Hill and Gully

DESCRIPTION: Jamaican patois: chorus "hill an' gully ride-a, hill an' gully" (2x). Each verse line is followed by "hill an' gully." Roughly: bend down low/ hill and gully/ low down best you be down/ hill and gully/ better mind or you tumble down/ hill and gully.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (Murray)
KEYWORDS: game nonballad worksong injury Devil
FOUND IN: West Indies(Jamaica)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Murray, p. 9, "Hill and Gully" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Olive Lewin, "Rock It Come Over" - The Folk Music of Jamaica (Barbados: The University of the Westy Indies Press, 2000), p. 82, "Hill an' Gully" (1 text, 1 tune)
Noel Dexter and Godfrey Taylor, _Mango Time - Folk Songs of Jamaica_ (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2007), p. 52, "Hill and Gully" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jim Morse, _Folk Songs of the Caribbean_ (New York: Bantam Books, 1958), pp. 98-99, "Hill an' Gully" (1 text, 1 tune)
Martha Warren Beckwith and Helen Roberts, _Folk-Games of Jamaica_ (Poughkeepsie: Vassar College, 1922 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")) #32 pp. 39-41, "Hill and Gully Riding" (2 texts, 2 tunes)

Edric Connor with the Caribbeans and Earl Inkman, "Hill an' Gully" (on WIEConnor01)
Lord Composer and the Silver Seas Hotel Orchestra, "Hill and Gully Ride[sic]";"Mandeville Road" (before 1956, on Motta MRS DMS 31, before 1956, Motta LP MOTL 103, 2004, "Mento Madness, Motta's Jamaican Mento: 1951-56," V2 Music Ltd CD 63881-27201-2)
The Charms, "Hill and Gully" Island (1964, 45 rpm WI-154 B)
Valerie Walker, "Hill and Gully" (1981, on "John Crow Say... Jamaican Music of Faith, Work & Play," Smithsonian Folkways FE 4228)

NOTES [274 words]: Lewin: "Most Jamaicans know 'Hill an' Gully Rider' as a work song. It, however started life as a rather athletic game played by men and boys in western [hilly] Maroon [free black] towns."
The description follows Murray and Dexter/Taylor. Morse has a similar verse: "an' you fall down, low down/ hill an' gully/ an' de low down Debil glad/ hill an' gully/ an' he laffin' wen you tumble down/ hill an' gully." Lewin's continues along the same line: if you fall you'll break your neck; if you beak your neck you'll go to hell; if you go to hell the devil will laugh. Lord Composer has "bend down low down/.../ and then you dance right round down/.../ and if you broke your neck you gonna hell/..."
Murray has this as a game song. Dexter/Taylor has it as a work song. Lewin has it as "a Maroon [free black] play song: a plantation work song"; she describes the game. Both Walker and Lord Composer have the "if you fall down you'll go to hell" verse and Walker's version clearly seems to be a game ("if you broke it then you go again"). The Charms's ska version -- "careful how you go, mind your back and fore" -- can be read as dance -- "back to back, belly to belly" -- or sex instruction; no fall down or go to hell.
There is a dancehall version by Yellowman which, after the dedications, I cannot translate from Jamaican patois; I'm not surprised that I hear nothing there -- except the chorus -- that sounds like anything I have heard on other records or seen in the books. (Yellowman, "Hill and Gully Rider" (on 1984, "Yellowman - Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt," Greensleeves LP GREL 71).
Also, see the notes to "Go Down Emmanuel Road." - BS
Last updated in version 4.0
File: JaMu009

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