I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate, often simply Sister Kate, is an up-tempo jazz dance song, written by Armand J. Piron and published in 1922. Early recordings listed at Discogs include 1922 sides by Mary Straine And Joseph Smith's Jazz Band on Black Swan Records; The Virginians on Victor; and The Original Memphis Five, as an instrumental, on Pathé Actuelle. Vocalist Anna Jones recorded it accompanied by Fats Waller on piano in 1923. Arrangements ranged from big band jazz to the Alabama Jug Band in the 1930s, a precursor to jug band revival versions during the 1960s' by Dave Van Ronk and Jim Kweskin (see below). The lyrics of the song are narrated first person by Kate's sister, who sings about Kate's impressive dancing skill and her wish to be able to emulate it. She laments that she's not quite "up to date", but believes that dancing the Shimmy like "Sister Kate" will rectify this, and she will be able to impress "all the boys in the neighborhood" like her sister.
I went to a dance with my sister Kate; Everybody there thought she danced so great; I realized a thing or two, When I got wise to something new:
When I looked at Kate, she was in a trance, And then I knew it was in her dance; All the boys are going wild Over sister Katie's style.
Oh, I wish I could I shimmy like my sister Kate; She shimmies like a jelly on a plate. My mama wanted to know last night, What makes the boys think Kate's so nice.
Now all the boys in the neighborhood, They know that she can shimmy and it's understood; I know that I'm late, but I'll be up-to-date When I shimmy like my sister Kate. I mean, when I shimmy like my sister Kate.
Now I can shimmy like my sister Kate, I know that I'm real late, I think I'll do a real shimmy dance, Dancing like my sister Kate, Sweet papa, just like my sister Kate.