Matilda, Matilda

Lyrics: Norman Span
Music: Norman Span

The Grateful Dead played this a few times in 1994 and 1995. So far as I know, Garcia only ever sang the chorus repeatedly:

Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela

Origins
The song was written by Norman Span (aka King Radio) in 1938 or 1939. I'm not sure if he recorded a version, but none seems currently available. The first recording I know of was by the Dule of Iron in the late 1940s:
Oh Lord it is
Matlida - believe me friends it's
Matilda - what a [dizzy] call
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuala

Chorus
Everybody
Matilda - what a [dizzy] call
Matilda - Lord I gotta fall
Matilda, she takes my money and run Venezuala

Five thousand dollars, friends I lost
The woman even sell my cart and horse
Oh lord, Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuala

[chorus]

Well the money was to buy me house and land
Then she got a serious plan, oh Lord
Matilda, she takes my money and run Venezuala

[chorus]

Oh the money was right inside me bed
Stuck up the mattress right below me head
Don't you know that Matilda she find me money and run Venezuala

[chorus]

Well I feel a [?] beneath me head
He said, boy, no money inside your bed
Don't you know that Matilda she take your money and run Venezuala

[chorus]

Where I put my hand was all in vain
On these [?] I got a serious stain
Lord I mean, Matilda she take my money and run with invader (note 1)

[chorus]

So never me friends to love again
'Cause all me money gone in vain
Oh Lord, she take me money and run Venezuala

[chorus]
Another early version was by the calypso singer Sir Lancelot. But the most popular version was Harry Belafonte's (first recorded in 1953) with lyrics:
Chorus
Everybody
Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela
Once again now
Matilda
Matilda
Matilda, she take my money and run, Venezuela

Five hundred dollars friends I lost
Woman even sell my cab and horse
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well the money was to buy my house and land
Then she got a serious plan
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well the money was just inside my bed
Stuck up in the pilow beneath my head
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]

Well my friends never to love again
All my money gone in vain
Matilda, she take me money and run Venezuela

[chorus]
Notes
(1) I think this is a humorous reference to another New York based calypso singer, who went by the name "Lord Invader" and performed with the Duke of Iron.


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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