Ibis-Afro Man

Lyrics

(1)

I ate a monkey for breakfast
I ate a skunk for lunch
I living in the bush
I eat with my fingers
I don't use no knife or fork
cause I live in the jungle
I live in jungle

I'm living in the bush
I'm living in the bush
I eat with my fingers
I use no fork or knife
I use no fork or knife
I know elephants and lions
I'm a Africa hotel man (2)

And I do what I can
I do what I can
I eat a monkey for breakfast
I eat a skunk for lunch
I'm living in the bush near Luton (3)
I'm an Ibis hotel man

I'm eating with my fingers
I use no fork or knife
Sometimes things can be too slow
And the sky, the sky tower above me
It looks so great

I eat with my fingers
I use no fork or knife
Only what the hotel supply
I'm an Ibis hotel man

I'm living in the bush
Around Luton, I'm a man
And I do what I can
And I do what I can

I eat a monkey for lunch
And for breakfast I eat a snack
I eat a skunk for lunch
I'm an Ibis hotel man
I know elephants and lions
To the children that I provide
I'm an African man
I'm living in a...

I'm an Africa man
And I do what I can
I got three minutes
I eat the lunch
I put it on the bill
I eat a skunk, I eat a skunk

[monkey screeching] (4)

["Race With The Devil" is incorporated here:

Led an evil life, so they say But I'll outrun the devil on judgement day, say Half price and I'm movin' Move fast, yeah, move man Move fast and move man down the line Goin' fast, the race was won A-here come the devil doin' a hundred and one, yeah Move fast, yeah, move man A-move fast, yeah, move man Move fast and move man down the line I thought I was smart, the race was won And here come the devil doin' a hundred and one, yeah F-F-F-F-F-F-F move fast, yeah, move man Move fast, yeah, move man Move fast and move man down the line Aaaah!]    (5)

...my throat was dry
I look around, I looked around
And I always did
Uh uh uh 
I got christmas island
And join the troops
I got christmas island
I'm gonna join the troops (6)
When you look around, I sit down

A mission
I'm an Ibis computer man
I do what I can, I do what I can
I do what I can, I do what I can, I do what I can
And here's one of my friends
He's gonna sing one of the old songs from Trigger Hap[py]...
"Good Evening London, you lucky, lucky, lucky people - Mark E" [Ed Blaney]

I was walking down the street again and again (7)

[mobile phone interference]

[outro of "Birthday Song" for 1 second with crowd cheering] (8)

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Notes

1. The lyrics (but not the music) for this song draw heavily from Iggy Pop's "African Man," a perplexingly idiotic and (ironically, one hopes) racist song from the 1979 album New Values. I have reproduced the lyrics below; as far as I can make out, this is the only place they are available on the internet, so I may have made a few mistakes in transcibing them, although in general the vocals are pretty clear:

I eat a monkey for breakfast
I eat a skunk for lunch
I live in the bush
I eat with my fingers, I don't use no knife and fork
'cause I live in the jungle
I no eat tigers
I know about lions
I know about lions, I know about everything that lives in the jungle

I'm an African man, I'm an African man
And I do what I can 

What's that bird, so strange 
In a blue Kenya sky
It's a dirty bird
Go home ya dirty white man 
Go home ya, go home ya dirty white man
I hate ya, I hate the white man
Wanna go back to the jungle again where I came 

Oo, ah, oo it's good in the jungle

I know lions, I know tigers
I know elephants
I'm an African man, I don't eat with a fork
I don't use no knife
I use my finger
I live in the bush
I'm gonna stomp like a gorilla, I beat my chest

I know tiger, tiger rag
I know lions, eat with fingers
I live in bush, live in bush
I live in bush look up at blue sky
Blue sky of Kenya, airplane up high
But that airplane is flying too low
That white man's airplane is flying too low
Sometimes things change too slow.... 

^

2. This line is unclear; the Lyrics Parade has "I'm an elephant hotel man." 

Also, of course, it's possible that the hotel in question is in, or near, "the bush." There is an Elephant Hotel in Somers, NY, and in the 19th century there was a hotel actually built in the shape of an elephant on Coney Island named the Elephantine Collossus and informally called The Elephant Hotel.  

It's an odd twist that Iggy Pop's tale of jungle life is transposed to a hotel for the Fall's rendition, one that was probably inspired by the Ibis chain of hotels, which mostly operates in Europe. It's not immediately clear whether a hotel is being likened to the jungle or vice versa, but the former option is rendered a bit more likely by the circumstance that on some live versions MES sang "I'm an Ibis hotel computer man." 

^

3. Luton is a small city near London.

^

4. On the Fall online forum, where the monkey noises seem to have horrifed some of the regulars, bass player Jim Watts ("sdok") avers, "The frightening thing is it isn't a sample." One hopes he was joking--Stephen's reply, "It's an old tape of Brix rehearsing," reassuringly suggests a more plausible scenario. Actually, the monkey sounds (which are certainly a sample) are employed in a fairly musical way, and could almost be a keyboard part.  

^

5. "Race With the Devil" is a 1956 song by Gene Vincent. The Fall played it live once in 1989, and it appears on their 2013 EP "The Remainderer."

^

6 Christmas Island is an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean where the British conducted tests with nuclear weapons in the late 1950s.  

^

7. "Again and again," indeed--this is a notoriously common Fall lyric, appearing in such songs as "Jerusalem," "Hey! Student," "Ol' Gang," "On My Own" and (later) "Blindness."  

^

8. "Birthday Song" is on The Marshall Suite, and is not to be confused with "Birthday," a song by The Idle Race, written and sung by future ELO leader Jeff Lynne. The Fall recorded the latter track in the mid-90s with Lucy Rimmer on lead vocals.  

^

 

Comments (12)

dannyno
  • 1. dannyno | 07/04/2013
"And here's one of my friends
He's gonna sing one of the old songs from trigger hap..."

Ed Blaney's former band was called "Trigger Happy".
Colin
  • 2. Colin | 23/10/2013
The Fall cover "Race With The Devil" on their new EP
Joseph Mullaney
  • 3. Joseph Mullaney | 13/03/2014
The first two lines should be:

I ate a monkey for breakfast
I ate a skunk for lunch

I also hear `Luton' at least twice; in the third `verse' it's `I'm living in the bush, near Luton' and in the sixth it should be

I'm living in the bush
Around Luton, I'm a man

Luton is a town in England, 30 miles north of London. There is an Ibis hotel there: http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-1040-ibis-london-luton-airport/index.shtml

In the fifth verse, `All I want's a hotel to climb' is definitely wrong. It should be `Only what the hotel supply'.

In the seventh, I'm pretty sure it's not `that I provide' but I can't make out what it is.
Joseph Mullaney
  • 4. Joseph Mullaney | 14/03/2014
Should also be "I do what I can", rather than "I eat what I can".
bzfgt
  • 5. bzfgt | 08/04/2014
You're right about that stuff! Some of the stuff I had was incorrect, I think it's closer now.
bzfgt
  • 6. bzfgt | 08/04/2014
There are still a couple of lines that are probably wrong, though. Getting closer.
dannyno
  • 7. dannyno | 06/08/2014
I agree with Joseph: the first line is "I ate a monkey for breakfast"
John Jay
  • 8. John Jay | 14/04/2015
Correction for fourth last line:

"Good evening London, you lucky lucky lucky people - Mark E" [sung by Ed Blaney]
bzfgt
  • 9. bzfgt | 05/06/2015
Thanks, and it's also ridiculous to say that it's "sung by" Ed Blaney. All artifacts of the Lyrics Parade, sometimes I paste an incorrect lyric and it gets by me for a while, but eventually someone will notice and correct me...
Martin
  • 10. Martin | 10/06/2015
With reference to note no. 2 ("It's an odd twist that Iggy Pop's tale of jungle life is transposed to a hotel for the Fall's rendition, one that was probably inspired by the Ibis chain of hotels, which mostly operates in Europe. It's not immediately clear whether a hotel is being likened to the jungle or vice versa, but the former option is rendered a bit more likely by the circumstance that on some live versions MES sang "I'm an Ibis hotel computer man."): Not merely on some live versions, but a whole load of them, including the first known performance of the song - 6 April 2001 Patronaat, Haarlem, The Netherlands. (It's also highly probable that the song was played on the previous night - 5 April 2001 Bolwerk, Sneek, The Netherlands - but we have no existing recording to verify this.)
Zack
  • 11. Zack | 21/02/2017
"Sometimes things happen too slow" should be "Sometimes things can be too slow."

"average computer man" (near the end of the song) should be "Ibis computer man".

And here's those "Race With The Devil" lyrics, as MES sings them:

Led an evil life, so they say
But I'll outrun the devil on judgement day, say
Half price and I'm movin'
Move fast, yeah, move man
Move fast and move man down the line

Goin' fast, the race was won
A-here come the devil doin' a hundred and one, yeah
Move fast, yeah, move man
A-move fast, yeah, move man
Move fast and move man down the line

I thought I was smart, the race was won
And here come the devil doin' a hundred and one, yeah
F-F-F-F-F-F-F move fast, yeah, move man
Move fast, yeah, move man
Move fast and move man down the line

Aaaah!
bzfgt
  • 12. bzfgt | 25/02/2017
Thanks, much improved.

"I'm a African hotel man"

is

"I'm a Africa hotel man"

I do what I can...

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