Ben Smith: Music
Shuck N' Jive
The Story behind the Song
Every now and then, a song just writes itself in my head, and is complete before I really have a thing to say about it. This is one of those type songs. I feel like “Shuck N’ Jive” song already existed and just waiting for me to chisel away the stone around it.
You know how they say “Whistle while you work?” Well I write while I work. It seems like that is when I get my best writing done. Work and music just seem to go hand and hand. For me, the two really give life to each other.
This song was conceived when I saw a band I know was playing at a place called, “The Shuck N’ Jive,” and just thought it was a cool name for a bar and sounded fun.
The same day I heard of this Shuck N’ Jive place, I had to spend most the day in my garage cleaning and sharpening tools I use for work. And almost involuntarily, the melody and words for “Shuck N’ Jive” just fell into place as I worked. I sat down and penned it that night in about 10 minutes, played if for my buddies and they concurred it was a real keeper.
The funny thing is, the song was done before I was really even sure what a “Shuck N’ Jive” really was. I just thought it sounded like a colorful term for “the local dive bar in the rural south.”
So I researched it and learned some interesting history about this term. “Shucking and Jiving” was a term used by slaves in the Old South. When slaves would cut up and goof off together while no one was looking, they were "Shuckin' N' Jivin'." So the term was most likely born while shucking corn. It turned into an expression that just meant: horsing around.
An appropriate name for a place to have fun and a few drinks after a hard day of workin’ for the man, I thought. We put a little bit of a Creole feel on the record to reflect the Old South origins of the song’s title. The recording features a juice harp, washboard, banjo, and a washtub bass.
Down at the Shuck N’ Jive A good time on a Friday night The whole town’s feelin’ much alive Down at the Shuck N’ Jive Well you hop through the door and you’re feeling loose Then you’re ready for a drink or two The boys are in the corner gettin’ loud and shootin’ pool Girls are flockin’ to the floor just a doin’ what they do gettin’ (Chorus) Hey boys I’ll tell you what I’m gonna do Jump in my truck when the works all through I’m pickin’ up my little Mary Sue We’ll spin around and around ‘till they kick us out at two gettin’ (Chorus) That little shack by the water in this country town It’s gonna get even hotter when the sun goes down You got to shake what your maker made ya baby got to shake what your maker made ya You got to shake what your maker made ya baby got to shake what your maker made ya Come one and shake what your maker made ya baby Got to shake it! Shake it! Shake it shake it shake it good! (Chorus)