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It wasn't so much that I would ask them how to play. A lot of the stuff I knew from old records.... What they usually talked to me about was how to conduct myself as a person. They tried to keep me away from all the things they went through. They tried to keep my nose clean, and they succeeded pretty good - Jerry Ricks, on time spent with the Old Ones, interview in Blues Review No. 46, April 1999

Author Topic: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?  (Read 53411 times)

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Offline catyron

  • Member
  • Posts: 21
    • Blues Lyrics and Hoodoo
Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #75 on: December 26, 2019, 07:52:40 PM »
How surprising to see people debate this. "Sugaree, Sugaree" in both black and white versions always refers to a person.

Shake can be shooting dice, but it is also a dance, the shimmy-shake, shake your totelo, shake it from the hips on down, shake, baby, shake. Shake is not dejected or poor. The meaning of shaking followed by pawning is, "We had a good time, but the money has run out."

Then, imagine my surprise when someone in this thread referred to a "brown pea shell" -- and no one responded with a correction! In case there is any doubt (and i can hardly believe there is) it's a ground pea shell. How do i know? Because i asked Elizabeth Cotton when she was in Berkeley, and she told me so. I didn't bother to ask what sugaree meant -- i already knew that, from the Marty Robbins song.

I see the ground pea shell as a little boat to carry a sleepy child into the sky, like Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. But at the same time i see the economic oppression of the goober farmers. It was a hard life, and poorly recompensed.

Ah, the lyrics game ... fun for all.


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