Mudcat Café message #3278925 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #142290   Message #3278925
Posted By: GUEST,Bob Coltman
23-Dec-11 - 11:07 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
Subject: Lyr Add/Req: Wheel, oh, Matilda
Can anyone furnish the Harry Belafonte lyrics to "Wheel, oh, Matilda?" Surprisingly I have been unable to find the lyrics to this once hit song anywhere on the web.

-- Bob

Disambiguation: this is *not* "Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela." That more popular Matilda song evidently swamped this one. It seems a very rare song, found in only two places by the best web source, Martha Warren Beckwith and Helen Heffron Roberts' Folk-games of Jamaica, p. 64, at Google Books.

Turn the Water-wheel, oh, Matilda

a. (from Christiana)

Matilda mammy los' him gol' ring,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda,
Turn de wateh-wheel, turn it, make me see you,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda,

Cho:
Wheel, oh, wheel, oh, Matilda,
Turn de wateh-wheel, oh, Matilda.

b. (from Bethlehem)

Matilda, your mama lost her gold ring,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda,
Wheel-o, wheel-o, Matilda,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda.

Matilda your mama find her gold ring,
Turn the water-wheel, oh, Matilda, etc.

The above source also gives directions for the circle dance used with this song.

Belafonte's version furnished additional verses, if I remember correctly, perhaps written by his longtime collaborator, Irving Burgie (who himself recorded as Lord Burgess)—there's an interesting interview with Burgie here:

http://duboiscentergb.org/Archives/2007/Burgie02-02-07.pdf

The only version in the DT is what seems a fairly traditional version, quoted in the Jamaican songs thread:

Wheel O' Matilda

From Noel Dexter, Godfrey Taylor, Mango Time: Folk Songs of Jamaica. Musical score on p122.

Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda laas ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Cho:        Wheel O, wheel O Matilda,
        Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Matilda fine ar pretty likkle gol' ring,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.

Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga so-so,
Matilda walk an' yanga-so-so,
Tun di waata-wheel, O Matilda.