THE SALT OF THE EARTH

1920s-30s
Female blues singers

The first ever blues recordings (starting in 1920) were not of acoustic blues payers, but of female singers belting out pop/blues songs fronting jazz bands. The best of these early female blues singers was Bessie Smith, but others included Victoria Spivey and Lucille Bogan.
 
 

LUCILLE BOGAN  (1897-1948)

Though not really an influence on the Stones per se, Mississippi-born Lucille Bogan is worth mentioning because of her X-rated blues number called Shave 'Em Dry. (There was a tradition of recording bawdy blues songs in the 1920s and early '30s). It's impossible not to surmise that the infamous lyrical ending to the Stones' Start Me Up refers back to this song. Especially since Stanley Booth's biography on the Stones includes an episode where he and Keith listening to old blues songs in late 1969, including Bogan's classic. The lyrics in question go: I got nipples on my titties as big as the end of your thumb / I got something between my legs can make a dead man come...


Written by Ian McPherson, 2000.
Like all files on Time Is On Our Side, it is the exclusive intellectual property
of Ian McPherson and cannot be duplicated, in any form, without his authorization.

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