Dirty blues

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Dirty blues encompasses forms of blues music, that deal with socially taboo subjects, including sexual acts and/or references to drug use of some kind. Due to the sometimes graphic subject matter, such music was often banned from radio and only available on a jukebox. The style was most popular in the years before World War II and had a revival in the 1960s.[1]

Many songs used innuendo, slang terms, or double entendres, such as Lil Johnson's "Press My Button (Ring My Bell)" ("Come on baby, let's have some fun / Just put your hot dog in my bun"). However, some were very explicit. The most extreme examples were rarely recorded at all, Lucille Bogan's obscene song Shave 'em Dry (1935) being a rare example ("by far the most explict blues song preserved at a commercial pre-war recording session").[2]

The more noteworthy musicians, who utilised the style included Bo Carter, Bull Moose Jackson, Myra Johnson, The Lamplighters, Harlem Hamfats, Wynonie Harris, and Hank Ballard and The Midnighters.

Notable songs[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Allmusic.com
  2. ^ Elijah Wald, The Dozens: A History of Rap's Mama, Oxford University Press, 2012, P.60.
  3. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/risque-blues-vol-1-mw0000043311