Peas and Rice and Cocoanut Oil
DESCRIPTION: People cruising to Nassau "get drunk... hear those natives singin'. Mandy don't want no peas no rice no cocoanut oil Just a bottle of brandy handy." People came for a race but got "whisky and champagne." "Mama got drunk but she wouldn't get drunk no more"
EARLIEST DATE: 1938 (Rushing, Count Basie)
KEYWORDS: travel drink wine nonballad
FOUND IN: West Indies(Bahamas,Jamaica)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: Olive Lewin, Forty Folk Songs of Jamaica (Washington: General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, 1973), pp. 55-56, "Dandy Shandy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Blind Blake Higgs, "Peas and Rice and Cocoanut Oil" (on WIHIGGS01)
James Rushing with Count Basie and His Orchestra, "Mama Don't Want No Peas an' Rice an' Cocoanut Oil" (1938, on Decca 78RPM 2030 B, 1992, "Count Basie - The Complete Decca Recordings" Decca CD GRD-3-611)
Vernon Hedley and Carl Monsegui, "We Don't Want No Rice" (on WITrinidadVillage01)
NOTES: The description follows Higgs. The Hedley and Monsegui track is only the chorus (sung six times with no break between repetitions), and it is stew they want every day rather than brandy. Higgs's first verse of two is very close to the Count Basie version (Basie's "mama" becomes Higgs's "Mandy", and a few of Basie's "ands" become Higgs's "no's."
The liner notes to the Herskovits album: "Raymond Quevedo (Attila [sic] the Hun) notes this song as 'traveling down the islands from the Bahamas to Barbados and then to Trinidad,' being incorporated into the Trinidad calypso repertoire around 1937.... The song probably originated in the Commonwealth of the Bahamas during World War I, when cooking oils were difficult to obtain and the majority of cooking was done with cocoanut oil. The song entered main-stream U.S. popular music in the early 1930s. Most versions outside the Caribbean appear to be based on U.S. commercial recordings, such as Count Basie's Decca recording with Jimmy Rushing on vocal, cut in New York on June 6, 1938" (Donald R. Hill, Maureen Warner-Lewis, John Cowley and Lise Winer, liner notes to WITrinidadVillage01.
For Higgs, "Peas and Rice and Cocoanut Oil" is the first part of a track called "Peas and Rice." - BS
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