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Arthur Petties, Freddie Spruell, Romeo Nelson, Doug Suggs -- these are only a few of the blues singers known on record and in discographies to blues enthusiasts, whose rediscovery has not been followed by recording sessions, for they have forgotten all they knew, and hear with disbelief the records they made as young men. - "The Future of the Blues", Blues Off the Record, Paul Oliver

Author Topic: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?  (Read 32760 times)

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Offline Rivers

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #45 on: May 17, 2012, 04:40:09 PM »
Relating 'stingaree' to 'sugaree' would probably be better classified under 'entomology', not 'etymology'.  :)
The fireman screams, and the engine just gleams

Offline Shovel

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #46 on: May 19, 2012, 11:22:29 AM »
Still, it's fun to guess and speculate, but I wouldn't bet the family jewels on any guesses that are impressionistic and not analytic, and not supported by solid evidence.

Right, I agree with that approach .. like I said, I wouldn't bet money on my idea.  Johnm, on the other hand, went all in pre flop against it so I was just trying to retrace my steps in arriving at it as a possibility, even if it's a remote one.  I'm sure Johnm draws on great context and has given a lot of thought so I don't take his rebuttal lightly either. 

Offline Stuart

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #47 on: May 19, 2012, 03:30:20 PM »
My guess is that it's a term of endearment derived from "Sugar," just as "Sweetie" is derived from "sweet." The spelling/orthography is arbitrary as it is with with many words.  Another guess is that someone wanted to differentiate it from "Sugary" (in written form, anyway), as it's a proper name in the Marty Robbins' song which appears to predate the transcription of "Shake Sugargee."

It's too bad that the Grateful Dead song has saturated the results of any search, otherwise we might actually get a few clues and maybe even some solid leads as to the origins and attested usages of the word. It's possible that a knowledgeable reference/research librarian might be able to point us in the right direction with respect to other resources.

Offline powerlinehorizon

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #48 on: June 20, 2012, 10:12:34 AM »
 >:D
I've always interpreted the words to Shake Sugaree as a broke woman prostituting herself.

Offline Danae

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #49 on: June 16, 2013, 04:21:51 AM »
Hi all of you !   I am French, living in France and I met you because I was wondering what "shake sugaree" meant.  I love Elizabeth Cotten and particularly that song.  I could understand everything except the title and I see that I am not alone..  Thank you so much for all your explanations, I enjoy them.  Kind regards, Danae

Offline maddoggirl

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #50 on: June 16, 2013, 02:12:19 PM »
Not to complicate matters further, but the McTell record 'East St Louis Blues' also known as 'Fare Ye Well' contains the line: 'if you can't do the sugaree, get yourself on out of this house to me', which to me suggests it was a dance (or, at least, that McTell understood it to be one). That was recorded in '33.
rambling about movies, from 1930 on up at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com/

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #51 on: June 16, 2013, 03:33:10 PM »
Hi maddoggirl - I've always thought McTell sang "shivaree" in that tune, though it's close. It does make me wonder whether sugaree is a corruption of shivaree, as Eric mentioned back in the thread.

Edited to add: Et bienvenue, Danae. If it is a corruption of shivaree, the original word is French: charivari.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 03:37:42 PM by uncle bud »

Offline maddoggirl

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #52 on: June 16, 2013, 03:38:52 PM »
I really hear a 'g' in there, but that may well be because I had already seen it written as 'sugaree' (or rather, for some reason, 'sugary') in lyric pages online...
rambling about movies, from 1930 on up at http://resilientlittlemuscle.blogspot.com/

Offline Zenit_boy

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #53 on: December 03, 2016, 10:29:30 AM »
I'm liking the sound of it being a nick name of some kind. It is a blues song after all and all of the lyrics are either about loss or the inevitable loss of ALL of lifes possessions.

"Oh lordie me
Didn't I shake sugaree"

I'm guessing the shake part is like saying "didn't I tremble sugaree". I'd imagine a person losing all of their worldly possessions would shake and trembling a little.

Offline poozmeister

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #54 on: September 21, 2017, 12:14:55 PM »
Realizing it's an old post... but I was looking up the song recently. I always thought "Shake" implied "Dance" and Sugaree was as Yogi suggested, throwing sugar on the floor before a dance. So everything is going wrong in the song, but the attitude is "well, we're broke, but didn't we have fun (kick up a storm) getting here? We did ok!"

Offline poozmeister

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #55 on: September 21, 2017, 12:51:52 PM »
Oh, and a friend pointed out "I'm going to heaven in a brown pea shell" likely meant too poor to afford a coffin.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: Shake sugaree - meaning of...?
« Reply #56 on: September 22, 2017, 06:21:13 AM »
Just re-reading this thread. Lyle Lofgren is unfortunately no longer with us, and I don't know how much longer Weenie will continue, but for me at least it is fascinating and immensely entertaining reading. I'd hate for all of these observations, accute or far fetched to be lost forever! I wonder if all of Weenie could be printed out into some large phone book, Whole Earth Catalogue sized book of some sort as an archive, an encyclopedia and just an amazing
resource and read? Has this option occurred to anybody else?

We could get Crumb to do the cover.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 06:22:23 AM by Mr.OMuck »
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