Various Artists: Doity Records Vol. 1, and Flashbacks #3: Copulation Blues 1926-1940
Doity Records Vol. 1
Flashbacks #3: Copulation Blues 1926-1940
FINALLY, THE ANSWER to the musical question: What would Jiminy Cricket sound like singing smut? "She'll think of it long after it's gone/I'm gonna put it right where it belongs," croons Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards on "Give It to Mary with Love," the (ahem) climactic track on Doity Records Vol. 1. Those familiar only with Edwards's voiceover chirp for Disney may be daunted by the gusto with which he sings, "I'll let her take it in her hand/'Cause I know she'll stroke it so grand." Clearly, Pinocchio's nose wasn't the only thing growing.
In the Thirties and Forties, record dealers risked arrest by carrying the "party records" that Doity collects here; today, the only eyebrow-raising thing about them is how corny they are. A leering parlor song like Ben Light and His Surf Club Boys' "The Girl from Atlantic City" ("Every morning she'd come/This trim little lass/And give us the pleasure/Of seeing her...antics in the water") wouldn't receive a shrug from a nine-year-old Simpsons fan. But the quaintness can be charming--anonymous male-female duo Pure and Simple, for instance, go about their groan-inducing routines ("I'm looking for a plumber--is this Mr. I.P. Freely?") with good-natured aplomb. Still, their wink-nudge aesthetic is about as far removed from the erotic as Jokes from the John is from Lady Chatterley's Lover.
By contrast, the similarly bawdy songs on Copulation Blues 1926-1940 approach Topic A as lustily as Doity's do smirkingly. True, there's humor here, from Western swingers the Light Crust Doughboys looking for their "Pussy, Pussy, Pussy" to blues belter Alberta Hunter's miscegenation celebration "You Can't Tell the Difference After Dark." But the compilation's best songs aren't just about sex--they're sexy, like the Mississippi Mud Mashers' devilish, quick-stepping "Bring it on Home to Grandma," or the Washboard Rhythm Kings' slide-guitar and jews'-harp-greased "Street Walkin' Blues." And when Lucille Bogan declares, "I've fucked all night...and I feel just like I wanna fuck some more" on 1935's still-unbelievably filthy "Shave 'em Dry," she induces a different kind of groaning altogether.
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