"Sugar on the Floor"
The name of our group
is the title of an rollicking old time song about making
rough floors more danceable by throwing sugar on them so folks
could slide around easily. The song combines snatches of two
old dance tunes "The Eighth of January" and "Pigtown
The historical truths, lies,
heros and hard cases in the songs we sing, come from folks dealing
with hard times.
Humorous or sad, as the songs
entertain, they also remind us of our folk heritage. They remind
us that people are part of nature and that as contemporary society
has taught us to exploit nature, we have learned to exploit each
other. Listeners discover that too
often we accept this as normal.
The songs involve us in how
the oppressed and disenfranchised have used the spirit of music
and song to celebrate that they are prevailing through adversity.
Often the songs have become an important part of prevailing.
Some members of Sugar on the
Floor have been singing, playing and peforming old time music
since1946, as have other members of their family.
See our songs for you
on our special question menu/playbill.
Pick some questions you want us to answer with songs when
you visit us at our next appearance.
Ask your favorite questions
from this playbill and enjoy our collection of musically rewarding
responses. We will sing you homespun songs and stories from people
who built America while living a simpler life.
This collection of songs conveys
remote history through toe-tapping grassroots music. Take pleasure
in their heartfelt traditions and justifiable irreverence to
the dim parts of our society.
Folks tell us they want a change
of pace from music that they find is too loud, commercial or
stressful and carries stigmas of celebrities, stimulants or broken
love. We sing ever-evolving provocative tales of heroes, hard
cases, courting and complaining from the voices of many people
and centuries. We show how the songs are fascinating variations
of their original form and what made them change.
You can dance to this music
at the twice monthly contra dances at the Friday Harbor Grange.
It is in the Life
and Times of George Pickett show and Senior Center birthday
Be sure to check our web site and get on our mailing list so
you know when and where we will be appearing locally.
A sampling of the songs
and their descriptions (from
our concert at the Community Theater):
THE WILD ROVER: A lad leaves home but discovers that
folks only welcome him when he has money. Disillusioned, this
prodigal son returns to his parents
THE DIAMOND The crew of a whaling vessel salute
themselves and their ship. A year later, they and their companion
fleet (The Resolution, Elisa Swan, and Battle of Montrose) perished
when the Arctic sea froze them in for the winter.
STORMALONG JOHN and DEEP
BLUE SEA. Two of many
songs that share the same verses about a funeral that takes place
in vastly different settings. Join us in the chorus to help remember
these otherwise unsung folk.
HAND ME DOWN MY WALKING
CANE Jailed for unruly
drunkenness, a prisoner celebrates his forthcoming release by
singing a dance tune about prison hardships and his imminent
ride to freedom on the midnight train.
FLY AWAY A rejoicing of death, the flight to
heaven, the escape from this life's prison walls.
COTTON FIELDS How it might sound if they ever grow
cotton in Kentucky and sang about it in the bluegrass.
LA BASTRANGE: The French translates into a woman
saying, "You're wrong sir, I'm not too tired to continue
dancing." He responds "OK, truth to tell, I can't go
on because my corns hurt."
Also see our Menu
of Folk Song Antiques