Go Down Emmanuel Road
DESCRIPTION: "Go down Emanuel Road, go for broke rock stone," "knock out" or "broke them" or "rock them" or "out come" or "count down" one by one ... eight by eight or "mash your finger" "finger mash no cry" "'member to play with a play"
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Jekyll)
KEYWORDS: game nonballad worksong
FOUND IN: West Indies Belize
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Jekyll 98, ("Me go da Galloway road, Gal an' boy them broke rock stone") (1 fragment, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Olive Lewin, _Rock It Come Over The Folk Music of Jamaica_ (Jamaica: The University of West Indies Press, 2000), p. 80-81, Manuel Road (1 text, 1 tune)
Jim Morse, _Folk Songs of the Caribbean_ (New York: Bantam Books, 1958), pp. 104-106, "Manuel Ground" (1 text fragment, 1 tune) [source: Bennett Folkways recording]
Ervin Beck, "Belizean Creole Folk Songs" in _Caribbean Quarterly_, Vol. 29, No. 1 (March 1983 (made available online by JSTOR)), pp. 44-45, "Kellyman Town" (1 text, 1 tune) (recorded 1956-57)).
Louise Bennett, "Manuel Ground" (1957, on "Childrens' Jamaican Songs and Games," Folkways FC 7250)
Blind Blake Higgs, "Go Down Emmanuel Road" (on WIHIGGS01)
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)
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, as "Medley: Linstead Market/Hold 'Im Joe/Doh War A Matches Lane/Emanuel Road" on "Take Me to Jamaica," Pressure Sounds CD PSCD 51)
The Gaylads, "Emanuel Road" (1965, as "Gal & Boy" on C and N Records 45rpm EP CN 111, 2002, "Ska Days," Soul Beat CD) "Gal & Boy"
NOTES [539 words]: The Gaylads version is a ska recording that is close to an abbreviated Bennett version. The third, and longest verse is "[Go down a Manuel Road, gal and boy, /Fe go bruk rock stone (gal and boy)][2x], Bruk them one by one (gal and boy)/ ... /Bruk them four by four (gal and boy) /Finger mash you no cry (gal and boy)/Member to play wid a play (gal and boy)/Finger mash you no cry (gal and boy)."
The instructions are usually (see Jekyll, Lewin and Bennett, Lord Composer) aimed at "gal and boy" but Higgs has "jolly boys" and Lord Fly has "Jolly Boy." Lewin (p. 43) has "gal" and "boy" "commonly used in the Jamaican context" of song.
Lewin, p. 80: "In 'Manuel Road', the most popular [Jamaican stone] game, six or more players kneel in a circle, each tapping a fairly large stone on the ground in time to the song. The speed thus established, the game begins in earnest. Players pass the stones to the right. If the movement coincides with the accents of the song (indicating the passing of the stones) all is well. If not, a finger can be crushed as a stone lands on it heavily."
Bennett liner notes p. 2, and Morse, pp. 105-106, give a different description of the game, without literal stones, in which "anyone who drops out is the 'mashed finger."
The title of Bennett's track is "Manuel Ground" but she sings "Go down a Manuel Road," album liner notes and Morse's transcription notwithstanding.
Jekyll has "Galloway road", "where there is a quarry."
The label on Lord Composer's 78 MRS DMS 31 has its two songs as "Jamaican digging songs." While the references I have make "Go Down Emmanuel Road" a ring game, Lewin has this to say about "Hill an' Gully": "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 Maroon towns" [Lewin, p. 82]. The label is at least partly justified, but see the following note as further justification for marking "Go Down Emmanuel Road" a worksong.
The following description of Jamaican women's work songs -- commenting specifically on "Hill an' Gully" and "Manuel Road" -- reminds me of Gaelic songs for milling wool (waulking tweed) (see, for example, the Index entries for "Oran Na Caillich," "Brughaichean Ghlinn-Braon, "Fhear a Bhata" and "O A lu, Nach Till Thu Dhomnaill"):
"Manual labour was such an all-pervading feature in the life of black Jamaicans that music from other areas of activity was borrowed to accompany it. For example, the Maroon game 'Hill an' Gully' ... is now known and used in field and on stage as a work song. Work movements and rhythms also inspired play activities, such as stone passing games. I remember women in my childhood, sitting facing piles of stones, breaking them for covering dusty or water-pocked roads. They worked rhythmically, whether singly or in groups, to let the 'music carry the work' and make it easier for them. The same rhythm was transferred to games such as 'Manuel Road'...." [Lewin, p. 101].
Ervin: "Although one Belizean informant associated 'Kellyman Town' with Kelly Street in Belize City, the word 'Kellman' probably should be regarded as a Belizean transmutation of the 'Galloway road' (site of a stone quarry) in Jekyll's version." - BS
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