‘Twas the night before J’Ouvert... A Steelpan Christmas Story

by Catt -- posted on December 24, 2010 at 11:11am

twas the night before J’Ouvert....

Christmas in New York

. . . and all through the yard,
 no bomb tune was missing, no arrangement too hard.
The racks and the pans were made ready with care,
In hopes that St. Bradley soon would be there.

The panmen were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of road march danced in their heads.
Moms in her paint, and I feelin’ fine
had gone out a road for a jump and a wine.

When out in the street there arose such a clatter,
I ran from the yard to see what was the matter.
Down to the Savannah I flew like a flash,
To see who would win the prizewinning cash.

The moon on the tops of the canopies bright
Gave the lustre of mid-day although it was night.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a truck hauling racks and a cooler of beer.

The little old driver,
so bright and alive I knew in a moment ‘twas the spirit of Clive!
He was dressed for the road, in white, black, and red.
(but I could tell he was doing some maths in his head)

A bag of spare hooks he had in the back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes, how they twinkled~! His dimples, how merry~!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry~!

He had a sweet face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was fit and in shape, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
the score for a tune he held tight in his hand,
And the sound! It encircled my head from the band.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
He counted the intro; then turned with a jerk,

and laying his finger aside of his nose,
then giving a nod as the music it rose,
he sprang to the stage, to his band gave a shout,
and the bomb tune they played, they turned the place out~!

As dry leaves before the hurricane fly
when they meet with the wind, straight up to the sky,
-so up to the stageside the panmen they flew,
With the racks fullah pans, and the engine room too.

More rapid than eagles the panwomen came,
so he shouted out tunes, he called them by name -
"Play Margie, Rebecca, and Whap Cocoyea~!
Sing in She Party, Ben Lion, Celebrate~!

To the top of Queen’s Park~! To the top of the wall~!
Run the tunes, run the tunes, run the tunes all ~ !

And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the dark
The jumping and prancing all thru the Queen’s Park.
As I sipped on my rum, and was turning to see,
down the road Bradley went, he was wining with glee.

Then I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he chipped out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all,

and to all a good-night!”

Cathy Shaw © 2010 All rights reserved


Clive Bradley


Merry Christmas everyone!

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photo by R. Pope
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