“My St. Helena Island the unofficial national song of St Helena.
Dave Mitchell (nicknamed “Old Saddlebags”) was working for Bendix/NASA on Ascension Island (1972 to 1975) when he wrote “My St. Helena Island”. Dave was introduced to Saints on Ascension by one of his best friends, Charlie Renn, and became involved with the Saints playing for parties all over the Island.My heart is drifting southwardTo my home down in the seaIts the isle of St HelenaWhere my loved ones wait for meLong since I left itBut Ill soon be going homeTo my St Helena islandAnd swear Ill never roamDiamonds they are prettySo is your fancy carsBut St Helena islandIs prettier by farAll the wonders of this worldIm told they number sevenBut St Helena IslandIs the nearest one to heavenDiamonds they are prettySo is your fancy carsBut St Helena islandIs prettier by farSomeday if the Lord aboveComes out of heavens gateIm sure Hell pick St HelenaAnd use it as His place It was Charlie who suggested that Dave wrote a song for the Saints. Dave was reluctant to do so, as he had never been to St Helena. Charlie, who had visited the island, promptly brought Dave some large colour postcards of St. Helena. Sitting in his room for a night or two studying the postcards, Dave picked up his guitar and in a few minutes the song just came tumbling out. And that’s how “My St Helena Island” came about.
With the help of the recording company Camaro Records, Dave made two 45-rpm records (4 songs) in Memphis, Tennessee in 1975 and received 600 of each and the Producer was supposed to distribute 400 of each to radio stations. No station ever received one or even heard of Dave. With Charlie, Dave had planned to make a trip to St. Helena to deliver the records and some photographs of himself in person but had to mail them instead.
Dave was a Country & Western Disc jockey on Volcano Radio with two western programs for 2 years and he was also a Ham Radio operator.
Now 72, Dave lives in retirement with his wife, Dolores, in a big RV retirement park in Arizona.
He is delighted that the RMS St. Helena plays his song whenever they leave port. It gives him a big thrill to know that his song hasnt been forgotten, particularly since he has never received any recognition from elsewhere. He was diagnosed with COPD 8 years ago and has been on oxygen since. For this reason he hung up his guitar and got himself a computer – Dave can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
You can hear Dave singing “My St Helena Island” at: https://sthelena.se/mitchell/my_sthelena_island.rm. The sound quality is not the very best, but Camaro Records did not make a very good job out of a good song.