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Bottle It Up and Go Part 2

In 1939, Tommy McClennan recorded "Bottle It Up and Go" during his first recording session for Bluebird Records. His song includes "a catchy guitar lick, a stomping danceable groove and a neat structure which divided the twelve-bar [blues] stanza into verse and chorus: socking home a different coupler each time". It is a solo piece with McClennan on vocal and guitar and borrows lyrics from earlier songs. McClennan used verses similar to those found in "Hesitation Blues": "Now nickel is a nickel, a dime is a dime..." and "The Duck's Yas-Yas-Yas": "Now my mama killed a chicken, she thought it was a duck, she put 'im on the table with 'is legs sticking up". He also used verses similar to those in Julius Daniels' 1927 song "Can't Put the Bridle On That Mule This Morning" (Victor 21359-A): "Now the nigger and the white man playin' seven-up, nigger beat the white man [but he's] scared to pick it [the winnings] up". These verses have been traced back to 19th-century work songs, which were noted in an 1870s newspaper article.

McClennan, who had recently arrived in Chicago from the Delta, was cautioned by Big Bill Broonzy about using racially loaded lyrics in northern cities. According to Broonzy, McClennan stubbornly refused to compromise, resulting in a hasty exit out a window during one performance with McClennan's smashed guitar around his neck. "McClennan, for his part, reflected pensively that they had indeed been forced to 'bottle it up and go'". When McClennan re-recorded the song as "Shake It Up and Go" in 1942, he used different lyrics.

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