May 13, 2009

"If you don't want my peaches, honey, please don't shake my tree."

Early peaches, this morning:

Early Peaches

Peaches on a peach tree naturally makes me think of song lyrics, and I found this on Wikipedia:
The ‘peaches’ verse ["If you don't like my peaches/Don't you shake my tree/'n Get out of my orchard/Let my peaches be," in "Sitting on Top of the World"] 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 It appears as the chorus of an unpublished song composed by Irving Berlin in May 1914: “If you don't want my peaches / You'd better stop shaking my tree.”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"). In later years lines using similar imagery were used in “Matchbox” by Carl Perkins and “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band. Ahmet Ertegun was able to convince Miller to pay him US$50,000, claiming authorship of the line in his song "Lovey Dovey". This verse and its ubiquitous usage is an example of the tradition of ‘floating lyrics’ (also called 'maverick stanzas') in folk-music tradition.
In "The Joker," it's "You're the cutest thing that I ever did see/I really love your peaches, wanna shake your tree." Video.

"Matchbox" is the most familiar one to me, and it's the version I've put in the post title: "If you don't want my peaches, honey, please don't shake my tree." (Here's Carl Perkins, performing the song I learned from The Beatles.) Though the history of the "floating lyric" suggests the opposite, Carl is talking about the masculine anatomy.

15 comments:

AlgonquinS said...

If you don't want my walnuts, don't unzip my pants.

MadisonMan said...

My peach tree had lots of blooms but we'll see how that transitions to actual fruit by the end of July.

Peaches and Herbs. That's my garden.

Lem said...

I find this post outrageous ;)

Jason (the commenter) said...

Coincidentally, I was also indulging in Peaches this morning.

ElcubanitoKC said...

Mina, another of my favorite singers of all time, and Ella, offer two versions of St. Louis BluesEnjoy.

traditionalguy said...

If you want information, you can shake a wiki tree. I notice that trees are no longer purple and overbearing in our Professor's neighborhood, but are green and bearing loads of luscious fruit to give nourishment to the eater and seed to the planter for next season. We in the Peach State salute Meade for being such a Peach of a guy.

Bissage said...

(1) I can’t watch the video. Is that the one with Steve Miller, a bassist and drummer, all obviously stoned?

(2) Anyone who has ever had kidney stones can appreciate the difference between clingstones and freestones.

(3) Pompatus.

goesh said...

- I just think your hand should have been inserted,in from the left border, some fingers gesturing or something or even a clenched fist, up close to the peaches - it was hard to connect with for some reason, to much starkness of the forces that are slowly aging me, rotting me, inspire a bit of hope

AlphaLiberal said...

My grandma used to say that line all then time.

Penny said...

I hadn't heard of floating lyrics before. Nice post. It also makes you wonder what kind of lyrics we will see floating forward. Something tells me there won't be many sensual metaphors.

Bissage said...

Well, I checked to see if that “The Joker” video (I referred to at 10:47) is still on teh YouTubes . . . and . . . it . . . is . . . not.

Bummer.

It was way cool and elemental.

And MAN were those guys baked!

Bissage said...

Oh, and by the way,

abra . . .

abra . . .

cadabra . . .

I want to reach out and grab ya.

(Thought you all might want to know)

Ha!

Ray Fowler said...

Chris Smither has a nice acoustic guitar version of "Sittin on Top of the World" on his "It Ain't Easy" CD. Great song.

Penny said...

"abra . . .

cadabra . . .

I want to reach out and grab ya."

He's a magic man....yeah.

Mary Dargis said...

Have you ever heard a song with the lyrics similar to"of all the peach trees in the orchard, I got the lemon tree of life" ? I have been searching for this for years!