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This guy wanted to marry me. He said "It's me or the horn." I said, "Well, it ain't you, babe" - Martye Awkerman, trumpet, quoted in Swing Shift, "All-Girl" Bands of the 1940s by Sherrie Tucker

Author Topic: Sexual innuendo in blues songs  (Read 5168 times)

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Offline Hamhound

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #45 on: June 23, 2015, 02:39:09 AM »
 
Oral sex:

Candy Man: just the title, really, but 'Candy man's stick 9 inches long, you oughta see the way the hogs chew that corn.'

Salty Dog: There's only one way to know if something is salty.

For that matter, any reference to the taste of something, "sweet jelly roll" etc., has an oral implication to it.

i confess I don't really see it in any of these. 

A hog chewing corn, here is a metaphor for 'fast' .  Hogs would be fed corn kernels or chopped corn, not cobs - so even the phallic possibility I don't think is really there.Of course it's a salacious song - but I think the ladies are most interested in the pleasure the Candyman has to offer them, rather than thinking about pleasuring him via his generously proportioned stick.

None the less, as I mentioned, merely referring to taste along with other images of candy ("don't melt away") certainly leads one to ideas of oral sex

I would demur. Referring to taste and to candy in a 'saucy' song offers ample opportunity to make some direct entendres about who puts what where and how.  MJH has none of the ladies of his song put any candy in their mouths.
To me, it's kind of interesting that he *doesn't* go there - when it would be so easy to do so.
"Don't melt away" is certainly a reference to maintaining an erection though..

If we say that food and the taste of something is suggestive of oral sex, don't you think we maybe paint with too broad a brush ?
Couldn't we then also go and say something like , songs with motion in them are suggestive of intercourse - because motion is involved there too ?

 
Salty Dog: There's only one way to know if something is salty.
I think you're way out on a limb with that one.    :)
I know probably only about a half-dozen versions/variants of Salty Dog - I'm sure there's many more been recorded than that.
But in all the lyrics of the versions I know, I've never caught even a whiff of ah.. oral suggestion.

Another song which conflates drugs and oral sex might be Hattie McDaniel and Papa Charlie Jackson's Dentist Chair Blues ? Parts 1 & 2.

Nice one ! Thanks for bringing that song up because this is very interesting.
Papa Charlie is the 'rough old dentist' in duet with swooning patient Hattie McDaniel.
The subject of the song makes for some wide-open opportunities to do some risqu? allusions to "putting that big drill in my mouth" - or similar. 
The fascinating thing is that - although the tone is totally sexual, and dentistry is by definition a fully oral area of activity - there are no such lyrics.
Of course, Papa Charlie mentions his long sharp drill, and there's a pun on the word 'cavity'. The patient moans and weeps and sings "doctor, you?re grinding my root to sleep".  At the conclusion, she pays the doctor $5 and concludes "You really done me so good" .

It seems pretty clear that - like in Candyman - female pleasure from the well-equipped male is what's being sung about.
Despite an overtly oral environment, no one is pleasuring anyone else orally.  It can't be that this was a topic too risky to suggest in songs - you hear Kokomo Arnold cry "I woke up this morning with my pork-grinding business in my hand", or listen to half an hour of Bo Carter or Memphis Minnie and realise that it was quite possible to be sail very close to the wind - repeatedly - regards explicitness.

Which I find kind of interesting because it's changing my ideas that every kind of raunch we know today, was already highly signified first and widespread in blues music before WW2.




Offline One-Eyed Ross

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #46 on: June 23, 2015, 06:36:52 AM »

Which I find kind of interesting because it's changing my ideas that every kind of raunch we know today, was already highly signified first and widespread in blues music before WW2.

Ecclesiastes 1:9
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.
SSG, USA, Ret

She looked like a horse eating an apple through a wire fence.

Offline Hamhound

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #47 on: June 24, 2015, 07:22:00 AM »
Ecclesiastes 1:9
9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ha!  I didn't mean they weren't doing it - just not singing about it.

If I've hijacked the thread, sorry - I'll explain.

I was talking about music with someone I know . He's got a bit of time for hiphop and rap
But he's not comfortable or convinced with a lot of the self-aggrandizing lyrical content - about how much damn bling is on me and what a fine stable o' bitches I got etc. etc.

My response to him was that I could think of blues songs with content along similar lines, recorded 85 years ago.
So I'm playing him "Got more money than Rockefeller ever seen" "Well I got 19 women and I want one more" and a bunch of raunchy double-entendre lyrics  We have a brief, no doubt ill-informed, conversation about ideas of cultural continuity..

But he goes on to lament the kind of common lyric content in some branches of rap - what he called the 'c'merebitchandsuckmyd--- syndrome'. 
"Is this too to be found in the early blues?" he asks.
"Why surely yes" I reply, racking my brain for the dozens of examples of references to oral pleasures that must be out there.   Only I end up with almost nothing.Those few tunes that might "suggest' in this area, are very indirect, and have none of the explicitness of hundreds of blues dealing with 'regular intercourse'.
Apart from Bo Carter's Cigarette Blues, suggested earlier by alyoung, there seems to be no other song so far with a direct and reasonably unambiguous reference to oral sex.  (Notwithstanding my responses to waxwing's interesting thoughts)

I was really surprised - shocked even!

Hence asking the question - there are plenty of people here that know a hell of a lot more blues tunes than I've ever heard.  So I do hope the question is not offensive or uninteresting.




Offline One-Eyed Ross

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #48 on: June 24, 2015, 07:28:36 AM »
I had a similar discussion with an athletic director before a soccer match one time.  We were waiting for the "approved" music set for warm ups, and discussing the need for an "approved" list of songs with lyrics pre-screened.   I mentioned I had a bunch of old blues songs on my phone I could play, but that they would probably not pass muster - although the language was clean, the double and single entendre would make the audience blush...and get me fired.

SSG, USA, Ret

She looked like a horse eating an apple through a wire fence.

Offline harry

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #49 on: June 24, 2015, 10:56:29 AM »
So I do hope the question is not offensive or uninteresting.

Don't worry Hamhound.

I saw an earlier post of you regarding an unissued obscene Robert Johnson side (too crude ever to have been released). In possesion of (or knowing the whereabouts?) Mack McCormick. Is this a "bawdy" blues song? I mean more dirtier than let's say Terraplane? What do you know about this song?




Offline Rivers

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #50 on: June 24, 2015, 05:21:49 PM »
Quote
I tried to do a bit of linguistic digging on this too.
Spoke with a friend who's French - who rejects any connection in the French language of crochet = prostitution. He came up with many many *other* words for hooker - both modern and archaic - but none with relevance here.

'Hooker' is - without any doubt - an American construction, apparently dating to the mid 19th century.

Thanks for the additional data there Hamhound, fascinating. So the link to the etymology site explains that 'to hook' is associated with a district of notoriety. That does tend to weaken the 'to crochet' connection, I agree.

Quote
Listening to the songs again, I think the "Who may your manager be?" verse has - as is common with Lemon - nothing to do with the girl across town crocheting verse.  In other words, we're looking for a narrative connection where perhaps there is none.
Lemon's verses frequently bounce around all over the place in terms of what he sings about.

So I reckon the girl with the manager *is* a hooker, but the crocheting girl is being admonished to stop that solitary pleasure she's so keen on
"Stop it or you'll go blind" instead of "Lose your mind" might have made it more explicit, but I believe the meaning is the same - she is pleasuring herself.

I don't know that use of 'crochet' is really what you might call part of "the double entendre lexicon" - as far as I know only Lemon ever used it, and only in these 2 songs.  But there may be more that I don't know about ..

Here's what the google search bots have indexed for 'crochet' over time on weenie. It's pretty interesting stuff if you have the time to trawl through it. https://www.google.com/search?q=crochet&sitesearch=weeniecampbell.com&gws_rd=ssl
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 05:22:54 PM by Rivers »

Offline Hamhound

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Re: Sexual innuendo in blues songs
« Reply #51 on: June 27, 2015, 07:31:42 PM »
I saw an earlier post of you regarding an unissued obscene Robert Johnson side (too crude ever to have been released).

Really?!?  Seems like I only turn up for the dirty stuff then - oh dear.. 

In possesion of (or knowing the whereabouts?) Mack McCormick. Is this a "bawdy" blues song? I mean more dirtier than let's say Terraplane? What do you know about this song?

There are people on here who could tell you more about 'the legend of this test pressing' that I could harry. It's purported existence is all based on McCormick's say so. And McCormick has been called self-aggrandizing, confused, sensationalist, deluded, and other things besides. These days, he himself is open about having a bi-polar disorder.
Against all of that, there is also the fact that he was -sixty years ago - doing important pioneering cultural and musical field research, and continued to do so for many years. Check out these links if you haven't already for incredibly important gems from McCormick's archive recently coming to light [fascinating reading!]  - The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie    -  Weenie discussion of same

I had a similar discussion with an athletic director before a soccer match one time.  We were waiting for the "approved" music set for warm ups, and discussing the need for an "approved" list of songs with lyrics pre-screened.   I mentioned I had a bunch of old blues songs on my phone I could play, but that they would probably not pass muster - although the language was clean, the double and single entendre would make the audience blush...and get me fired.
:)   :)

Here's what the google search bots have indexed for 'crochet' over time on weenie. It's pretty interesting stuff if you have the time to trawl through it
Thanks Rivers.  So you've been through all this before on crochet-ing !  Hang on, I didn't bring up crocheting this time, you did.  :D  Seriously, thanks for links, went though them.

One of my sisters told me after hearing the verse about "crocheting" that it referred to masturbation.  It would explain Lemon's concern that it would result in his girl losing her mind, especially if she was doing it all the time, according to conventional wisdom/fear at the time the song was recorded.
All best,
Johnm

I agree with oddenda, waxwing, and Johnm's sister on crocheting.

Don't want to drag up old threads , but most intriguing of the batch was Uncle Bud's comment, more than a decade ago
I always wondered why these women were crocheting in CB songs, until Paul Geremia explained it. One of those 'duh' moments.
If I were relaxing with a glass of rye with Uncle Bud, I guess I'd ask him

What did Paul Geremia explain? --        That crochet means prostitution ?
Why was it a 'duh' moment?     --         Becasue it was obvious or some other reason ?
Where did Geremia get it from ?  --       He's not black, so a cultural/family handing down of the term seems unlikely - perhaps a black musician?
"..always wondered why these women were crocheting in CB songs"  ---   Which country blues songs ? Just Matchbox and Easy Rider Blues, or are there others?


Edit: Mentioning Paul Geremia - very best to him in current ill health.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2015, 07:33:29 PM by Hamhound »

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