USOUNDS is proud to present the second installment of J Ship’s A-Z with Jonathan Shipley. Miss out on A? Well, fucking check this out then.
”BANANA AND YAM SKANK”
No better song title I’ve seen. Thank you, King Tubby, thank you.
Unquestionably the best Polish quintet singing traditional sea shanties today. There’s no doubt that Maciej Jedrzejko, Pawel Konieczny, Pawel Jedrzejku, Tomasz Czarny, and Michal Maniara can belt out nautical-themed tunes! They’ve toured extensively in Poland and the Czech Republic. Rumors abound that frontman Maciej Jedrzejko will be doing a duet with Masta Killa entitled “Szanty dla Pajacka Ho Money.”
BANANA BOAT SONG
I hate “The Banana Boat Song.” I hate Harry Belafonte who popularized it. I hate calypso music. I hate “The Banana Boat Song.” First off, it’s inane, borderline retarded, as if written by a low-functioning autistic child. “Day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day, me say day-o!” Are you serious? “Stack banana till morning come.” Huh? English please. “Stack bananas until the morning comes,” is more correct but, still, it’s stupid. Second off, a retail chain, The Bon Marche, lifted the song, changed up the lyrics and then made it even more brain-splittingly stupid. “Sale! One day sale! Sunday only at The Bon Marche!” There is no God. It was played, the ditty, on the radio and TV ad nauseum every time there was a sale at The Bon Marche and there was a sale EVERY DAY! “Sale! One day sale! Sunday only at The Bon Marche!” Kill me. Kill me now.
They’ve sold, the English rocking gals, over 40 million albums. They were founded in London in 1981 and have since had ten singles in the top ten on the UK singles chart and three on the U.S. charts (one hitting the top spot). “Venus,” “Love in the First Degree,” and “I Heard a Rumour,” are their tunes. As is “Cruel Summer.” You want to talk about a cruel summer? How about the year “The Karate Kid” came out? I liked Amy Lewis. She was a babe in my 4th grade class. She was an upstanding member of the Bluebirds organization. She had silky, long beautiful hair and she refused to give me the time of day that summer. It’s true! Even when I recreated, while singing aloud at the Garfield Elementary School playground, the video “Beat It.” What’s up with that, Amy?
Sacramento! Terminus for wagon trains (not as many today as their were in 1861), stagecoaches (ditto), riverboats (ditto), the telegraph (ditto), the Pony Express (ditto), and the Transcontinental Railroad (ditto). Well, hmm, nothing happens in Sacramento. It’s terminally boring. It’ll Dullsville, people. They call, warmly, the tourist area in Sacramento “Old Sac.” Sac of something all right. A bright spot of sorts? The underground punk band The Bananas.
Their bubble gum rock ‘n’ roll music was infectious! I’d sing “Doin’ the Banana Split” (sung in studio by Barry White) or “The Tra La La Song” in my pajamas on Saturday mornings while my mom heated up oatmeal in the newfangled “microwave oven.” You remember The Banana Splits Show, right? There was Fleegle, the beagle, Bingo, the gorilla, Drooper, the lion, and my favorite, Snorky. Snorky was the elephant. He wouldn’t talk or sing but he did make interpretive honking noises. “Honk honk!” “Oh,” said Bongo, “Goofy Gopher and Banana Vac wants us to sing a new song? Okay, Snorky!” What I wouldn’t give to go back in time and watch the show as a kid again, reveling in the music, the spectacle (“Danger Island,” directed by Richard Donner, was inspired television), the wonder that is The Banana Splits Show. Well, I wouldn’t give anything actually. I was total dork back then, man, and the oatmeal just didn’t taste right.