is a white man,.. wha wrang wid yu, anybody cou see Buckra De Paehae is a white man!”

Buckra, (say de very darkest a de neighbah dem)  Buckra, If you is a white man I is a Frenchie, if yu is a white man, why we don hear yu Yankin, Buckra, why we don hear yu yankin?”

 “Yankin? Yankin? Sae de Buckra,  yu want tu hear me Yankin?”

“Ok den.

AYHMM  COME FRUM ALABAMA

WID A BANJO ON MAH KNEE, BUT NOW AH MMM JES A SAILOR IN THE U.S NAYVEE”

“Yu see wha ah tell yu? Yu see wha ah tell yu? De neighbah sae, he ain no white man, he ain no white man. He keeian yank! Bou he is a white man, a white man wha keeian Yank? Yu evah see a white man wha keeian yank? De Buckra ain no white man, he is nuttin’ but a mushay! Ah say Sen im doun French Town!

Oh yeah say de Buckra, Oh Yeah? Ok, den.. “AH KIN SEE AHMM A GONNA HALF TA TALK REAL SERIOUS TU YAALLS SO YALL’S GONNA KNOW DAT YU IS TALKIN’ WID A BIG TIME AN  IMPORTANT WHITE MAN WHEN YU IS DEALING WID DE BUCKRA. 

NAH AHM A GONNA TELL YA SUNPIN, AH DON’T LIKE DE WAY SOMEFOLKS IS BEEN HARASSIN’ AN HOG TIEIN’ MY GOOD  KING GEORGE THE PO’K SWINE WID YER CLOTHLINES EVERY NIGHT AN AHMM A GITTIN’ TIURD AH TELLIN YA SO,

BUT JUS SOS,  DERES NO HARD FEELINS,AN DIS DON’T BECOME SOME KINA  FUGE, AH RECKON AHMM A GONNA PACK UP MAH SADDLEBAGS AN TAKE MA HERD, AH MEAN MA BO’HOAWAWG,  AN MOSEY ON DOUN WEST.

Yes Yes, Buckra de neighbah dem say, yes yes das de bes ting Buckra,  mosey on doun west to Cha Cha toun… 

An Me Boy, das when de REAL trouble start!

Buckra and  de Bo’ Hog went straight doun to French Town an walk right in to de famous Normandy Bah, it wa round 11 a clock in de mawnin so naturally de place wa almos full. Half a de man dem wa teachin’   high school and mos a de legislatue was doun dare tu get a good head start on de day. Plus a few Sailah Man…

Now de Bucvkra had done make up he mine dat  he ain talking no mo Island talk, because he ain wan nobody to make no mo mistake bou de fac dat  is a white man through an through, from den on he Yankin straight,

Well… maybe a white man wid a lil someting else throw in in dare but all de same de Buckra say he  Yankin’ straight.

“WAL MA GOOD FRENCHIE FELLOW” he say to de lil bahman “ LEMME HAVE DE BES RED SODA DAT YOU GOT IN DE PLACE AN PLUS AH WANTS TU RENT A LIL HOUSE FROM Y’ALL DOUN IN DIS HEAH FRENCH TOWN”

Dat time a man name Magras, sae “ 

“Hey hey wait meson wait, Wha yu tink yu goin wid dat Bo hog?”Dis is de Narmandy Bah, only de bes a people cu come in in side a heah an we don deal wid no Bo Hag doun French Toun , We is fishah man doug here, RIDERS ON THE SEA!  You in de wrang place me boy, yu bettah go Nart side whea yu cou join up wid de res a dem RIDERS ON A DONKEY, an fuddah mo you ain no Frenchie!  You mubbee som kina doublebreed Daneman  an Putto Rician from Sain Croix!

All dis time three or fo drunken Sailah done feed King George de Bo Hog  mo dan a quart a rum and coke chase down wid bou five or six cold schafah beer me boy, and de Bo Hog  feelin’ it now. 

“OINK! OINK!  SQUEEE! SQUEEE! OINK! OINK!  SQUEEE! SQUEEE! Say de Bo Hag.

Den he take off trunning roung and roung in de Normandy Bah, tunnin up and knockin doun table a chair, lef and right, all ovah de place, dis time he change he tune he  bawling out “ (SQUEEYAW SQUEEYAW OINK OINK! SQUEEYAW! SQUEEYAW!   De nex ting yu know de Bo Hag stop an start tu swing and sawy. He open he eye dem wide wide and den… he vomit up a Green an Yellow tidal wave of de wus stinkin frat full a ole drawers and panty yu evah see.

De sailah dem killing dey self wid de laugh, but de Frenchie dem don tink it’s so funny ah tall. 

Well me boy, Buckra an de Bo Hag had tu haul dey “humpf” outta French Town man dey two a dem run straight an all de way up Demarara Gut through mo jackspania and catchankee… dem boy ain stop til de reach de very top a Crown  an some ways doun de uddah side.

An dats how Buckra and de Bo Hag fus arrive in Nelteburg.

But befo yu know it dat Bo Hog King George wa makin trouble an terrorizing de poor people dem out dare, rooting up in de peppah patch and knockin doun de cloths line.. well until he disappeared one day.

 Some people say King George de Bo’ Hog decided tu go St. John an is de Faddah and de Gran Faddah of mos a de wus a de wile pig an even some a de wile donkey dem   harassin de people dem up dare in St. John,

Som uddah people say dem Nart side French man finally get tu hol de Bo’ hog,, an had de biggis roas pig  of all time, evah dat Bastille Day doun Hull bay,

But mos of all a taxi man say he know fo a fac dat dem boy from the de Agricultural Station out Dorithia catch King George an dress him up like a touris an put him onna touris boat, an nobody didn’t  notice de difference between he an de res a dem til’ dey reach back Florida me boy.

I don kno about dat, but de pert I tell yu, is wha happen an das de trut de whole trut an nuttin but de trut… So help me Miss Gearty!

 

“The Man Who Swam To St. John” (Emancipation Day)

July 2, 2013 2 comments

The Man Who Swam To St. John (Emancipation Day)                                            

                                                                                                                   By Scott Fagan

In 1985 Shaky Acres (the recovery program that Tuts and I had started in 1981) was going along fairly well, but was in need of a fund-raiser or two. Tuts heard (along with everyone else) of a proposed St. John swim (everybody heard of it because it was considered impossible by most folks, and suicidaly dangerous by local folks who knew that there were sharks, starvin’ hungry sharks, out there the size of the battleship “Bismarck”). The UDT (The Frogmen, The Navy Seals, The toughest hombres on or under the sea) while training for many years in St. Thomas, had given up on swimming to St. John because it was simply too crazy and dangerous a deed.

The well-intentioned local lady legislator who had proposed “the swim” was unaware of the deep and dark difficulties inherent in the “big fun fundraiser”

When Tutsie was a young boy, riding back across Sir Francis Drake’s Passage coming home with his Mother from a harvest festival in Cane Garden bay in Tortola,  he looked out from the deck of “The Joan Of Arc” or “The Bomba Charger” at Pillsbury Sound (The five-mile stretch of wild water that separates St. Thomas and St. John) he said to her “I cou’ swim ‘crass dat yu kno” His usually gentle and loving mother, scared to death by what she was hearing, tried to discourage this crazy idea once and for all by replying “Man hush up yu schupid mout, why yu like tu talk such schupid craziness?” Tuts didn’t see any reason to discuss it any further, but, he says, the conviction that he could do it, was locked in his mind for ever after.

It was July the third, 1985, Emancipation Day in The Virgin Islands. (Emancipation Day is the day in 1849, on which it became official that the slaves in the Danish West Indies had won their freedom and were now and forever more free) Freedom was a long time coming for the children of Africa in the DWI, and very hard-won, as was Tut’s own personal freedom from drugs and alcohol.

 There were forty eight entrants all together, most of them young white kids from the hot-shot St. Croix “Dolphins Swim Team”, they came prepared and ready to succeed, with sleek buoyant body suits, well fitted goggles and the best fins that money could buy

A number of the St. Thomas swimmers, were runners down from the states, budding tri-athletes, an elderly white gent determined to show his wife he still “had it” and half a hand full of locals with a mismatched assortment of masks and fins..

Tuts on the other hand was wearing one pair of big and baggy boxer trunks, y nada mas…

 As the other swimmers did warm ups and calisthenics on the sand at Vessup bay, Red Hook, a tough old Tortola sailor, pulled Tuts aside and said” Buaayyy yu, yu crazy buaay? Yuh following de damn schupid white people dem? Yuh don kno de real name fo red hook is shak waff? Buaayy!! Shak ow de biggah den uh submarine! Yu is a black man gon follow dem schupidy white people? Buaayy wha rang wid yuh, yuh crazy o something?”

 Tuts concedes that the strongly delivered warning did cause him much concern, but that he had already told everybody over and again that he was going to do it, told them in the strongest terms, in the face of the harshest ridicule. It was common knowledge that no (sane) black person from the Islands could ever, should ever and would ever attempt to make that swim. Therefore, as his sanity was in question, it was also a crucial moment for recovery in the Islands.

At this moment he was demonstrating clearly (to local folks) that local people who went to fellowship meetings “wid de crazy white people dem” were demonstrably nuts (just like they thought) and for him to chicken out before he even hit the water would have sealed it once and for all. Tuts has since confessed that on that particular morning he had decided that he would rather be eaten alive, than quit.

 Once the old Tortola man realized that he was not talking to a sensible gentleman of color, he began to encourage him with information about what to expect in terms of currents and where to find what he called “soft spots” in the sea. He stated flatly that “yuh can’t swim directly East ta St. John, yuh have tu swim for “Loango”  (Loango Key, a small Island East North East of St. John) and as yuh hold Loango as your goal, the current will be sweepin’ yuh south, look sharp! Buaay, dat is de onliest way to get dare”.

 As the swim began, the fast and the fancy took off due East for Cruz bay and before you knew it half of them had been swept away and were heading backwards around Cabrita Point towards Big and Little St. James, then out over the  Anegada Trench, (The deepest trench in the Caribbean, on the bottom of which the scariest bug eyed things on earth, with jumping, wiggling  electro “bait worms” dangling in front of  foot long razor teeth, swim around four miles down, snapping  steel trap jaws, and saying fish prayers, to get their dribbly lips around something, anything, soaked and slathered in coconut oil, or greasy mango scented sun tan lotion) and then south and west for St Croix, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Haiti, The Caymans, The Isle of Pines Cuba, and New Orleans. (of course by the time they got to New Orleans there would be nothing left of them but a Speedo tag and whatever plastics they’d swallowed along the way) needless to say, an armada of rescue boats started pulling people in over the gunnels, like langustas on parade, on a fish pot Saturday night.

 Tuts was heading for Loango .

 Shortly after the fast and the fancy fiasco, the old white gent’s wife, standing in his rescue boat started screaming hysterically “A Shark! A Shark! Oh my God, I see a Shark!” Pull my husband out, pull my husband out, pull him out right now!! Oh my GOD! Pull my husband out right now!

Tuts says the poor old gent was utterly dejected as they pulled him up, his bathing suit drooping below his pale old, pink old, shiny old  hiney.

 Next went the dapper sharply outfitted “high color” attorney from the states, who had looked most disdainfully upon our man’s baggy boxers and boney bare feet but was now being dragged, thoroughly defeated, flat on his back from the sea to flat on his back on the bottom of the heaving boat.

  The boats were heaving now because the seas were heaving now, they were coming into “The Big Blue”. A section of the sound a mile or more wide, in which, or perhaps I ought to say, through which, big serioso, fast moving, megalo mountains of Big Blue Heavy Water Waves (Waves of the sort that make you say “Good Lord” or “Mama Mia” or “Holy Freakin’ Toledo” when you first see them even though you (if you have good sense) are looking at them from your perch on the deck of a big passenger ferry, ten or fifteen feet above the water line.

 If you are in the water “down in the hollow” splashing along on your belly and craning your neck up trying to see the top of the wave, you will probably say a lot more than good lord, and if you are Tutsie and your rescue boat is manned by one “Fisherman John” a continental dipso juicehead,  that you recently helped to drag off the junk heap of life, but now haven’t seen for over  half an hour, most of it will not be printable in a general audience mem.wha? such as this one. But you can believe me when I say, you have probably never heard anything like it.

 Eventually, Tuts discovered that if he swam like crazy faster and faster as he got closer and closer to the top and he could then flip over to his back at just the last second the wave would crest and the curl would break over his shoulders. He could “hang there” for seconds, (perhaps one or two of the longest this side of eternity,) and contemplate his mounting misery and helplessness before having to roll over and slide headfirst down down down, ah..down down down, ah down down down, down. (Knowing that some thing is surely waiting in the “trough” to open its porky yaw and scrape the heck out of  your back, belly and sides as it swallows you whole)

 As I may have mentioned casually a short while ago, this section of the sound was just a splash over a mile or more wide, can you guess how many times your whole life can flash before your eyes before you get completely bored with it?

What you don’t get bored with is the fact that you cannot see either Island or for that matter any thing at all when you are down in the valley, nothing but deep dark blue. So the desperate hope that you might be able to see something, anything, hinting at where you are, (is it Puerto Rico? Is it Berlin?) at the top of the next wave is a powerful draw, and can keep you going for many a repetition.

 One time he did see some thing recognizable back on St.Thomas, it was the two super poles that mark the spot where the undersea cable goes down beneath the sea. way down to the bottom, that’s the bottom way way down in the pitch black darkness beneath his own bottom. Better to see nothing he thought, than things as scary as that.

Pretty soon his primary concern had shifted from monstroso seas, to waves slapping him in the face, slap slap slap slap and he realized that he was in a different kind of swim now, the big blue was behind him, and he was battling offshore currents, lucky he had gone for Loango, because now, in spite of his forward motion he was being swept sideways, southward towards “Stephens Key”, a small flat island outside of  the Bay of Cruz Bay or Cruz Bay Bay, comprende?

 Tuts knew that if he allowed himself to be swept southward beyond Stephens Key, he would be out in the Anegada Trench, and then as likely as not his rescuers would be the Venezuelan Navy. He determined that he had to get to and make it through the spiffy currents around Stephens Key

If the current was running in his favor it could be a breeze, he was exhausted, but just on the inside of Stephens Key was the outer entrance to Cruz Bay. He was almost, almost there.

Alas, the current was not in his favor (unless he wanted to turn around and “go with the flow” back to the “Cabrita express” and the afore-mentioned many points beyond) and this part of the swim took everything but the very best of him. The very best of him was all that kept him kicking; the current was so strong that the surface water was rippling backwards in protest. That’s when the “water under water” is moving too fast for the water “on the water” to keep up, so the surface ripples backwards in tiny little cascades of confusion, all of which seemed to be going right up his nose, and down his throat.

 They say that the children of Africa can’t swim. My friend Tutsie has proved time and again, that that is a racist lie, or put another way, demonstrably untrue. Although it is true that Tutsie’s Mother, Miss Meu, born in Dominica, was one half Carib. And although the present effort of the Carib/Arawak Federation is to dispel the myth that they say King Charles of Spain used to promulgate and excuse the genocide of the indigenous Peoples of the Caribbean, specifically, that the Caribs were so wild and savage that they ate people, there is no question that the Caribs were and are among the toughest of the toughest human beings that have ever lived. So our man, three quarters African, One quarter Carib (with a smitter smatter of  French and, British, both in the African part of the pie) is lying all but dead in the water, having just burst through the impassable current hole at Stephen’s Rock.

 Tuts aka “El Toro” aka “Peperino” aka  Skarpy aka “The Rabbi” (that’s another story) aka a hundred other desperado descriptors, is ready to give it up. If only he had the strength to raise his arm to signal surrender or the voice to beg to be dragged out of the sea, he would have done so. But just then the cheerful voice of Fisherman John came sing-songing across the water, “Make it look pretty Tuts! Make it look pretty! We’re almost there man!, Make it look pretty!!!.

 Some day I’ll build a statue at Cabrita Point to Victor Antonius “Tutsie”  “El Toro” Edwards, one portraying a skinny little mahogany or Brass hued dude in baggy boxers, tilting forward on one leg, the other angled up and out behind, with hands clasped (as in prayer) just above his head, Poised to dive into history.

Tuts became that day the first native Virgin Islander to EVER in all time, swim from St. Thomas to St. John.

 It wasn’t pretty as he crawled and dragged himself ashore (water streaming from every orifice), and it wasn’t pretty as he collapsed on the sand, unable to stand for a full three minutes. But in his defense, he was forty freakin’ years old and working with a body that had been ravaged by drugs and alcohol.

 The kids on the Dolphin swim team have much to be proud of, they did in their wetsuits, fins and organized swim formations, what the rough and tough UDT had given up on, they made the swim.

I know that where ever these kids are in the world, and where ever they will go, they will always remember that “once upon a time, when we were kids in the islands, my friends and me did the impossible together” they will also remember with awe and admiration “that skinny little fellow in the baggy boxer trunks” that did it alone and bare footed, and then, passed on the champagne and praise, because “that’s not why he was there”.

Tutsie made the swim because it was Emancipation Day, and he wanted to demonstrate and celebrate freedom, he wanted to demonstrate freedom from fear of the sea and the ignorant idea that “Black people can’t swim” He wanted to demonstrate that “recovery is macho” and that black people now  need to be emancipated from the chemical slavery that is alcoholism and addiction, and because even though she was long gone, he wanted his mother to know that he could do, what he said he could do, and now it was time to go home… And oh yeah, he did it for Shaky Acres.

Of course we were celebrating Tutsie long before we started Shaky Acres and he swam to St. John. I first recorded “Tutsie” for BANG Records in 1965, (we wore it out on the Juke box at Duffys) and then again for RCA in 1975 as La Biega Carosuel/Tutsie. If you listen closely to this more recent recording  (You will find Tutsie’s song “la Biega Carousel” here. La Beiga Carousel/Tutsie  ( made in St. Thomas in 2005) you’ll hear our friends Jeff Medina, Morgan Rael, Lennie Monsanto, Richard Spencley, Cliff Finch, and Robbie Roberts, strummin’ and bangin’ out the groove and the beautiful ”Of GOD” and Mighty Whitey and April Moran on the choruses.

Scott Fagan

 

                                    Copyright 2012, Scott Fagan Music ASCAP.

 

The Sand Box Kids…Trader Dan’s..Duffy’s…

June 27, 2013 1 comment

Recently I was” invited/automatically included” in a new Facebook group called “Sandbox Kids” by a founding member “Bite Size”. I am grateful to be invited/included in anything started by the mighty Bite Size and thank her for her kindness.

 The Sand Box was a fine bar in a good drinking local, specifically backstreet, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. The Sand Box Kids group, is made up of the children who drank there during the sixties and seventies and have miraculously survived to this day.

 I say children because there was no minimum drinking age in the Islands in those days, and many of us started very early, (13 in my case) we drank and danced and fought and f*cked like ..well,.. crazed drunken children in a perfect never land.

 Anyone that knows me or my recordings, knows that in truth and above all, I am a Trader Dan’s Boy (Trader Dan’s was another fine bar in a good drinking local, specifically the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas) through and through.

 My first recorded reference to T D’s (as we called it) was in my 1966 recording of “Tutsie” (BANG Records) (which I built my La Biega Carousel medley around), “Tutsie” was a 45 (bw “Give Love A Chance”)   that quickly showed up on the jukebox at “Duffy’s”, (my second most favorite bar).

Duffy’s Bar is where “The Mamas and The Papas” got started, and my own first group “The Urchins” came together in early 1964. Duffy’s is also where I met “Lotus” a wild woman/child who would become the Mother of my Son, Stephin Merritt.

 My song “South Atlantic Blues” (from My album South Atlantic Blues, ATCO 1968) references an alcoholic Priest, and a homeless woman/mother living “in the alley” that alley is of course the alley that led from Trader Dan’s to Duffy’s then across Main street to Back street and ‘Eddies Backstreet Bar” which in time became the afore mentioned “Sand Box”.

 The last verse talks about a girl standing by the sea side waiting for her lover to rescue and take her away, she is of course standing on the waterfront directly across from T D’s. Almost exactly where I went overboard into the sea, drag racing in her step father’s red Volkswagen in 1962, but that is another story.

 A photograph surfaced recently during the making of the Doc Pomus movie “AKA Doc Pomus”, of that Trader Dan’s boy at his first recording session at Columbia Records in late 1964.

 I had sailed out of Charlotte Amalie  at dawn on July 2nd, 1964 on a fifty foot Ketch rigged Sloop called “The Success” heading for Coconut Grove/Dinner Key, Miami, Florida.

A month at sea and a few weeks later, I found myself in N.Y. I was immediately signed by Doc Pomus and then Columbia Records. I was just turning 19.

 Absolutely no one has ever missed his home town, his friends and our fantastically free life any more than I did in those first years away from home. The life that we shared and my longing for it, has informed every bit of my music since.

 I am posting the photo of that displaced Trader Dan’s/Duffy’s/Sand Box boy’s first Columbia recording session.

Here it is

Here it is

I am posting the song “South Atlantic Blues” which more than any other captured the depth of emotion that I was feeling in those days,

South Atlantic Blues

 And I am posting the recent recording of my song  “Sure Has Been Good Loving You Baby” which accurately reflects the way that I feel and have always felt about the beautiful girls/young women of that time and place.

Sure Has Been Good Scott Fagan And The MAAC Island Band

 I will dedicate this to Patricia, Bonnie Barr, Jeanette, Barbara, Kathleen, Harriet, Delia, April, Lotus and Bite Size, and to all the girls and boys who lived and loved (and died) in our crazy never never I’land.

 Thank you Bite Size, and God Bless us all.. now, then and forever.   

Scott Fagan, On the road, in the states, still singing about it.. and you all. June, 2013.

NO MORE GUNS and Then Some…

December 16, 2012 1 comment

Dear Good People,

We recorded “No More Guns” at Associated Studios, in New York City, immediately after Guns and Insanity came together (as they always do) to end the life and work of John Lennon. Here it is.

The following short essays (2) were addressed to fellow Virgin Islanders and printed in the Virgin Islands Daily News (5/12/09 and 5/19/09 and The V.I. Source 5/10/09 and 5/16/09) as a response to the gun violence that has migrated to the U.S. Virgin Islands as a result of the crazy gun culture of  our “Modernday Motherland” the USA.

Dear Fellow Virgin Islander,

 It has been suggested that I bring the following essays to your attention.

I believe that the idea put forth in “Let’s Make The Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory” and “Further to Let’s Make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory” is do-able with your help, and would have an immensely positive and lasting effect on individuals, families and communities here at home, and in the perception of  our Islands as a travel and business destination in the eyes of the world.

I believe that together we can find the courage, the will and the way, to change the paradigm for guns and gun violence once and for all, in our (once peaceful, now pitifully violent) Virgin Islands.

I know that many of the individuals that I admire most, will object to my suggestions, however,  many of those very people  are no longer living in the Virgin Islands precisely because the ever-growing levels of gun violence creates the perception if not the fact, that the Virgin Islands are no longer safe for their families and themselves.

If after looking at the abject failure of the individual states and the nation at large to successfully  eliminate or even minimize  gun violence via registration and waiting periods you have a better idea, the time to suggest it may be  now.

I’d like to know what you think. Please email me at scott@lilfish.com

Thank you for your time and interest. 

Sincerely, your friend,  Scott Fagan

 “Let’s Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory” Part 1.

 The Virgin Islands is a territory of the United States of America; this unique relationship gives us the freedom to take a stand within the United States, and beyond if necessary, to demand that our home, these beautiful Virgin Islands, be designated, recognized and supported as a gun free territory. 

Arguments that gun lobbyists use in the states have no validity here…Virgin Islanders don’t need guns to defend themselves against invaders.

Rest assured that if anyone tries to take away their hard-won freedom, Virgin Islanders will meet them and defeat them.

We don’t need to have our beautiful Islands, our families and our society racked, riddled and torn apart by gun violence, in anticipation of that “someday” when an invader may arrive on our shores. Virgin Islanders defended themselves and won their freedom without guns before, and if necessary, will do it again.

 Gun lobbyists who would argue for a “so called” right to hunt in the Virgin Islands, are out of step, particularly when you consider the game. What shall we hunt? Sparrows? Trushie? Mongoose or Iguana? The sad little deer?  Tragically, in the modern-day Virgin Islands, the primary prey is human beings, young men hunting young men, our young men, our children.

 Virgin Islanders know that if you let children play with dangerous things (and guns are dangerous things and the people playing with them are our children) sooner or later, they will hurt themselves or others. We know that. We also know that ultimately, no one, not the United States or anyone else, should have the right to force us to have guns in our territory, if we the people have decided that we don’t want them.

It is time that Virgin Islanders (I, you, we) take action and make a stand…

What will it take for us to make our territory gun free? Our absolute commitment to stand together to make it so…that is all my friends, that is all.

 Let’s get started and let our community leaders, our Senators, our Governor, The United States Congress, our President and the whole world know, that the people of the Virgin Islands have decided. From this point forward, we intend to be a gun free territory.

 Let us reject any philosophy that would force or impose guns on our society and be united in our commitment that “no matter what it takes”, our Virgin Islands could be, should be and will be, free of guns and gun violence. Let’s make the Virgin Islands a gun free Territory, and let’s get started right now!

 Further to.. “Let’s make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory

 I’ve read with interest the recent dismissive responses to my suggestion that Virgin Islanders join together to “Make The Virgin Islands A Gun Free Territory” I would point out that the gun violence that we are experiencing has little to do with the registration of  fire arms, and that we have no interest in denying anyone their constitutional rights.

The fact and reality is that young men in the Virgin Islands are involved in a classic turf war and arms race, and that unscrupulous people are willing and eager to sell these young men new and ever more murderous weapons, guaranteed to further escalate the conflict and the casualties. All concerned citizens of our community want and need to find a way to put an end to it.

 The question is how? The interesting suggestion that I have offered, is that “we the people” make (by voting on it of course) our Virgin Islands, a nationally and internationally recognized “gun free territory”. 

One reader responded by saying “Its not for him (Scott Fagan) or anyone else to deprive US citizens of this (or any other right) just because you don’t like it or because it is not part of your particular cultural orientation.” It is true that it is not my right (or intention) to deprive US citizens of their right to own a gun. However, US citizens willingly accept the suspension of that second amendment right, (in the interest of public safety) when they travel to most of the civilized countries of the world. Cultures that do not have a history of glorifying guns (which includes the Virgin Islands) are well within their rights to discourage the availability of guns exactly because they “don’t like them” and they are not part of their “cultural orientation” 

I know that my suggestion sounds like blasphemy to some statesiders who are not accustomed to viewing the Virgin Islands as having quite a separate history and cultural orientation from the US, and may further, be unaware that The Virgin Islands did NOT participate in drafting or ratifying the US Constitution. Overall a fine document, but one that has repeatedly (27 times to date) demonstrated the need for corrections or amendments. Consequently, Virgin Islanders have no reason to feel inextricably bound to articles or amendments that (while exalted as a right by some people in the states) may be wrong for us.. Particularly considering how murderously destructive firearms have become to OUR culture and OUR community. 

That is why my letter “Let’s Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory” begins with the reminder that we are a territory, in a somewhat unique position. We were bought and sold in a political transaction between two sovereign nations “lock, stock and population” against the protest of many Danes and without the benefit of a legally recognized majority vote, by the general population of the Virgin Islands. Consequently, we may have a certain moral leverage (even if only in pathetically obvious questions such as “must we allow the United States or anyone else to insist that our Islands be flooded with firearms, even if we don’t want them?”)  a moral leverage that I believe our current President and the world at large is likely to recognize and support.

 Yes I realize that reasonable people in dangerous times would like to have a defensive weapon available. Yes I understand that our peace officers and Judges will have to do a much better job of protecting us all. Yes I know it will be quite difficult to clear our Islands of the arsenals of weapons. And most importantly, Yes, we are all afraid.

But Virgin Islanders have sufficient courage to stand together in the face of adversity to bring the end to the gun violence that we so desperately want, need and deserve.

 All Virgin Islanders want a Virgin Islands in which the current crazy universal access to  guns and ever escalating gun violence is a thing of the past. We are not talking about disarming the police or the National Guard, we are talking about voting to outlaw the manufacture, Importation, sale, distribution and use of firearms among the general public. 

What a positive and inspiring effect our declaring the beautiful Virgin Islands “A Gun Free Territory” would have on businesses and potential travelers all over the world, not to mention our own children and community. What a negative impression the current reports of our ever escalating gun violence make.

One extraordinary way for Virgin Islanders to shape our own destiny and accomplish our very own quite improbable dream this year, is to take a stand to “Make the Virgin Islands a Gun Free Territory” starting right now. We can do it..yes we can.

 Scott Fagan, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, May,2009. scott@lilfish.com

Further to Further..here in the states we have just experienced the insane and efficient murder of  the beautiful innocents in Connecticut and are deep in the (almost monthly) orgy of 24 hour “hushed tone” news coverage, the hyped up “investigations of the crime scene” and the obligatory hand wringing and pointless choruses of “why” “why”” why”.

The why ought to be obvious to anyone, when murderously deranged people can get their hands on a gun or guns, someone is likely to get killed. When they can get their hands on automatic weapons more than one someone is likely to get killed. Forgive me, but in plain speak, nuts can get guns and that’s almost always the why.

 It seems to me that the question that all our horror, anguish and concern ought better be focused on is how. How to keep guns out of the hands of deranged people. That is a question that all folks can unite around and find answers for. We can make great progress on the very specific question of  how to get  many more gatekeepers and safeguards between those with a  murderous madness (yes we can identify disturbed people and intervene earlier and more constructively) and the efficient people killing machines (automatic weapons) that we make available to them.

 Tragically, we have seen these traumas come and go..but after all and above all, let us never give up on the idea that we are responsible to and for one another and if we stick with it and don’t give up, sooner or later, one way or the next…a change is going to come..