The Shakey Egg myth

The Shakey Egg myth

I have been to gazillions of sessions all over the place and have yet to see someone pull out a ‘shakey egg’ Am I lucky? Is this really as common as everyone makes it out to be on this board?

I’ve heard wonky concertina players, hell bent for leather fiddlers, ear splitting banjos, squaky pipes, out of tune flutes even 5 string banjos, djembes, cajons and even a stand up bass mandolin.

But never in all my days have I heard a tosser shake an egg.

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It’s not common but it does happen.

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Like ball lightning and spontaneous combustion? Wonder if anyone’s been to a session where either of those two things have happened.

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unfortunately it’s more common than both of those combined, at least in my experience. IMO it’s better than a bad bodhran player, it’s easier to ignore, but still miserable.

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I attended a session once where a person "played" a shaky egg, switched to a tin whistle and tooted a few notes, then switched to a pair of spoons. All in the course of a single tune.
I didn’t go back.

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You obviously don’t know enough tossers. You should get out more.
And there is no e in shaky.

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Not so long ago I visited a session where a guy had two shaky eggs on sticks tucked into his sock so he could (and did, unceasingly) tap a shaky foot while playing the bodhran. I was considering posting this in the ‘wierdest additions to sessions’ thread, but unfortunately I don’t think it’s that wierd. I’ve very rarely encountered them at a regular session, but festivals tend to bring a certain type of character who’s prone to whip out the dreaded egg. Could be worse - could be a tambourine.

@gam: isn’t like whisky/whiskey then? Here in Scotland it’s whisky makes things shaky.

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I just picked up this thread after I’d answered on the other one. So to repeat: they used to be relatively common, maybe up to about 7 or 8 years ago. At least I haven’t seen one in years. Maybe a stigma has now been attached to them from people commenting and reading anti-egg threads on here…thankfully if that’s the case. A laudable public duty successfully carried out by The Session.org and its members.

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I’ve seen maracas, tambourines, and a clutch of shaky eggs before (though not in a box…)

The best (or worst, if you were the owner of the egg) thing I ever saw was when a session "regular" got up, took the egg out of the eggolinist’s hands, and threw it with such force against the wall that it split open.

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I think it’s down to availability. It used to be that when you went into a record shop to buy Abba’s latest hit, there was always a box of shaky eggs on one side of the counter and a box of tin whistles (in every key except D & G) on the other. People don’t go into record shops any more.

However, amongst die-hard session wreckers the shaky egg seems to have been replaced by something that looks like a pair of dumbbells and does the same job, only louder.

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Tøm, I’ve been there. I once confiscated an egg while someone was singing an a cappella air, only to be told (very loudly) that the shaker concerned had ‘special needs’. Everyone in the room (except the musicians) then looked at me as though I was some sort of child molester.

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"isn’t like whisky/whiskey then?"
No — whiskey is a noun and is spelt/spelled either way depending on which country it comes from,
Shaky is an adjective formed from the verb ‘shake’, in which case the ‘e’ is always dropped and the ‘y’ substituted, as in flaky, diddly fiddly smily, et al. ‘Diddley’ started out as a joke, referring to the whisky/whiskey spelling, and the inference that because it is Irish, the e should be there. The trouble is that the more you see something in print, the more it lodges in the brain, like an etymological tumour. Viz. song/tune.

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Shouldn’t the Scottish version of egg be spelled Eigg?

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Never mind shaky eggs, two people mentioned here would definitely be on shaky ground.
"Confiscation" in the manner described here is tantamount to theft. Destruction of the item could land you in even more trouble.
Better to talk to the person (or owner/ landlord) than take it upon yourself to confiscate items.
That this being done, in one instance, to a person with special needs led to "dirty looks" from the audience isn’t surprising.

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I’m only a few years into this enterprise, but I’ve seen the shaky egg exactly once - not in my home state of Indiana, nor yet across the river in Kentucky, but at the Crane in Galway on a Saturday night, at a downstairs session prior to the famous one upstairs. It was wielded by a young female tourist from New Zealand. A banjo player looked up immediately and growled ‘who’s got the egg?’ and she kinda withered.

‘Etymological tumour’. That’s terrific, gam. Tumour’s are the worst.

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I’ve heard tales like this are often eggsaggerated and people often ovaryact to this sort of musical intrusion.

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Tøm’s story about the physical action taken against a shaky egg reminds me of when I was in a pub session in Clonakilty some years ago. The session, which was in fact a semi-open paid gig, was invaded by some thoroughly incompetent bodhran player brandishing one of those cheap ‘n ‘nasty "tourist" bodhrans. I was playing the fiddle next to the leader, a fine whistle player. Our man on the bodhran ignored all the usual polite requests to desist or to at least tone it down a bit, and then eventually the leader lost his cool. He leaned across me, kicked the bodhran out of its owner’s hands and requested him, not quite so politely this time, in words of one syllable, to depart from the pub. Which the fellow did. I’m not certain he retrieved his bodhran which had rolled across the floor to disappear in the melee at the bar.

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The Tumours of Ennistymology

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I must confess to owning several shaky eggs, but I NEVER bring them to play at a session. They sometimes ride along, but I don’t bring them out. Instead, this being Irish music, I play my shaky potato. Yes, I really own a shaky potato, but it only comes out for very, very special* occasions. Along with the shaky pear and the shaky banana.

http://www.amazon.com/Potato-Shaker-Remo/dp/B001MTUHAG

*The last special occasion the shaky produce came out for was a performance of 16th century Latin American music, along with some other unusual percussion — deer antlers, gourds, weird drums. It worked rather well. This isn’t us, but they were our inspiration:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qpShXT6tKUs

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This time of year they always say that Chris is going to put in an appearance at the session, but he never does. I can sense that Chris myth is coming again soon.

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Brad - I’m surprised you haven’t come across shaky eggs in sessions. They appear every so often here in the UK and also in Ireland, I’m sorry to say. Thankfully, most of the time people just tell the culprits to shut up, and the problem goes away.

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@Tracie. Love the guy playing the flints towards the end of that piece. Better than throwing them, which is an occasional pastime in my part of the world.

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I played a shaky egg in a session once, and the result was egg-zactly what I expected.

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Alright un oeuff with the silly puns.

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I threw a shakey-egg at someone once.

They got shell shock.

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this myth is getting very shakey….

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No one has given overly bold egg players a shellacking?

And gam, off in Pedant’s Corner there, I suspect Randy was just being silly about shaky/shakey. 🙂

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In the hands of a good percussionist, used perhaps on one tune in the whole session, sounds great. Pity that doesn’t happen very often.

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But then a good percussionist usually has an armoury of more appropriate instruments to use. Shaky eggs tent to land up in the hands of those whose commitment to the music doesn’t extend beyond paying £1.50 for a shaky egg, but who feel an overwhelming urge to join in with absolutely everything.

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I’ve been in a band where the guitar player had to conveniently "forget" to bring his wife’s shaky eggs to the gig, because while she was a terrific singer, she was always behind the beat on the few tunes where she hauled out the shaky egg. Like most eggists, she used her arm motion for timing, without allowing for that slight delay of the rice (or whatever is inside those things) to hit the inside of the plastic shell.

They don’t belong in a trad session anyway, but for me it’s that delay factor that’s more annoying than the actual sound of the thing. A good percussionist playing maracas knows how to shake just a tiny bit ahead of the beat, so the timing is spot-on. But casual players of shaky eggs almost never get it right.

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….eat it if ye can
the craic was ninety in the isle of man.

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A musician in my session will occasionally pull out a shaky egg, only on one or two tunes and not every session. I have been trying for ever to figure out WHY. Is it a tune he hates? Is it tongue in cheek? Are people really out of sync? Does he seriously think the tune needs a shaky egg? It is a mystery…

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We used to hand them out to the kiddies in the crowd to get ‘em interested in what was going on around them. None of the musicians on stage used the "eggs", although we would occasionally use a rhythm tube for some tunes.