Thursday, January 12, 2017

Two Examples Of the Calypso Classic "Mama Look A Boo Boo" (by Lord Melody & by Harry Belafonte)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases two examples of the Calypso classic "Mama Look A Boo Boo" (also known as "Boo Boo Man").

The featured examples are the original by Lord Melody and Harry Belafonte's cover that popularized the song in the United States and elsewhere. The Harry Belafonte clip also features Nat King Cole, another great musical legend.

Lord Melody's "Mama Look A Boo Boo" lyrics are included in this post along with a link to Harry Belafonte's lyrics for this song.

Selected comments from these YouTube examples are also included in this post.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Lord Melody, Harry Belafonte, and Nat King Cole for their musical legacies. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Also, thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

(by Lord Melody)

(I wonder why nobody don't like me,
Or is it the fact that I'm ugly) x2
I leave my whole house and home
My children don't want me no more
They cursing black is white and thing
And when I talk dey start to sing:

Mama look a boo-boo dey shout
Their mother tell dem' shut up your mout'
That is your daddy/father, oh no
My daddy can't be ugly so

Shut your mout' go away
Mama look at boo-boo dey
Shut your mout' go away
Mama look at boo-boo dey

I couldn't even digest me super
Due to the children's behaviour
John (yes pa), come here a moment
Bring de belt/strap, you're too damn cudgelent
Daddy it's Jean who started first
No daddy it's Joyce who started the curse
I drag me belt off me waist
If you see them racin' out de place

Mama, look at boo-boo dey shout
Their mother tell dem shut up your mout'
That is your father/daddy, oh no
My daddy can't be ugly so

Shut your mout' go away
Mama, look at boo-boo dey (uh)
Shut your mout' go away
Mama, look at boo-boo dey (uh)

So I took a turn on their mother
These children ain't got no behavior
I can't rest in peace in me own place
Tell me what is wrong with me damn face?

They're playin' with you my wife declared
You should be proud of dem, my dear
These children were taught too bloomin' slack
They ain't no kind'a joke to crack

My wife and I had a big disturbance
Owing to the constant annoyance
So in order to live peaceful and happy
She send de children in the country

Comin' home a day after working hard
A woman see me and she faint 'way in me yard
The neighbor ran and pick she up
She recover but de woman wouldn't stop
Neighbor, I see boo-boo, oh Lord
Walkin' in de backyard, oh Lord
I ran to assist her, she bawl
Oh Lord, look de boo-boo still in de yard!

Shut your mout', go away
Neighbor/mama look at boo-boo dey!
Shut your mout', go away
Mama, look at boo-boo dey (uh)

Click for lyrics for Harry Belafonte's cover of this song.

Example #1: Lord Melody - Booboo Man / Mama Look a Boo Boo


IsDePanInMe, Uploaded on Jan 11, 2010

Audio version...
Selected comments from this sound file's discussion thread (Numbers are assigned for referencing purposes only):
1.SuperSnk1, 2010
"Just to let trini19140 know that this along with Rum and Cola Cola by Lord Invader were 2 International Classics from the 1950's and they are just as popular today. To make it Internationally it had to be Real Good and Full of Class and to lovers of this Great Art form it is still that way and still very enjoyable."

khirri virgil, 2011
"This is what people need to hear.. and Not the that Harry Belafonte Thief...! Sweet Calypso!!"

PianoetBassable, 2012
"Without Belafonte I never would've heard of Lord Melody!

Lord Melody traveled to US and met Belafonte after this song hit it big -- they stayed friends and worked together for several decades after that so I don't think Lord Melody considered him a thief. Problem was Belafonte's promoters called him "King of Calypso" but he never claimed it himself.

BUT anyway, I agree this version is way superior to Belafonte's!"

2. Guaguanco11, 2013
"At 2:49 when the crowd laughs very loudly I'm guessing Melody was making some gesture to suggest a double meaning as the lyrics by themselves at that point don't seem to warrant the reaction. Can anyone confirm this?"

3. CanadianGuy25, 2015
""Me wife and I had a big disturbance; all to the concert's annoyance"... I believe the joke is that it was such a loud fight with his wife that the concert audience (the people in the tent listening to him sing) could hear the fight. It is funny because it would have to be loud, and it is preposterous because he can't be fighting and singing at the same time. And it brings the audience into the song."

4. Daddycool, 2016
"@CanadianGuy 25.The reason for the crowd erupting in laughter is the words Melody used. He said "So meh wife and I had a big disturbance due to the CONSTANTS ANNOYANCE". Meaning to say that he was being annoyed constantly by the children. Melody could have said "continuing annoyance" or anything else but he chose to use the word constants for the rhyme, which when added to annoyance sounds really funny. Which I believe is what he intended. His special kind of humour. He may not have been a UWI grad but he was no illiterate. So he put those words together deliberately and pretended to sing it innocently to raise a laugh with the audience who were sharp enough to pick it up. I was quite young at the time but I remember it well. It always cracked us up. Listen to it again and you will hear it. "CONSTANTS ANNOYANCE". Funny."

5. Ryland Burhans, 2014
"I love it when you can hear glasses clinking in these vintage recordings.
Melody is my favorite calypsonian of the fifties. His numbers have a more roots-y feel than those of his contemporaries. Thanks for sharing this!"

6. Peter Emmert, 2016
"The original artist, the man who wrote the song and not the re-do by Harry Belafonte from 1957."

7. WuzupNaija Punch, 2016
"please what is booboo?"

8. PapiJoe, 2016
"a Ghost , a poltergeist , Spirit"

9. Sufiya H., 2016
"So, what exactly is a "booboo" anyway?"

10. SocaPhD, 2016
"A Booboo is an ugly creature from the other side that you will be dead scared of meeting in daytime and even more so during the night."

11. PapiJoe, 2016
"Ah Jab Jab , Dwen,Soocuya
These are other Caribbean referents for supernatural creatures.

I don't know how my sisters and I learned the Calypso song "Mama Look A Boo Boo", but it's most likely that we had heard the Harry Belafonte version and not the original Lord Melody version. We sang this song at home in the 1950s (in Atlantic City, New Jersey) when we were elementary school age- that is until my mother told us we couldn't sing it because the words makes fun of fathers.

I didn't know that a "boo boo" was a supernatural creature. I thought a "boo boo" meant "a mistake".

Example #2: Nat King Cole & Harry Belafonte Mama Look A Boo Boo NBCTV '57Z

Dana Pop Uploaded on Sep 1, 2009
Here are two comments from this video's discussion thread:
aes53, 2016
"It's sad, this was likely from Nat Cole's short lived variety show of the fifties. If was short lived because America then just couldn't have a black man hosting a prime time TV show."

Jamie Romero, 2016
"great performance by legends, lord melody original singer who also wrote the song from Trinidad"

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