Matilda, Matilda

Lyrics: Norman Span
Music: Norman Span

The Grateful Dead played this a few times in 1994 and 1995. So far as I know, Garcia only ever sang the chorus repeatedly:

Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela
It seems also to have been recorded by Jerry Garcia in 1976 but never released. The only source I know of for this is the blog Jerry Garcia's Middle Finger.

Origins
The song was written by Norman Span (aka King Radio) in 1938 or 1939. Thanks to Jason Martinez for pointing me to a recording he did. Here are the lyrics, as best as I can make them out:
Oh Lord it is
Matlida - believe me friends it's
Matilda - what a dizzy call
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuala

Everybody
Chorus
Matilda - a loss, a loss
Matilda - I gotta fall
Matilda, she takes my money and run Venezuala

It really hurt me friends, but what to do
Now listen how the woman dropped the [broom]
[Moza] water
She take my money and run Venezuela

So never me friend to love again
Now listen all me money gone in vain
Oh Lord, it's Matilda that takes me money and gone Venezuala

[chorus]

Five thousand dollars, friends I lost
The woman even sell me cart and horse
Oh lord, Matilda, she take me money and gone Venezuala

Me money was to buy a house and land
Now listen as she dropped a serious plan
Fire, water, she takes my money and gone Venezuala

Everybody
[chorus]

Me money was right inside me bed
Tucked up in the mattress right below me head
Oh Lord it is Matilda that take me money and gone Venezuala

Well I feel a drum be shove me head
He said, boy, no money inside the bed
A loss, a los,s Matilda she take your money and gone Venezuala

Everybody
[chorus]

When I took my hand will all have been right on the spot
I got this serious been water, water
Matilda, she takes me money and gone Venezuala

Everybody
[chorus]
Everybody
Other early versions were by the Duke of Iron and by the calypso singer Sir Lancelot. But the most popular version was Harry Belafonte's (first recorded in 1953) with lyrics:
Chorus
Everybody
Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela
Once again now
Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela

Five hundred dollars friends I lost
Woman even sell my cab and horse
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well the money was to buy my house and land
Then she got a serious plan
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well the money was just inside my bed
Stuck up in the pilow beneath my head
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well my friends never to love again
All my money gone in vain
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]


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

 


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