Shake (it) Sugaree

Posted by Brian from Shawnee on March 10, 2005

In Reply to: Shake (it) Sugaree posted by mugball-us on March 10, 2005

: : What is the meaning of the phrase "Shake Sugaree" being a folk song best done by Elizabeth Cotton?

: Let me point out the Grateful Dead song "Sugaree".

: "Just one thing I ask of you, just one thing for me.
: Please forget you know my name, my darling sugaree.
: Shake it, shake it sugaree, just don't tell them that you know me."

: I'm pretty sure "sugaree" is a term of endearment like "chickadee", or "sugar pie".

The Elizabeth Cotten song predates the Dead's song by about 4 years. No doubt the Dead had heard it and were paying tribute. Here's the first stanza of "Shake Sugaree" (I've never heard it performed, but it seems more like the Blues than a folk song):

"I've got a secret
I ain't gonna tell
I'm goin' to heaven in a split pea shell
Oh, Lordy me, didn't we shake sugaree
Everything I have is down in pawn"

...the singer's life has taken a downturn but at least she and Sugaree shook things up during their heyday.