UNIVERSITY OF CALYPSO | Transcriptions and song notes by Michael Oliver-Goodwin
Hold Onto Your Man
Not a country music classic as the title suggests, this is actually a rarely-heard composition by Lord Kitchener, who sends out several verses of cautionary advice to women playing mas during the wild bacchanal of Trinidad's Carnival season. This is a favorite topic for calypsonians, and one Kitchener has visited several times himself—most notably in his better-known hit "Miss Tourist." Kitchener captures the excitement of Carnival with brilliant details, like when he sings about "the pans talkin' and the rhythm movin'."
1 - playing mas = joining a costumed Carnival mas band and dancing through the streets. Mas is short for masquerade
2 - hassle
3 - Kitch doesn't mean a brass band or a steelband; he's referring to a mas band, a group of revelers who don costumes and dance through the streets on Carnival day.
4 - can't
5 - A giant "ole-time" mas band can include thousands of revelers.
Yuh go' get a lotta commess in town
When yuh hear dem steelband boys comin' down
With the pans talkin' and the rhythm movin'
Yuh mus' understan'
Anyt'ing could happen inside a band
So darling, hold onto your man
If yuh love him doh' ask me why
Watch him in de band
When he jumpin' cause you go cry
Darling we live and we learn
You got to keep what you own
Gal yuh cyar trus' yuh pal
For dis Carnival.
To join in this hectic celebration
With the steelbands runnin' competitions
Wit' de pans swingin' and the crowd jumpin'
Well yuh must agree
Dat yuh have to hold onto somebody
Yuh holdin' yuh man like everybody
A ole mas invade your territory
Wit' de night closin' an' de crowd swingin'
You mus' understan'
Somebody goin' home without dey man