DESCRIPTION: "He promised to meet me at Linstead Market, take me out to a show." The girl waits long, but there is no sign of Joe. At last a letter arrives, saying that he "just got married today." He promises to meet her the next day, though, and take her to the show
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Jekyll)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Jamaican patois: A woman goes to Linstead market to sell her ackee on a Saturday night. People come, including (Lord Flea) a soldier, to "feel up" and "finger" including a voodoo man (Denzil Laing -- maybe a figurative "finger") but she has no sale. The market is no calm agora: there is a fight (Lord Messam), and the woman rides "a merry go-round" (Lord Messam, Laing). At night's end the children meet her to see what she has brought home (Bennett, Laing)
KEYWORDS: courting marriage infidelity Caribbean
FOUND IN: West Indies(Jamaica,Trinidad)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Murray, pp. 19-21, "Linstead Market" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jekyll 121, ("Me carry me akee a Linstead market") (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 335, "Linstead Market" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Jim Morse, _Folk Songs of the Caribbean_ (New York: Bantam Books, 1958), pp. 86-87, "Linstead Market" (1 text, 1 tune)
Noel Dexter and Godfrey Taylor, _Mango Time - Folk Songs of Jamaica_ (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2007), pp. 50-51, "Linstead Market" (1 text, 1 tune)
Helen H Roberts, "A Study of Folk Song Variants Based on Field Work in Jamaica" in _The Journal of American Folklore_, Vol. XXXVIII, No. 148 (Apr-Jun 1925 (available online by JSTOR)), #44-56 pp. 184-190 "Akee Song No. 1" (14 texts, 14 tunes) [#54 has an a and b version]
Louise Bennett, "Linstead Market" (on WILBennett01)
Edric Connor with the Caribbeans and Earl Inkman, "Linstead Market" (on WIEConnor01)
Denzil Laing and The Wigglers, "Linstead Market/Day O)" (2004, on "Mento Madness, Motta's Jamaican Mento: 1951-56," V2 Music Ltd CD 63881-27201-2)
Lord Flea and The Jamaican Calypsonians, "Run Mongoose/Linstead Market)" (2013, on "Mento, Not Calypso," Fantastic Voyage CD FVDD163)
Lord Messam and his Calypsonians, "Linstead Market" (2004, on "Mento Madness, Motta's Jamaican Mento: 1951-56," V2 Music Ltd CD 63881-27201-2)
Boysie Grant with Reynolds' Calypso Clippers, "Come We Go Down a Unity/Old Lady O/Linstead Market" (2004, on "Mento Madness, Motta's Jamaican Mento: 1951-56," V2 Music Ltd CD 63881-27201-2)
Lord Fly and Dan Williams Orchestra,"Medley of Jamaican Mento-Calypsos(Linstead Market;Hol' him Joe;Dog War a Mattuse Lane; Manuel Road)" (1951, on Motta MRS 02A, 2006, "Take Me to Jamaica: The Story of Jamaica Mento," Pressure Sounds CD PSCD 51)
NOTES: Linstead is in central Jamaica.
Louise Bennett is the source for Murray, Morse and Dexter & Taylor.
Jekyll, p. 220: "The Akee (Cupiana edulis), pronounced acky, is a handsome tree producing something which one hardly knows whether to call a fruit or a vegetable. Besides the edible part, the beautiful scarlet capsule contains a substance which is poisonous. Deaths by misadventure through carelessness in its preparation for table occur every year."
The Jamaican versions I have so far -- Jekyll, Bennett, Laing, Lord Flea, Lord Fly, Lord Messam and Boysie Grant -- tell the story described in the LONG DESCRIPTION. So, what is the woman selling in the market on Saturday night? Bennett and Murray -- but not Connor -- have her really selling ackee ("Lady, buy yuh Sunday mawnin' breakfus'/ Rice and ackee nyam gran'"); on the other hand, in the 1950s, Bennett opposed "slackness" in music aimed at tourists; see the notes to "Hold 'im Joe." Connor does end with a spoken question: "Akee? Any akee lady?" Bennett is Murray's source; Murray is Connor's source.
The "merry-go-round" reference (Lord Messam, Denzil Laing) is not an anachronism. Jekyll (1907) has two other Jamaican songs about a merry-go-round (#146 pp. 241-242 and #147 pp. 242-243). Jekyll writes that "the merry-go-round is popular."
KEYWORDS for the Jamaican texts-might include "commerce," "food," and "sex."
Helen Roberts's texts, gathered between 1919 and 1925, have only what is usually the first verse and chorus, for the most part, though two versions add a verse from another song: "Gal, You Wan' Fe Come Kill Me?" in one case, and "Wata Come a Me Y'Eye" in the other. Her local titles are "Me Carry Me Akee a' Linstead Market," "The Old Gabber" [which combines with "Gal, You Wan' Fe Come Kill Me?"], "You Carry Yo' Akee to Linstead Market", "You Carry Yo' Akee' to Sollas Market" (2), "Sen' Me Akee [to Kingston Sollas/ to Kingston Market]" (2), "Carry Me Akee [to Solas Market], "Take Me Akee [to Sollas Market]," "Akee [go to Sollas market/ go to Kingston Sollas] (4) [one of which combines with "Wata Come a Me Y'Eye"]. Roberts's first text and tune are from Jekyll. "Sollas market, " Roberts explains, is one of several in Kingston itself." Roberts does not consider any sexual angle and her one-verse texts would give her no reason to think of that. The akee, she writes, "probably did not sell in the first place on account of its doubtful quality." - BS
Last updated in version 4.0
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.