Shoein’ the Mare (rumba), with lyric


1934 You're A Builder Upper, Life Begins At 8.40Harold Arlen sings

From the Broadway musical Life Begins At 8:40 — Winter Garden Theatre (8/27/1934 – 3/16/1935)

Shoein’ the Mare (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ira Gershwin and E.Y. Harburg)

Leo Reisman and his Orchestra, vocal: Harold Arlen; recorded on 27 July 1934; issued on Brunswick 6942, c/w “Fun To Be Fooled”

Ogg Vorbis audio file (1.5 MB), from the page Leo Reisman Brunswick Recordings Collection, 1933-1935:


Rumba dancers perform Shoeing the Mare, LIFE Magazine, 4 April 1938, p.67 (1,2)-c1

Rumba dancers perform Shoeing the Mare, LIFE Magazine, 4 April 1938, p.67 (3)-c1-hx15

(above) Rumba dancers in Havana perform the Cuban folk dance “Shoeing the Mare,” from an article in the LIFE Magazine 4 April 1938 issue, pp. 66-69


“Shoein’ the Mare” (m. Harold Arlen, w. Ira Gershwin, E. Y. Harburg)
lyric transcribed by doc, 29 December 2013

This is a dance from Las Fritas*
Las Fritas is in Havana
On account of which this music is Cuban
It isn’t like “Carioca”
Nor is it like “Peanut Vendor”
They call it “Shoein’ the Mare”
You may like it
You may hate it
Anyway, here’s how we translate it

Shoein’ the mare
The mare needs shoein’
Or else it’s ruin
She’ll keep you all atwitter
If you never get to shoe the critter
That Cuban critter

Shoein’ the mare
Don’t be too tender
Forget her gender
Don’t let her kick the ground up
Or you’re headin’ for a Cuban roundup
That Cuban roundup

Woman is like a mare
She’ll boss you, she’ll toss you
Double-cross you
You’ll never know where on earth you stand
Unless you get the upper hand

Shoein’ the mare
When wild muchacha
Begins to hotcha
You’re on the road to ruin
Brother, if you never get to shoein’
Shoein’ the mare


* Las Fritas — This seems to refer to a street in Havana. The “s” is silent in both “Las” and “Fritas.”

For more Harold Arlen recordings, see:

Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen-1a


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