Shake Yo' Dusters (1898)
Piccaninny Rag Two-Step
Last updated: 11.10.21
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Composer: W.H. Krell Suppliers: dbe15.gif
Editor: Geoff Grainger Quintet A/T/T/B/GB(B)
Publisher: Ditty Box Enterprises Publication: DBE 939
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Length: approx. 3¼ mins.
Shake Yo' Dusters is an interesting composition marking the evolution from cakewalk to ragtime. Subtitled Piccaninny Rag, it retains some cakewalk features such as the many sections, drops the patrol effects and is a little more syncopated than its predecessor The Mississippi Rag (1897). It was also published as a song as was initially performed by Brewer & Suttle's Ragtime Four, a mixed quartet comprising Gertie Brown, Maud Brewer, Saint Suttle and J. W. Brewer. This instrumental version also has ad lib lyrics for bars 65 - 80 as follows:

Little Piccaninny, shake yo' feet, Mammy's boy so sweet.
Little curls a-bobbin' on yo' head, ain't he cute? Jes' like his dad!
Shake yo' dusters, put on style. My goodness! Look a' dat chile!
I feels mighty proud and my heart does beat, when dat Piccaninny shakes his feet.

As can be seen from the lyrics the word duster is used here using the dictionary definition of "a person or contrivance that dusts". And by the way, this piece is anything but dusty! Krell dedicated this two step rag to the Comus Club, Chicago.
Shake Yo' Dusters was published by S. Brainard's Sons Co., Chicago, Illinois, USA.
A tempo of 160 crotchets/min. is suggested.

     Title Performer
youtube15.jpg Shake Yo' Dusters (2:44) Ragtime Dorian Henry