'Sugar Shack' lyrical analysis -- 'Put on some trash'

I’ve recently heard it said around me that when, in the song Sugar Shack by The Jimmy Gilmer Fireballs, the vocalist sings “Make that girl love me when I put on some trash”, he’s talking about putting on jazz music or (possibly) early rock’n’roll.

I, and all reasonable people ;), know it’s a reference to the fact that he’ll get her to love him when he’s dressed rattily instead of nattily.

So, is there any consensus here?

You’re right, of course. He’s describing going to the coffee shop, drinking coffee, spending some money, and wooing her while he’s dressed in appropriate beatnik clothing (compatible with her black leotard). The non-beat crowd no doubt considers such attire trash. The coffee shop decides what music they play, he doesn’t get to choose it – and that whole verse is about his going to the coffee shop, not taking her somewhere where he can “put on” some music.

Oh, and the artist for “Sugar Shack” is correctly referred to as “Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs”. The Fireballs separately (without Gilmer) had a chart hit with “Bottle of Wine.”*

*Yes, I know some internet sites credit “Bottle of Wine” to Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. They’re wrong. I’ve got the 45, and I can assure you it was just The Fireballs.

My friend wasn’t pleased, but your explanation makes a lot more sense. FWIW, everyone else I’ve talked to around here thinks it’s music of some sort, too.

Loonies. :stuck_out_tongue:

Maybe they think it’s “put on some thrash”?

Okay, probably not…

I always thought it meant the same as “talk some trash” i.e., pick up lines or the stupid stuff we usually say to get a girl’s attention.

I boarded a train from Klamath Falls, OR to Seattle, WA several years ago. The person next to me had a guitar on the rack above us. I asked him what he did with his guitar. “Oh, write songs,” he replied. I said, "Really? What songs have you written? He said, “Oh, Sugar Shack.” I said, “You wrote 'Sugar Shack? I LOVE that song!” He said, “Aw, that’s a crap song.” I said, “No, it’s the only song I can think of that keeps the memory of the ‘beatnicks’ alive. How did you come to write that song?” He said, “I used to have coffee in this espresso place in New York with people like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and there were these gals with bare feet in black leotards waiting on us and delivering our coffee. So I wrote a song about it.” He told me he used to be with a band called “The Stringalongs” (kind of a “Ventures”-type group… instrumental pop tunes with guitars.)

He told me that he had been keeping all his copyrighted material in his mom’s basement in Texas and the house got flooded and destroyed all of his material. It was just about the time his royalties were all about to expire and he needed to renew them. He was living in Bend, OR at the time and was going down to Klamath to collaborate with a guy on writing new songs. He said that one concept he and the other guy were working on about “The Boogie Woman.” He said, “We’ve all heard about the boogie man… what about the boogie woman?”

He told me his guitar was a “Seagull” and he invited me to take it down and play it. It had a really nice tone.

Anyway, I thought this little tidbit about writer of “Sugar Shack” would be of interest in this string.

As someone who has written songs and has had them copywritten and registered (ASCAP), I call BS. It doesn’t work that way.

Funny song. It’s a song about a guy whose main reason for going to the Sugar Shack is this one girl who works there. They get married, and the main thing they seem to have in common is memories of their good times at the Sugar Shack.

This is how I always interpreted it as well. Granted, I was never well-versed on beatnik slang, so I could be wrong.

(OP is from 2004, but Derleth is still active.)
I agree that “put on some trash” is the same as struttin’ your stuff or showing off your moves or spouting some (benign) bullshit.

Wikipedia link for the song’s co-author: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_McCormack who died in 2015 in Springfield, Mo.


The lyricist may have been up on terminology for men’s attire, but not women’s. He got leotard confused with tights. He was thinking of skin-tight black pants and asked his aunt what those are called, and she says “Leotards.” 'Cause she didn’t know what the word meant either; She must have never taken a ballet class. His beloved’s feet were bare because (the health inspector obviously hadn’t visited her workplace, and) footless tights are a thing. This was long before anyone thought to call them leggings.

Well, as someone who only knows a tiny bit about the matter, I think the story might contain some misunderstandings, without rising to the level of “BS”.

Sugar Shack was (according to Wikipedia) written in 1962. At that time copyrights could be extended after 28 years — which would be in 1990. The US copyright laws were changed in 1978, and the requirement for extension was eliminated. I think. Copyright registration was optional then, as it still is, but was regarded as a safety measure that made defending copyrights easier.

Maybe the traveling muscian believed he needed his original copyright registration to get his copyright extended beyond 28 years. And maybe he did need it, if he wanted to extend without having to jump through a lot of legal hoops to reestablish ownership.

Registered the copyright. (Copyright is a noun, not a verb.)

From here.

Summary: Copywritten or Copyrighted
The main difference between copywritten and copyrighted is that the word “copy” behaves differently in both. In “copywritten,” copy is a noun–it means “advertising text.”

While in “copyrighted,” copy is a verb–it refers to copying and distributing work, and a “copyright” is about who has the right to do that.

Here’s a list of online dictionaries that include the word “copyrighted”. Several (Merriam, Collins, Vocabulary, Cambridge, et al) list the word as a verb – in addition to a noun and an adjective.

Vocabulary.com provides a recent (7/18/18) usage example from the New Yorker:
She copyrighted her image, and disseminated cartes de visite, which helped pay for her oratorical tours.