Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself (1)
X:1 T:Go to the Devil and shake yourself  M:6/8 L:1/8 R:Country Dance B:Preston's Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1798 Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:C Gcc cBA|GAG GEG|Gcc c2d|ecA A2G| Gcc cBA|GAG GEG|cec dfd|ecc c3:| |:gec cBc|AFF F3|afd ded|BGG G3| Gcc cBA|GAG GEG|cec dfd|ecc c3:|]
GO TO THE DEVIL AND SHAKE YOURSELF  (Imtig Do'n Diabal's Corruid Tu Fein). AKA and see "Come from the Devil and Shake Yourself," "Growling Woman (The)," "Lord Cornwallis' Jigg," "One-Legged Man (1) (The)," "Penniless Traveller (The)," "When Sick is it Tea You Want? (1)." Scottish, Irish & English, Jig (6/8 time). England, Shropshire, Linclonshire. D Major (Ashman, Bowman, Cole, Huntington, Kennedy, O'Neill, Raven, Sumner, Trim): C Major (Gow, Howe, Lowe). Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The title was a fairly popular, if impious, epithet, meaning roughly "Get lost!" Grattan Flood (1906) identifies the tune as originally from Munster, however, his assertion should be viewed sceptically, as the musicologist often made such assertions apparently on the scantiest of evidence. It is not known what he based this opinion on. Scottish and English sources predate Irish ones in print, so far. The Scots certainly have a claim to provenance, as early versions appear under the "Devil" title in Napier's Selection of Dances (London, 1798), Thompson's Twenty-four Country Dances for the Year 1800 (London, 1800), Cahusac's Compleat Tutor for the German Flute (London, c. 1798), Astor's Hoboy (Oboe) Preceptor, or Military Pieces (London, c.1800), and Gow's Second Complete Repository (between 1799 and 1836). Perthshire fiddler John Fife included "Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself" in his music manuscript compiled in Scotland and at sea from 1780 to 1804, as did New Romney, Kent, fiddler William Mittell in 1799. In America the tune was published by Joshua Cushing in his Fifer's Companion (Salem, Mass., 1804) and by Daniel Steele in his New and Complete Preceptor for the Fife (Albany, c. 1815). . It also appears in numerous American musicians' manuscripts, such as Eleazer Cary (Mansfield, Conn., c. 1797-1799), Josiah Adams (Framingham, Mass., 1808-1818), Joseph Hooves & David Melvenz (New Ispwich, Mass., c. 1800-1817), Abel Shattuck (Colrain, Mass., c. 1801-182?), fifer Seth Johnson (Woburn, Mass., 1807-c. 1840?), and others. American musician M.E. Eames entered it into his 1859 music copybook as well (p. 70). Country dances to the melody were printed by H. & E. Phinney in A Select Collection of the Newest and Most Favorite Country Dances (Ostego, N.Y., 1808) and Saltator's A Treatise on Dancing (Boston, Mass., 1807). The jig is listed as the vehicle for the Haymaker's dance in Boston publisher Elias Howe's No. 2 Fifty Contra Dances (c. 1860). See also the jig under the title "Lord Cornwallis' Jigg" from the music manuscript copybook of ship's fiddler William Litten.
Gordon Ashman (1991) relates that the tune was once much used for songs of political satire, and he believes it can also be found as an old hymn air. Campbell's gives the tune in ten strains (William Litton's version gives strain 5 & 6). Gow (1802) remarks: "This tune may be played slow." "Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself" was adapted for the classical music repertoire as a "Rondo for the Piano-Forte" by pianist and composer John Field (1782-1837), published in 1818. Field was born in Dublin, but spent most of his adult life concertizing and teaching on the Continent, particularly Russia, where he died. "The air itself appears to have been very popular in the last years of the eighteenth century," writes Una Hunt, "for other works based on this Irish tune were composed by Osmond Saffery, Thomas Haigh, T. Latour, Karl Kambra and Joseph Dale between c. 1796 and 1800" [Hunt, "The Harper's Legacy: National Airs and Pianoforte Music", 2010).
The jig is mentioned in a legend related by Charles M. Skinner (1852-1907) in his book The Isle of Manhattoes and Nearby. It is essentially the same story adapted by Charlie Daniel in his song "Devil Went Down to Georgia" about a private fiddle contest between the devil and a human fiddler. In Skinner's tale the protagonist is a black fiddler named Joost, returning home from playing a wedding on Long Island. He meets a stranger along the road, with a fiddle tucked under his arm, and the two begin to play. It quickly escalates into a contest:
"Where the devil did you come from?" asked (Joost). The other smiled.
"And how did you come to know that music?" Joost pursued.
"Oh, I've known that tune for years," was the reply,. "It's called 'The Devil's joy at Sabbath Breaking."
"You're a liar!" cried the negro. The stranger bowed and burst into a roar of laughter. "A liar!" repeated Joost,--"for I made up that music this very minute."
"Yet you notice that I could follow when you played."
"Humph! Yes, you can follow."
"And I can lead, too. Do you know the tune 'Go to the Devil and Shake Yourself?'"
"Yes; but I play second to nobody."
Joost finally bests him at dawn by playing the hymn "Now behold, at dawn of day, Pious Dutchmen sing and pray." With the concession "Well, that beats the devil" the stranger strikes his foot against a rock and disappears in an explosion.