Friday, January 4, 2013

Roaring Lion - Jail Them (Sound File & Lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post features a sound file of & lyrics for the early Calypso song "Jail Them" by Roaring Lion (Rafael de Leon). Some information about Roaring Lion is also included in this post.

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

"Roaring Lion (born Rafael de Leon) (22 February 1908 – 11 July 1999)[2] was a calypsonian (calypso singer/composer). His 65-year career began in the early 1930s and he is best known for his compositions "Ugly Woman" (1933), "Mary Ann" and "Netty, Netty", which are still performed today. The song "If You Wanna Be Happy", which hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 18 May 1963, as well as the R&B singles chart,[3] is based on Roaring Lion's "Ugly Woman"...

From a young age, Roaring Lion (de Leon's adopted stage name) became known for his skill in creating calypsos (particularly in his ability to extemporize lyrics on any subject). Contrary to his humble origins, he cultivated a refined stage persona and always appeared sharply dressed...

Roaring Lion achieved fame for his linguistic prowess as much as for his catchy tunes. His lyrics, delivered in rapid-fire style, show an impeccable command of the English language (as well as Trinidadian slang), and are replete with witty turns of phrase, humorous metaphors, and clever alliteration and internal rhymes...


Jail Them - Roaring Lion

cool4rocknroll,Uploaded on Dec 12, 2010

Jail Them
Roaring Lion
Calypso Season
T&T 1989

(Roaring Lion)

Jail them (or 'dem'), before it's too late
Jail all these back market reprobates
Murder, John public can't buy
They raising the price of foodstuffs too high.

Day after day there's a hue and cry,
They can't buy food, the price is too high,
Black market is rampant through rank and file,
Bobol and profiteering is now the style.

No use to lament comment nor wail,
From Caesar to Caesar to no avail,
It's everywhere to be seen,
The law is being contravened,
So the police should intervene-ah

Jail them...

Bush doctors are doing a raging trade,
To charge for their bushes they are not afraid,
Sixty cents for a piece of shadow bengy
A dollar for a twig of timawi
Ninety cents for two leaves of kuzay maho
The damn bush is growing right in front your door.
There's every where to be seen,
The law is being contravened,
So the police should intervene-ah

Jail them...

Editor's Note:
UPDATE: 9/9/2016 The lyrics found above include corrections that are posted in the comment section below by
Alexander D Great.

The transcription for that song which was originally posted here was a combination of the lyrics for this song that were posted by Guest,jail them for sure Date: 12 Jul 09 - 11:01 PM and Guest, Alexander D Great Date: 01 Aug 09 - 11:01 AM on Lyr Req: Jail Them (Rafael de Leon / Roaring Lion). Any corrections or additions are welcome.

From the Guest Alexander D Great's post cited above:
"bobol"... is a common word for corruption in trinidad

"shadow bengy" ... "timawi", ..."kuzay maho" [are] all types of herbs used in cooking

Thanks to Roaring Lion for composing this song & other Calypso songs. Thanks to the author/s of Roaring Lion's Wikipedia page. Special thanks to Guest, jail them for sure and Guest Alexander D Great for their transcription of this song, and thanks to the uploader of this sound file.

Also, thank you for visiting pancocojams.

Viewer comments are welcome.


  1. I would like to correct some of the lyrics. Thanks you for adding my contribution concerning the meaning of "bobol".
    Line 4 of the first stanza (chorus) should have the word "they" at the beginning of the line.
    "they raising the the price of foodstuffs too high".
    The second line of stanza 2 should read,
    "they can't buy food, the price is too high".
    Line 4 of stanza 2 should read,
    "bobol and profiteering is now the style".
    It rhymes with "file" in line 3 of the stanza.
    Line 3 of stanza 3 should be,
    "It's everywhere to be seen".
    Line 2 of stanza 4 should be,
    "To charge for their bushes they are not afraid".
    Line 5 of stanza 4 should read,
    "ninety cents for two leaves of kuzay maho".

    I hope you can make these changes to reflect the lyrics accurately.
    Kind regards,
    Alexander D Great

    1. Greetings, Alexander D Great.

      I've made those changes to those lyrics.

      I appreciate your help with this transcription.