Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jimmy Cliff - "John Crow" (Lyrics, Video, & Comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part III of a three part series on the Jamaican character/symbol "John Crow". This post provides a video & lyrics of Jimmy Cliff's 1990's song "John Crow".

Part I of this series provides information about the cultural meaning of "John Crow". Click for that post.

Part II provides excerpts from two Jamaican folk songs which refer to John Crow. Click for that post.

The content of this post is provided for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

(Jimmy Cliff)

The eagle find him place in darkness
Fisherman find him place by the sea
Light up the dark in Kingston town
Mi bredren know you a come home without me

Ev'ry road have a bend, ev'ry wicked have an end
What your hands commit I know your body mus' feel
In this wicked, wicked war your time has come
You don't live right you will have no more fun

Jancro a go nyam your supper soon, boy*
Jancro a go lead the children astray
Jancro a go meet the retribution
Justice has finally find it's way

Screwface, you know that your time has come
You don't do right you gonna dead tonight
So now a go take you down the road to doom
The jancro a go nyam all your supper soon

Jancro a go nyam your supper soon, boy
Jancro a go lead the children astray
Jancro a go meet the retribution
Justice has finally find a way

Are you worried, says the wolf in sheep's clothing
Try to lead the children astray
But don't we know (?) a who fe frighten
take my hands I will show you the way



*Jancro="John Crow"
Click for information about Jimmy Cliff.

Click for two examples of Jamaican folk songs that mention "John Crow" ("Long Time Gal" and "One Solja Man").


Jimmy Cliff & Steven Seagal--John Crow*

Uploaded by jahppel on Oct 11, 2010

This video provides snippets of scenes from the action movie which featured the song "John Crow", the Marked For Death starring Steven Seagal.

*The title of this video was erroneously given as "John Crown".
Here's a comment from this video's viewer comment thread which corrects that title and also provides information about the character of "John Crow" & the axiom that is repeated in that song:

"The term is "John Crow" not "John Crown." The axiom in the song that goes "John Crow ah guh nyam yuh supper soon boy", simply means that every persons time always comes. BTW translated, the saying is: "John Crow is going to eat your supper soon." A John Crow is the Jamaican jargon for a Vulture."
-smokeyhat, 2011,


Click "Extracts from the 'Jamaica Journal' - Plants, Spirits and the meaning of 'John' in Jamaica" by John Rashford for more information about the Caribbean cultural meanings of "John Crow".

Thanks to Jimmy Cliff for composing and singing this song. Thanks to the uploader of this video.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.

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