Who Shook Sugaree?

Who Shook Sugaree? is a short, humorous set of free character variations on Libba Cottenʼs Shake Sugaree. Libba Cottenʼs two recordings, one live and one in the studio, while different in the order of verses and their keys, share her beautiful and seemingly mischievous sense of humor.

On her live recording, Libba tells a story about Shake Sugaree in which she describes her children making up verses between the lyrics “Everything I got is done and pawned” and “Oh, Lordy me! Didnʼt we shake Sugaree?”

While there is little that is innately Cotten-esque about my piece, I intentionally maintain the overall harmonic character and retain some of the melodic material throughout the piece, while taking Libba Cottenʼs tune through a stylistic and textural territories not commonly associated with her music. There is also an element of theatre written into this short, light piece, intended to reflect Ms. Cottenʼs sense of humor.

Who Shook Sugaree? was composed specifically for The Society for New Musicʼs American Icons concert in celebration of Libba Cotten and her music.



July 20, 2012 at the “American Icons” concert at the First Presbyterian Church, 27 Albany Street, Cazenovia, NY by The Society for New Music.


  • Flute
  • Guitar
  • Cello
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