Shake That Fat Fanny

August 20, 2009

Rugged Piano ClassicsJust got back from Edinburgh. My brother and I did a really fun couple of shows as the Seznec Bros in the Spiegeltent at the Book Festival. We played a bunch of originals, gospel tunes, rags, blues, mountain songs and more, one of which exposed, laid bare, revealed – if you will – the split, the divide, the fissure – if you will – that separates American English from British English.
This old ragged oddity by the unique midwestern piano player Jim Clark (not much info to be found) is relatively tame in America as far as hokum is concerned, but UK listeners might find this a bit less subtle. This and myriad others like it can be found on the fantastic archive site Juneberry 78s (another personal favorite is Romeo Nelson’s Gettin Dirty Just Shakin That Thing). I got it from an mp3 version of the 1968 out-of-print Original Jazz Library LP “Rugged Piano Classics: 1927-39”. The music has a great groove. We do a piano-guitar thing. Here are the lyrics to the song as I hear it:

now everybody get up off of that thing and shake your fat fanny
when i say hold it, i mean shake your fat fanny
hold it, shake your fat fanny, shake that thing gal shake it, do it miss mama do it

when i say hold it this time i want everyone to walk into it, walk into it like its yours
hold it, walk into it, walk into it you bums that’s what i’m talking about, good gal

when i say hold it this time i want everybody to snatch it on back, bring it forward, snatch it on back
hold it, snatch it back, snatch it on back, bring it forward, snatch it, snatch it back

when i say hold it this time i want everybody to gut it, gut that thing i mean gut it
hold it, aww gut it, gut it low, gut it like it lives, sister you sure gutting that thing

when i say hold it this time i want everyone to get up off it once more and shake your fat fanny
hold it, aww shake your fat fanny, i mean shake your fanny, twirl that thing gal twirl it, bring it, twist it a little bit

one more time, when i say hold it this time i want everybody to sally along
hold it, oh sally along, sally along your fanny gal, sally that thing, sally it, shake your fat fanny, that’s just what i’m talking about

Also included is a Sez Bros show-ender, “Hot Nuts”, by Lil Johnson from the great hokum collection Raunchy Business: Hot Nuts and Lollipops.

Fat Fanny Stomp By Jim Clark

Get Em From The Peanut Man (Hot Nuts) by Lil Johnson

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4 Responses to “Shake That Fat Fanny”


  1. Hi, thanks for the post. I have had a copy of this recording for years and it is one of my all-time favorites.

    In my opinion, it IS quite a bit more racy than the usual “hokum” record of the time, especially with Clarke’s [not “Clark”] fast, practically orgasmic exhortations of “bring it forward, smack it on back! bring it forward, smack it back again!”.

    The absolute joy and pride in what he is saying, and total lack of any shame (in my opinion) makes this record very modern in my eyes, certainly an easy (and not archaic) listen for those more free-spirited people who are products of the sexual revolution.

    Here’s Jim Clarke’s spoken commentary, as I hear it.

    I am American so doubtless I can hear some of the lyrics a bit better, but then again, I’ve been listening to old recordings for quite some time so perhaps I’m just used to it.

    For those recordings that are too distorted, too scratchy, and maybe “too black” (in speech) to comprehend, I ask my good friend, musician Jerron Paxton to translate, which he can do about 99% of the time.

    In this case, Jim Clarke has good enunciation so it is not hard at all for me to make out most of what he is saying, this is only limited by the response of the microphone in the studio and the quality of the record pressing.

    here goes:

    [theme 1]

    Now everybody,

    get up offa that thing, and shake your fat fanny!

    When I say hold it, I mean shake yo’ fat fanny!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    [theme 2]

    Shake yo’ fat fanny!

    Shake that thing, gal, Shake it!

    Do it miss mama, DO it!

    [theme 1]

    When I say hold it this time,

    I want everybody to walk into it!

    Walk into it like it’s yours!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    [theme 2]

    Walk into it!

    Walk into it, you bought it!

    That’s what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

    good gal,

    [theme 1]

    When I say hold it this time,

    I want everybody to snatch it on back!

    Bring it forward,

    snatch it on back!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    [theme 2]

    Snatch it back!

    Snatch it on back! Bring it forward, snatch it back again!!!

    [theme 1]

    When I say hold it this time,

    I want everybody to gut it!

    Gut that thing, I mean, GUT IT!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    [theme 2]

    Aw, gut it!

    Gut it gully low!

    gut it like it live!

    Sister Fullperson, you sho”’* guttin’ that thing!

    [theme 1]

    When I say “hold it” this time,

    ‘ want everybody to get up off it once mo’ and shake your fat fanny!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    [theme 2]

    Aw, SHAKE yo’ fat fanny!

    I mean SHAKE yo’ fanny!

    Twirl that thing, gal, twirl it…

    …’n wring it, ‘n twist it a little bit.

    ONE MO’RE TIME!

    [theme 1]

    When I say “hold it” this time,

    I want everybody to Sally Long!

    [break]

    HOLD it!

    aw, SALLY LONG!

    Sally Long your fanny, gal!, Sally that thing!

    [commanding] SALLY IT. [gaily] Shake yo’ fat fanny!

    That’s JUST what I’m talkin’ ’bout!

    [end]

    *[sho”’ = “sure are” enthusiastically run together]

    Notes:

    It is possible that he substitutes the word “smack” for “snatch” in “snatch it on back”, sometimes, but it is hard to tell due to the fidelity of the recording. Certainly, “smack it on back” seems to make more sense than “snatch it on back”.

    When he says “Walk into it, you bought it!”, he is quite possibly referring to prostitution (or at least dancing for money, but probably prostitution). Again, his encouraging tone makes this a refreshing record.

    “Sister Fullperson” is quite probably an in-joke referring to a “well-endowed” lady. (get it?) One book I have seen transcribes this as “Sister Fulbosom” which he might well actually be saying, it is hard to hear. However, I cannot think of another instance of the word “bosom” being used on any of the other “race records” of the era that I have heard. Then again, this is Jim Clarke’s only solo side, so perhaps he was indeed familiar with the word.

    “Sally Long” (1901-1987) was a dancer and movie actress, who was famous from the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, which fits in perfectly with the date of this tune (1929). It is quite possible that Jim Clarke is referring to some dance routine that she did in one of her movies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Long

    P.S. on your record “Rugged Piano Classics”, the piano duet of “Blythe and Clark” is Jimmy Blythe and his nephew Charley Clark (Blythe’s sister’s son), and as far as I know, no relation to Jim Clarke, who spelled his last name with an e.

    • cocoringo Says:

      thanks for your edifying comments! i am also american, but it appears your ears are more finely attuned to the old records. am particularly interested by the sally long reference – nice catch!
      -c


  2. You’re welcome! Glad I could help out! 😀

    P.S. if you are interested in ragtime and related music, you can click my name to go to an excellent Yahoo group you can join (or just watch) with discussions, ongoing research, files posted, upcoming events listed, etc. etc. If you know of an early blues piano group like this, I would love to hear about it!


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