Calling Bluesologists and/or Language Historians: Want interpretations of the meaning of a song, or more specifically, a specific phrase used in that song.
The song is Shake 'Em On Down
by Bukka White as re-imagined by Led Zeppelin as Hats Off To (Roy) Harper
by Led Zeppelin. The lyrics are here
I'm trying to understand the phrase "Shake 'em on Down" in the context of a 1937 Delta blues singer, owing to the original song.
I understand "shakedown" as the slang term for extortion, but I don't know whether or not that term was used in that way in that place in time? The song doesn't particularly seem to be about extortion anyway.
So if not, what did it mean? It doesn't seem like it's sexual, although I guess it could refer to masturbation. Much of the song is about his grievances with his woman, but on the other hand, at one point he invites her to join him in the shaking too:
Listen, Mama/Put on your mornin' gown
Put on your nightshirt, Mama/We gonna shake 'em on down
All of this is a verbose way to ask what "Shake 'em on down" meant back then, and there. But if you have any other non-obvious interpretations of the song as a whole I'd be interested in hearing that, too.