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Lyr Add: Shoo Fly / Shew Fly

DigiTrad:
SKIP TO MY LOU


Related threads:
(origins) Origin: Skip to My Lou (32)
Lyr Add: Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me (5)
Lyric and melody request: Shoo fly/shew (3)


Joe Offer 12 Feb 99 - 07:44 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 29 Jan 04 - 08:28 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 30 Jan 04 - 03:30 PM
Stewie 31 Jan 04 - 02:51 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 31 Jan 04 - 08:06 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Mar 14 - 03:55 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Mar 14 - 03:59 PM
Jim Dixon 15 Mar 14 - 05:44 PM
GUEST,airymouse 17 Mar 14 - 09:00 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 18 Mar 14 - 12:48 PM
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Subject: RE: Skip to My Lou and Shoo Fly
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Feb 99 - 07:44 PM

Here's what I found in Thomas W. Talley's Negro Folk Rhymes (1949):
Three verses of the song are in a song known as "I Would Not Marry a Black Girl." The "Shoo Fly" part seems derived from the 1869 "walk around" credited to Billy Reeves and Frand Campbell and referred to by Ewen as a "blackface Reconstruction classic." It has been collected widely by folklorists...
refrain:
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
I belong to the upper three
I wouldn't marry a black gal,
I'll tell you de reason why:
When she goes to comb dat head
De nap'll 'gin to fly.
REFRAIN

I wouldn't marry a black gal,
I'll tell why I won't:
When she'd oughter wash her face -
Well, I'll jes say she don't.
REFRAIN

I wouldn't marry a black gal,
An' did is why I say:
When you has her face around,
It never gits good day.
REFRAIN
Not really a nice, sweet song I'd like my grandchildren to sing, I'll tell ya.

This is the way I learned it:

refrain:
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
Shoo fly! don't bother me,
'Cause I belong somebody.
I feel, I feel, I feel like the morning star;
I feel, I feel, I feel like the morning star
REFRAIN
There! that's nicer.
-Joe Offer-
I moved this message here from another thread because it fit better here.
-Joe Offer-

Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Shoo Fly

DESCRIPTION: "I think I hear the angels sing (x3), The angels now are on the wing. I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star (x2)." "Shoo fly, don't bother me (x3), For I just been on a merry spree." (or "belong to Company G," or the like).
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1886 (Buckley)
KEYWORDS: nonballad nonsense playparty religious
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Randolph 273, "Shoo Fly" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
RJackson-19CPop, pp. 190-193, "Shew! Fly, Don't Bother Me" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 55-56, "Shoo, Fly, Don't Bother Me" (1 fragmentary text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 200, (no title) (1 fragment, the "Company G" version)
Opie-Game 132, "Shoo Fly" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 388, "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: M.B. Buckley, Diary of a Tour in America (Dublin, 1886 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 224, "Shoo Fly" (1 text)

ST R273 (Full)
Roud #3433
RECORDINGS:
Uncle Dave Macon, "Sho' Fly Don't Bother Me" (Vocalion 5010, 1926)
Pete Seeger, "Shoo Fly" (on PeteSeeger33, PeteSeegerCD03)
Jimmy Yates' Boll Weevils, "Shoo Fly!" (Victor 21753, 1928)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Blue-Tail Fly" [Laws I19] (chorus lyrics)
NOTES: Variously attributed. The 1869 sheet credits the words to Billy Reeves and the music to Frank Campbell. Another 1869 publication gives the author as Thomas Brigham Bishop. The latter, published by Bishop himself, claims that the piece comes from "the negro farce the 'Cook.'" The corroborative evidence for the claims is thin. - RBW
Buckley (1886): .".. a song which was in the mouths of everyone on the whole continent of America, it is called 'Shoo fly.'" - BS
Last updated in version 2.6
File: R273

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2014 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 07:56 PM

Lyr. Add: SHOO FLY
"Walk Round" from the "Cook."
T. Brigham Bishop

Oh! I thought I heard the angels sing,
Oh! I thought I heard the angels sing,
Oh! I thought I heard the angels sing,
But the "Blue fly" now is on the wing,
I feel, I feel, I feel,
That's what my mother said,
The angels pouring 'lasses down
Upon this chickens head.

Chorus:
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Flies bite hard in Tennessee.
I feel, I feel, I feel
I feel like a "shooting star."
I feel, I feel, I feel
Like a frog without his mar.
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Shoo fly don't bodder me,
Massa Lincon set us free.

DANCE (Grand Dutchess.)

If I sleep out door this chicken knows,
If I sleep out door this chicken knows,
If I sleep out doors the chicken knows,
That a fly come sting him on the nose,
I feel, I feel, I feel,
That's what my mother said,
That when the chicken go to sleep
To cover up his head.

This old (1869) pseudo-minstrel song and dance fron the "Cook" has evolved into childrens' songs and a gospel song. Also a fiddle piece which may pre-date the lyrics in the Bishop composition.
A variant is sung at Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, but I don't have the lyrics.
Sheet music at American Memory and also in the Duke University collection.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 29 Jan 04 - 08:28 PM

The same song (some words changed) is called "Shew Fly!" arr. Howard Rollin. Also at American Memory, undated.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SHEW! FLY, DON'T BOTHER ME
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 30 Jan 04 - 03:30 PM

Bishop also composed a song for Lincoln's campaign (c. 1864) called: "Abraham the Great and Genl. Grant his Mate," surely one of the more forgettable Civil War songs. In American Memory.

Another version of "Shoo Fly."

SHEW! FLY, DON'T BOTHER ME
Words and music T. Brigham Bishop(?) 1869

I think I hear the angels sing (3x)
The angels now are on the wing,
I feel, I feel, I feel, that's what my mother said,
The angels pouring 'lasses down, upon this nigger's head.

Chorus
Shew! fly don't bother me (3x)
I belong to comp'ny G.
I feel, I feel, I feel, I feel like a morning star. (3x)

If I sleep in the sun this nigger knows (3x)
A fly come sting him on the nose.
I feel, I feel, I feel, that's what my mother said,
Whenever this nigger goes to sleep, he must cover up his head.


Lyrics reproduced from sheet music (White, Smith, Perry; Boston, 1869): Shew! Fly
On the sheet music, authors given as Frank Campbell, melody, and arranged by Rollin Howard. Cool Burgess and Rollin Howard.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Stewie
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 02:51 AM

, the references given in Meade et alia are 'Billy Reeves, wds, Frank Campbell, m, 1969/ Cool Burgess & Rollin Howard, wds, Frank Campbell, m, 1869'.

Uncle Dave's lyrics bear little resemblance, apart from the chorus, to those given above. I have posted a transcription to the Uncle Dave Macon lyrics thread.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 31 Jan 04 - 08:06 AM

Also a far cry from the constantly improvised lyrics sung by 'indians' during the Mardi Gras.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 03:55 PM

Lyr. Add: SHEW FLY, DON'T BOTHER ME
Words by Billy Reeves, Arr. Rollin Howard,1869
(Minstrel song)

I think I hear the angels sing, (3x)
The angels now are on the wing.

I feel, I feel, I feel
That's what my mother said,
The angels pouring 'lasses down,
Upon this nigger's head.

Shew! Fly, don't bother me, (3x)
I belong to Comp'ny G.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star,
Repeat these two lines four times.

If I sleep in the sun this nigger knows, (3x)
A fly come sting him on the nose.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
That's what my mother said,
Whenever this nigger goes to sleep,
He must cover up his head.

Shew! Fly, don't bother me, (3x)
I belong to Comp'ny G.

I feel, I feel, I feel,
I feel like a morning star,
(Repeat these lines four times)

From sheet music, 1869, Pub. White, Smith, Perry; Boston.

Extended lyrics, corrected from post of 30 Jan 04.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SHOO FLY
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Mar 14 - 03:59 PM

A galop, piano score, melody by Frank Campbell, was published y the same company, also in 1869.
Septimus Winner was also a publisher; a partner? in the White et. al. company.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shoo Fly
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Mar 14 - 05:44 PM

"Shew Fly"? I never would have guessed at that spelling, but here is the sheet music, at the Levy collection.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shoo Fly / Shew Fly
From: GUEST,airymouse
Date: 17 Mar 14 - 09:00 PM

'Cause I belong to company G


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shoo Fly / Shew Fly
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 18 Mar 14 - 12:48 PM

Company G, U. S. Sharpshooters, an infantry company that served in the Union Army during the Civil War. Two regiments, formed by Col. Hiram Berdan.
Company G was organized and recruited in Wisconsin, 1861, by Adj. Gen. W. L. Utley, who campaigned for the Sharps Breechloading Rifle, which he believed was preferable to the Springfield rifle.

Wikipedia and other sources.


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