Born in 1897, Lucille Bogan first began recording in 1923, singing vaudeville songs. By the 1930s she had established herself as a blues singer and her oeuvre was slanted decidedly toward the raunchy. In songs like “Sloppy Drunk Blues”, “Tricks Ain’t Walkin’ No More”, and “B.D. Woman’s Blues” (the B.D. stands for bull dyke) she focused on themes like gambling, drinking, lesbianism, and prostitution; themes that featured prominently in the juke joints she had worked in early in her career.
One of her last recordings, “Shave ‘Em Dry” in March 1935, had two versions, one that kept to the tamer innuendo of most blues songs and an unexpurgated version, featured above, which does away with subtlety altogether. An interesting little piece of historical titillation, if only for a retort to the “music today is morally bankrupt” argument often favored by the familial old-guard.