The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #140676   Message #3780981
Posted By: PHJim
24-Mar-16 - 11:33 PM
Thread Name: Hank Williams & plagiarism
Subject: RE: Hank Williams & plagiarism
There are a lot of songs that use common verses. Some are PD and some are claimed by composers.

About 1970, I bought a record by Lonnie Johnson and Elmer Snowden where one of the blues verses was:
"If you don't like my peaches, Baby don't you shake my tree,
Get outa my orchard and let my peaches be."
I've heard this verse since then in several blues, rockabilly and bluegrass tunes. I went to Google and found this info:

The 'peaches' verse has a long history in popular music. It appears as the chorus of an unpublished song composed by Irving Berlin in May 1914: "If you don't want my peaches / You'd better stop shaking my tree".
The song "Mamma's Got the Blues", written by Clarence Williams and S. Martin and recorded by Bessie Smith in 1923, has the line: "If you don't like my peaches then let my orchard be".
In her version of "St. Louis Blues", Ella Fitzgerald sang, "If you don't like my peaches, why do you shake my tree? / Stay out of my orchard, and let my peach tree be".
In 1929 Blind Lemon Jefferson recorded "Peach Orchard Mama" ("... you swore nobody'd pick your fruit but me / I found three kid men shaking down your peaches free")...

A bit more Googling found the words to the Irving Berlin song, not a blues:

Mary Snow had a beau
Who was bashful and shy
She simply couldn't make the boy propose
No matter how she'd try
Mary grew tired of waiting
So she called her beau one side
While he stood there biting his fingernails
Mary cried:

If you don't want my peaches
You'd better stop shaking my tree

Let me say that you're mighty slow
You're as cold as an Eskimo

There's a thousand others waiting
Waiting to propose to me

So, if you don't want my peaches
You'd better stop shaking my tree"

Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys sang:

You don't like my peaches, don't you shake my tree
Get out of my orchard, let my peaches be
Now she's gone and I don't worry
Cause I'm sittin' on top of the world.

The Beatles' version of Carl Perkins' Matchbox included this verse:

Well, if you don't want my peaches, honey
Please don't shake my tree
If you don't want any of those peaches honey
Please don't mess around my tree
I got news for you baby
Leave me here in misery

"Plagiarism" or "The Folk Process"?