Hold 'im Joe

DESCRIPTION: Joe: hold my donkey; it wants water and candy; it's dandy. Singer works and people call him "copperhead"; resting on the beach people call him "sponger man." They say his donkey is bad; it's from Trinidad; he says it's good; it's brave like Robin Hood
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1907 (Jekyll)
KEYWORDS: sex animal nonballad worksong
FOUND IN: West Indies Panama Canal Zone
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Jekyll 84, "Me donkey want water" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: Louise Cramer, "Songs of West Indian Negroes in the Canal Zone" in _California Folklore Quarterly_, Vol. V, No. 3 (Jul 1946 (available online by JSTOR)), pp. 251-252 "Hold Him Joe" (2 texts)
Noel Dexter and Geodfrey Taylor, _Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica_ (Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, 2007), pp-38-39, "Hol' 'im Joe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Harold Courlander, _A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore_ (New York:Marlowe & Co, 2002) "excerpt digitized by Google"), pp. 107-108, "My Donkey Want Water [Macbeth]" ("Hold him Joe, hold him Joe, Hold him Joe but don't let him go")
Timothy White, _Catch a Fire: The Life of Bob Marley_ (New York: Henry Holt, 1989), pp. 382-383, "Hold Him Joe") (1 fragment)
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)), #32 p. 177 "Hol' Him Joe" (1 fragment, 1 tune)

Harry Belafonte with Hugo Winterhalter and his Orchestra, "Hold 'em Joe" (1954, on RCA Victor 78 rpm 20-5617, 1980, "Harry Belafonte All Time Greatest Hits Vol. I," RCA BMG LC 0316)
Louise Bennett, "Hol' 'm Joe" (on WILBennett01)
Blind Blake Higgs, "Hold 'im Joe" (on WIHIGGS01)
Lord Fly and Dan Williams Orchestra, "Medley of Jamaican Mento-Calypsos (Linstead Market; Hol' him Joe;Dog war a mattuse lane; Manuel Road)" (1951, 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)
Lord Lebby and the Jamaican Calypsonians, "Hol 'im Joe" (1955, on Kalypso 45/78 rpm RL102,2013, "Mento, Not Calypso," Fantastic Voyage CD FVDD163)
Sam Manning's Orchestra, "Hold Him Joe" (1926, on Columbia 2409-X, n.d., "Sam Manning Volume 1 (Recorded in New York 1924-1927)," Jazz Oracle CD BDW 8028 [instrumental])
Macbeth the Great[Patrick McDonald] and Gerald Clark and the Band, "Me Donkey Wants Water" (1999, on "Calypso after Midnight," Rounder CD 11661-1841-2 [recorded 1946])
Macbeth the Great and Gerald Clark and His Original Calypsos,"My Donkey Want Water (Hold Him Joe)" (1946, on Musicraft 434 [recorded 1945; see Guild 115B])
The Sparrow, "Donkey Want Water" (2011, on "50's Calypso Music from Trinidad," Black Round Records MP3)
Ziggy Marley, "Hold Em Joe" (2009, on "Family Time," Tuff Gong/VP CD TGWCD 0004)
Hubert Porter and the Tower Islanders, "Hol Him Joe" (1954, on Topaz 78 rpm TI-1008 in 78 rpm album "The Tower Islanders - Calypso as Played at Tower Isle, Jamaica,l B.W.I", 2013, "Mento, Not Calypso," Fantastic Voyage CD FVDD163) Topaz 78 rpm TI-1008 in 78 rpm album "The Tower Islanders - Calypso as Played at Tower Isle, Jamaica,l B.W.I"), 1954)
The Prince Brothers, "Hold Him Joe", (1978?, High Note EP (no number)
Yellowman and Fathead, "Donkey Want Water" (2009, on "The Trojan Dancehall Collection," Sanctuary)

cf. "Dingo Lay" (theme; some lines) and references there
cf. "Lemme Go, Melda Marcy" (sexual theme; some lines)
NOTES [133 words]: Notes on "Hold 'im Joe" and "Jump in the Line" will be included in a future version of the Index.
Each song was created in one tradition -- "Hold 'im Joe" is Jamaican and "Jump in the Line" is Trinidadian -- and later crossed into the other. That is not unique to these songs. Many of the songs thought of as "calypsos" are from Jamaica.
And some calypsos have been more popular in the form of what Jamaican reggae has become.
What part has the West Indian population in New York played in the change? And what part was played in both islands by American soldiers during the second world war? And so on.
Without being exhaustive -- there are lots of books, articles, and collections of recordings on the subject -- I hope to show how the changes are reflected in the history of these two songs. - BS
Last updated in version 3.7
File: RcHoImJo

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 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.