Friday, May 19, 2017

Information About & Several Early Lyric Examples Of "Shake That Little Foot, Sally" (also known as "Shake That Little Foot Dinah O")

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a three part pancocojams series on examples of African American songs entitled "Shake That Little Foot Sally" (also known as "Shake That Little Foot, Dinah O").

This post provides general information about those songs and showcases several early text (lyrics only) examples of "Shake That Little Foot Sally" (also known as "Shake That Little Foot, Dinah O").

This post also provides information about and one text example of related folk songs with the title "Great Big Taters in the Sandy Land" (and other titles).

Addendum #1 to this post showcases a YouTube sound file of a version of "Shake That Little Foot Sally Ann" (given without transcription).

Addendum #2 to this post provides an excerpt of a Wikipedia article about the name "Dinah" as a generic referent for Black women in 19th century (Southern) United States.

Click for Part II showcases Harry Belafonte's 1964 Folk/Pop performance of the song "Shake That Little Foot, Sally". Part Ii showcases a sound file of Harry Belafonte's 1964 Folk/Pop performance of the song "Shake That Little Foot, Sally". My transcription of the lyrics of this version of that song are included in this post along with explanations about some of those lyrics

Click for Part III of this series. Part III showcases Round Robin's 1964 R&B song "Kick That Little Foot, Sally". The Addendum to Part III provides information about the Rhythm & Blues dance "the Slauson" which is mentioned in that song's lyrics.

This post is part of a continuing pancocojams series that showcases American folk songs, rhymes, and minstrel songs that feature the name "Dinah" and/or "Old Aunt Dinah." Click the "Dinah and Old Aunt Dinah songs and rhymes" tag below for other posts in this series.

This post also is part of an ongoing series on African American and Caribbean songs and rhymes about "Little Sally Ann and Little Sally Waters/Walker". Click that tag below for other posts in that series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the unknown composers of these songs and thanks to the early collectors and documented performers of these songs. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to David "Stringbean" Akeman for his performance of "Shake That Little Foot, Sally Ann" that is featured in this post and thanks to the publisher of this sound file on YouTube.


Pancocojams Editor: These excerpts are numbered for referencing purposes only. Multiple comments/lyric examples within these excerpts are also numbered for referencing purposes only.

Excerpt #1:

[Pancocojams Editor: This Mudcat folk nusic discussion thread includes additional lyrics/ lyric excerpts for and comments about the folk song "Shake Your Little Foot, Sally". This Mudcat discussion thread also known as "Shake Your Little Foot, Dinah O") as well as lyrics/lyric excerpts, and comments about a newer "Sally Ann" ballad and other "Sally Ann" songs/singing games.]

1. Subject: Lyr Add: SALLY ANN^^
From: Barry Finn
Date: 14 Sep 99 - 11:14 PM


Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Ann
Dragging his slick tail through the sand
Picking his banjo & raising sand
Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Ann

CH: Ever see a muskrat Sally Ann (2x)
Shift that meal & save the bran
Going to the wedding with Sally Ann
Shake that little foot Sally Ann
You're a pretty good dancer Sally Ann

CH: Shake that little foot Sally Ann (2x)

Make my living in the sandy land
Raise big 'taters in the sandy land
Big mushmelons in the sandy land
Sandy bottom, sandy land

CH: I'm gonna marry you Sally Ann (2x)
Sal's got a meatskin laid away
To grease that wooden leg so they say
Dinah's got a wooden leg so they say
Shake that wooden leg Dinah-o

CH: Shake that wooden leg Dinah, Dinah
Shake that wooden leg Dinah-o

From "Folk Songs Of North America" by Alan Lomax. I gotta say that parts of the last verse to me are quite suspect along with the 3rd verse sounds like it was more than just a floating filler borrowed from "Sandy Land". Anyway, there you go. Barry"

2. Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sally Ann / Ballad of Sally Anne
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 02:00 AM

..."I think it would be nice to include the text of the Traditional Ballad Index entry.
-Joe Offer-

Sally Anne

DESCRIPTION: "Oh where are you going, Sally Anne? (x3) I'm going to the wedding, Sally Anne. Oh shake that little foot, Sally Anne, (x3), You're a pretty good dancer, Sally Anne." "Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Ann...." Other verses are equally unrelated.

AUTHOR: unknown


KEYWORDS: dancing nonballad marriage courting animal



Wade Ward, "Sally Ann" [instrumental] (on Holcomb-Ward1)

George Stoneman, "Sally Anne" [instrumental] (on LomaxCD1702)
Frank Blevins & his Tar Heel Rattlers, "Sally Aim [sic]" (Columbia 15765-D, 1927; on LostProv1 as "Sally Ann")

Pete Seeger, "Sally Ann" (on PeteSeeger06, PeteSeegerCD01); Sally Ann" (on PeteSeeger18)
Art Thieme, "Sally Ann" (on Thieme01)

cf. "Great Big Taters in Sand Land" (tune)

Notes: Lomax says that this is the same melody as the fiddle piece "Sandy Land," in turn related to "Sally Goodin." [But Lomax wasn't a fiddler. The tune is related to "Sandy Land" (actually "Great Big Taters in Sandy Land"), but I draw the line at "Sally Goodin." I'm no fiddler, either, but I've backed up a lot of them. - PJS] Certainly the banal and unrelated verses are what one would expect of a fiddle tune with words added. - RBW

File: SKE63
The Ballad Index Copyright 2002 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.
This excerpt has been reformatted for this post to enhance its readability.
This excerpt is from an old version of that site. The current link for "The Ballad Index" is Here's an excerpt from the introduction to that site: The Traditional Ballad Index:
An Annotated Bibliography of the Folk Songs of the English-Speaking World

Version 4.1 • November 25, 2016

"The Traditional Ballad Index is a collaborative effort designed to help people find reference information on folk ballads. It is not itself a source of song texts or of discussion of ballads, although it contains some summary information."...
*"Ap" My guess is that "Ap" given above means "Appalachia". According to
"Appalachia... is a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York to northern Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.[1] While the Appalachian Mountains stretch from Belle Isle (Newfoundland and Labrador) in Canada to Cheaha Mountain in Alabama, the cultural region of Appalachia typically refers only to the central and southern portions of the range."
Appalachian music (particularly folk music from Southern Appalachia in the United States) is sometimes referred to as "Mountain music". It appears to me that many people who use the terms "Appalachian music" and "Mountain music" assume that that music is only from Anglo-Americans. However, such an assumption disregards the fact that Black Americans and Americans of other races have lived and continue to live in Appalachia. That assumption also disregards the fact that a lot of 19th century (and probably earlier) secular folk music crossed "racial boundaries". I chose to refer to "Shake Your Little Foot, Sally" ("Shake Your Little Foot, Dinah O") as African American folk music, but that term presupposes that it is also American folk music, and its unknown composers may not have been (only) Black.

3. Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sally Ann
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 01:37 PM

"There is a version in Brown, North Carolina Folklore. Vol. 5, No. 673, music and one verse.
O, where are you going, Sally Ann? (3 times)
I'm going to the wedding, Sally Ann.
O, shake that little foot, Sally Ann, (3 times)
You're a pretty good dancer, Sally Ann.

No data on source or date, but reference is made to SharpK 11 351 No. 240 (jig) and to JAFL 28, 183 and JAFL 41 no. 8 and 59 p. 462."

4. Subject: ADD Version: Sally Ann
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 02:23 AM

This isn't much different from the Lomax version Barry Finn posted up top, but I think this version is worth posting, too.
-Joe Offer-

Sally Ann

C Am
Did you ever see a muskrat, Sally Ann?
Pickin' a banjo, Sally Ann,
Draggin' his slick tail through the sand?
I'm gonna marry you, Sally Ann.

I'm gonna marry you, Sal, Sal,
I'm gonna marry you, Sally Ann.

Going to the wedding, Sally Ann (twice)
Sift that meal and save your bran,
I'm going home with Sally Ann.

Shake that little foot, Sally Ann, (twice)
Great big wedding up, Sally Ann,
I'm going home with Sally Ann.

Pass me the brandy, Sally Ann, (twice)
I'm going 'way with Sally Ann,
Great big wedding up, Sally Ann.

Source The Folk Singer's Wordbook (Fred & Irwin Silber, 1973)
Compare Example #1 and this example of "Shake Your Little Foot, Sally" lyrics with certain lyrics for Harry Belafonte's 1964 version of this song. That song is showcased in Part II of this pancocojams series.

Excerpt #2:
Google Books: Google Book:
Melody Sheet Music Lyrics Midi
edited by Richard Hewlett, Sep 4, 2014 [no page number given]

Old Aunt Dinah went to town
Riding a billy goat, leading a hound.
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O

Hound dog barked and billy goat jumped
Set Aunt Dinah straddle of a stump
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O
Shake that little foot , Dinah, O

Old Aunt Dinah, sick to bed
Sent for the doctor, doctor said:
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O

Get up Dinah, you ain’t sick
All you need is a hickory stick
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O
Shake that little foot, Dinah, O
No source is given for this version and it isn't dated. However, it may be much older than the versions given above. Click for some information about the "Old Aunt Dinah/sick in bed" lines that dates that rhyme to the 19th century.

Also, African American university professor and folk music collector Thomas W. Talley includes a song about "Aunt Dinah riding a billy goat, leading a hound" in his now classic 1922 collection Negro Folk Rhymes: Wise And Otherwise.

Excerpt #3:
From "Great Big Taters in the Sandy Land

Traditional Old-Time, Breakdown. USA; Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi..


CATEGORY: Fiddle and Instrumental Tunes. DATE: Early 1900’s (1934 Lomax version)

OTHER NAMES: "Great Big Taters;" "Sandyland;" "Raise Big Taters in Sandy Land;" "Steve's Tune;" "Big Taters in Sandy Land;"

RELATED MELODY: “Sail Away Ladies;” “Sally Ann;" "Taters in Sandy Land;" “Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around,” "Better Quit Kickin My Dog Around," "Sail Away Ladies."


SOURCES: Kuntz: A Fiddler’s Companion (on-line); Lomax-ABFS, pp. 236-237, "Sandy Land”. American Ballads and Folk Songs, MacMillan, Bk (1934), p.236 (Sandy Land) . Traditional Music in America, Folklore Associates, Bk (1940/1965), p 39b Anderson, Jubal. Fiddle Book, Oak, Bk (1967), p 80.

NOTES: "A Major: G Major (W.E. Claunch, Kuntz, Sweet). AEAE or Standard. ABB (Rankin): ABB' (Phillips/Wills): AABB' (Sweet): AABBCC (Phillips/Eck Robertson). The melody is directly related to "Sail Away Ladies" (and thus to "Sally Ann") and some indicate it is merely a variant of that tune, though the title "Great Big Taters" and its variations is considerably disseminated in the South and Old Southwest. Arizona fiddler Kenner C. Kartchner knew a tune by this title in the very odd key of C Major (for this kind of tune), which he learned from Frank Pruitt, about 1900. The title was one of those in a list of traditional Ozark Mountain fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954...


The “Great Big Tater” tune is the old fiddler's favorite, "Sandy Land" or "Sally Ann" and is also used in the Hound Dog Song (“Gotta Quit Kickin' My Dog Around"). "Sail Away Ladies" is a variant of the song. The song was first recorded as "Great Big Taters in Sandy Land" by Eck Robertson in 1929. It is categorized by Meade under the "Sally Ann" title. Alan Lomax says this is the same tune as "Sally Anne," and close to "Sally Goodin." Paul Stamler, who knows all three as fiddle tunes, concedes a relationship to "Sally Anne" but not "Sally Goodin." The final verse of the American Ballads text is "Sal's Got a Meatskin."


Great big taters in the sandy land
Great big taters in the sandy land. (Repeat)

Sal had a meat-skin laid away,
Greased my wooden leg every day. (Repeat)

Shake-a that big foot Sally Ann,
Shake-a that big foot Sally Ann. (Repeat) "

ADDENDUM #1: SHOWCASE VIDEO: Shake That Little Foot Sally Ann - David "Stringbean" Akeman

ClassicCountry1978, Published on Oct 28, 2015
This version which is given without transcription isn't the same as those text examples that are given above.

ADDENDUM #2:Excerpt About the use of the name "Dinah" in 19th century United States
"[Dinah"] Symbol of black womanhood
In 19th-century America, "Dinah" became a generic name for an enslaved African woman.[12] At the 1850 Woman's Rights Convention in New York, a speech by Sojourner Truth was reported on in the New York Herald, which used the name "Dinah" to symbolize black womanhood as represented by Truth:
In a convention where sex and color are mingled together in the common rights of humanity, Dinah, and Burleigh, and Lucretia, and Frederick Douglas [sic], are all spiritually of one color and one sex, and all on a perfect footing of reciprocity. Most assuredly, Dinah was well posted up on the rights of woman, and with something of the ardor and the odor of her native Africa, she contended for her right to vote, to hold office, to practice medicine and the law, and to wear the breeches with the best white man that walks upon God's earth.[12]

Lizzie McCloud, a slave on a Tennessee plantation during the American Civil War, recalled that Union soldiers called all enslaved women "Dinah". Describing her fear when the Union army arrived, she said: "We was so scared we run under the house and the Yankees called 'Come out Dinah' (didn't call none of us anything but Dinah). They said 'Dinah, we're fightin' to free you and get you out from under bondage'."[13] After the end of the war in 1865 The New York Times exhorted the newly liberated slaves to demonstrate that they had the moral values to use their freedom effectively, using the names "Sambo" and "Dinah" to represent male and female former slaves: "You are free Sambo, but you must work. Be virtuous too, oh Dinah!"[14]

The name Dinah was subsequently used for dolls and other images of black women.[15]

12. Footnote 3 to "Women's Rights Convention", The New York Herald, October 26, 1850; U.S. Women's History Workshop.
13. Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves, The Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938. Library of Congress, 1941.
14. Gutmann, Herbert. "Persistent Myths about the Afro-American Family" in The Slavery Reader, Psychology Press, 2003, p.263.
15. Husfloen, Kyle. Black Americana, Krause Publications, 2005, p.64.
It should also be noted that "Dinah" is often given as "old Aunt Dinah" ("ole Aunt Dinah") in 20th century songs (including African American social dance/game songs and Anglo-American minstrel songs). One example of this usage is
"Ole Aunt Dinah
Sick in bed
Called the doctor
And the doctor said
"Get up, Dinah
You ain't sick.
All you need is a hickory stick."*

Those references were for older Black women, "aunt" being a substitute for "Mrs" which conveyed more status and respect and was (therefore) reserved for White women. "Uncle" -instead of "Mr." - was the equivalent title for older Black men.
*In these lyrics "hickory stick" means [to get] a beating with a hickory stick.

This concludes Part I of this three part series.

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