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 (8 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)
Roberts, #80, "Shoo Fly" (1 short text, 1 tune, lumped with "Shoo Fly" by Roud because it has the single chorus line "Shoo fly, don't you bother me" but which is otherwise "Don't Get Weary Children (Massa Had a Yellow Gal)")
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 4.2
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 2017 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.