Banana Boat Song (Day-O)

Lyrics: Traditional [Darling/Carey/Arkin]
Music: Traditional [Darling/Carey/Arkin]

Played twice by the Grateful Dead in 1987, both times with the Neville Brothers as guests on stage.

Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Hide the deadly black tarantula
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Hide the deadly black tarantula
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)

Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Day, day day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
(Daylight come and we want to go home)
Background
This is a traditional Caribbean Calypso song that was sung by dock workers who worked throughout the night loading bananas onto ships. It's daylight, and they look forward to the arrival of the Tallyman (who will take inventory) so they can go home. It was first recorded by Edric Conner in 1952. Thanks to Eric Levy for providing the recording, with lyrics:
Day-o, day-ay-o
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
Day-o, day-ay-o
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)

Come Mister Tally Man, come tally me banana
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
Me come here for work, me not come here for idle
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)

Six hand, seven hand, eight hand a bunch
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
Six hand, seven hand, eight hand a bunch
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)

Check them and check, but then check with caution
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
Me back is black with bare exhaustion
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)

Me give myself a bunch, with my horse with bridle
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)

Day-o, day-ay-o
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
Day-o, day-ay-o
(Day dah light and me wanna go home)
The best-known version was recorded by Harry Belafonte in 1957:
Day-o, Day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and me want to go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and me want to go home

Work all night on a drink of rum
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Stack banana til the morning come
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Leave six hand, seven hand, eight hand bunch
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Me say six hand, seven hand, eight hand bunch
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
(Daylight come and we want go home)

A beautiful bunch of ripe banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Hide the deadly black tarantula
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Leave six hand, seven hand, eight hand bunch
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Me say six hand, seven hand, eight hand bunch
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Come Mister Tally Man, and tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)
Come Mister Tally Man, and tally me banana
(Daylight come and we want go home)

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and me want to go home
Day, me say day, me say day, me say day
Me say day, me say day-ay-ay-o
Daylight come and me want to go home



Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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