Category Archives: Harry Belafonte

Radio II, side B, track 5: “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte

Oh, Harry Belafonte, I was so excited to have captured this song on my tape.  I don’t know where I first heard this one, but I loved it, but in the age before the internet and in the age before a driver’s license and in the age before having anywhere other than the local M + M hardware store and/or Pamida to buy cassette tapes, I had no idea what the name of this song was or who sang it or anything.  And even if I had, it was doubtful that M + M or Pamida carried any Harry Belafonte cassettes anyway.   At the time, it was just a fun song.  Who doesn’t like to sing “Day-o!  Day-ay-ay-o!” at the top of their lungs?  If I’d given more thought to the words, though, I would have seen that those men on the banana boat and I had a similar experience in that we were both stacking food for a living, them with bananas, me with hay bales.  And my dad was the tally man, watching from the tractor to make sure I was stacking those bales right.  To this day, I wonder if baling hay would have been more enjoyable with some rum in me.

“The Banana Boat Song”

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

A beautiful bunch a’ ripe banana
Daylight come and me wan’ go home
Highly 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

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