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Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea

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Q (Frank Staplin) 05 Aug 13 - 01:47 PM
Jim Dixon 05 Aug 13 - 10:17 PM
Joe Offer 06 Aug 13 - 01:57 AM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Aug 13 - 02:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 13 - 03:36 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 06 Aug 13 - 07:03 PM
McGrath of Harlow 06 Aug 13 - 08:28 PM
Joe Offer 07 Aug 13 - 12:17 AM
Janie 07 Aug 13 - 12:47 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 07 Aug 13 - 06:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 07 Aug 13 - 09:44 PM
Ron Davies 07 Aug 13 - 11:51 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: YOU CANNOT MAKE YOUR SHIMMY SHAKE ON TEA
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 05 Aug 13 - 01:47 PM

YOU CANNOT MAKE YOUR SHIMMY SHAKE ON TEA
(Rennold Wolf and Irving Berlin, 1919)

'Tis a sad sad day for me
This day of lemonade and tea
For now my dancing aspirations haven't got a chance
In the Harlem cabarets.
I used to spend my nights and days
Partaking of my favorite indoor sport, the shimmy dance
Oh the day they introduced their prohibition laws
They just went and ruined the greatest shimmy dancer because:

1st refrain-
You cannot make your shimmy shake on tea
It simply can't be done
You'll find your shaking ain't taking

Unless you has the proper jazz (sic)
That only comes with such drinks as
Green River, Haig and Haig, and Hennessey.

Way out in China
Among the pale Chinese
There's nothing finer
Than good old China teas.

But then you never saw a Chinaman
A-shaking his chemise
'Cause you cannot make your shimmy shake on tea.

2nd refrain-
You cannot make your shimmy shake on tea
It simply can't be done
You'll find your shaking ain't taking.

The shimmy, it is intricate
And so you needs a little bit
Of Scotch or rye to lubricate your knee.

A cup of Ceylon
It may be strong or weak
Won't help you spoil on
Because it's much too meek

Besides, a drink that's soft
Will very often ruin your technique
No, you cannot make your shimmy shake on tea.

www.oldielyrics.com

Rennold Wolf wrote the sketches, music and lyrics to Ziegfield Follies 1919, but Irving Berlin contributed "You'd Be Surprised," (see thread) and "I've Got My Captain Working For Me Now."
Berlin's name is attached to "You Cannot Make ....." but I couldn't find his exact involvement in the song.

A version of the song and dance on youtube.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 05 Aug 13 - 10:17 PM

You can see the sheet music at the web site of Indiana University.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 01:57 AM

There's a rather nice YouTube video of the song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XchfsEPqr-w

and another rendition by the same terrific singer - done in a church! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-V3G73BV0Gc

Both are really fun.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 02:19 PM

I wonder if that song might have sparked the subsequent use of "tea" to refer to a highly shimmy-shaking alternative to booze?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 03:36 PM

McGrath- In the 1930s, I remember hearing booze referred to as "tea." Is that what you mean?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 07:03 PM

Q - I assumed he was referring to tea as slang for marijuana. The slang dicts seem to date that usage from ca 1935 (as in Light a tea and let it be cos you'se a viper - You'se A Viper, 1936).

I don't think the origin (for marijuana) is from the song, but from a similarity to things made from leaves.

Tea was also used as slang for booze (and urine apparently!)


Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 06 Aug 13 - 08:28 PM

The latter sense would give a radically altered meaning to the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 12:17 AM

I really think the "tea" Irving Berlin is writing about in this song, is Lipton's or Nestea. The singer is complaining that she needs something stronger than plain tea to shimmy properly.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Janie
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 12:47 AM

Thankee, y'all!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 06:32 AM

Joe and Q - just to make clear, when I said he I was referring to McGrath and his query of 02:19, not tea as in the song (which clearly is tea!)

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 09:44 PM

I wasn't suggesting that Irving Berlin was referring to anything other than the fine beverage to which coffee is such a poor alternative.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea
From: Ron Davies
Date: 07 Aug 13 - 11:51 PM

No wonder the boys were so enthusiastic about the Kate who would "shimmy like jelly on a plate".    This gal gives a slight hint about what that might have been like.

And that song, it turns out, also came out around 1919.


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