Rhythm & Blue! Blues

It is an old question: what was the first rock and roll song? Ike Turner’s “Rocket 88” ? Sure, why not. Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” because of its commercial success? OK.

Whatever the answer, rock and roll evolved from many things: the blues, boogie woogie, jazz, swing,  rhythm and blues, et cetera…et cetera…et cetera…


You get the idea  (remember the Little Rascal episode when Stymie kept peeling away artichoke petals looking for the artichoke?).


Whatever the answer, rock and roll and its ancestors often had strong sexual overtones. The phrase, originally nautical, was lyrically a euphemism for sex under the guise of dancing.

Let’s explore some of “those” songs that some listeners and record companies found at least risqué or very obscene. Even by this century’s relaxed attitudes, many of these songs would not be allowed on some of today’s playlists.




Tirxie Smith, “My Daddy Rocks Me”  (1922) 


“My man rocks me with one steady roll.”



Bo Carter, “Please Warm My Weiner” (1930)


Said some says it takes hot water, baby, can’t you see, but your heat, baby’s, plenty warm enough for me Baby


Lil Johnson, “Press My Button (Ring My Bell)” (1935)


My man’s out there in the rain and cold
He’s got the right key, but just can’t find the hole
He says, “Where’s that thing?
That thing-a-ling?
I been pressin’ your button, and your bell won’t ring! “



Robert Johnson, “Hot Tamales (They’re Red Hot)” (1937)


Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale
I got a girl, say she long and tall
She sleeps in the kitchen with her feets in the hall
Hot tamales and they’re red hot, yes she got’em for sale, I mean
Yes, she got’em for sale, yeah Hot tamales and they’re red hot,
yes she got’em for sale


Blue Lu Barker, “Don’t You Feel My Leg” (1938)


Don’t you feel my leg, don’t you feel my leg
‘Cos if you feel my leg, you’ll wanna feel my thigh
If you feel my thigh, you’ll want to move up high
You’re gonna get a surprise


Bullmoose Jackson, “I Want a Bow-legged Woman” (1947)


I found a bowlegged woman last night (yeah!)
And man, she was really all right
She had a solid straddle
When she came into battle
I dropped dead in the saddle
You couldn’t hear a rattle
And there was nobody there to run and tattle




Julia Lee, “King Size Papa” (1948)


I got a man that’s more than eight foot tall. Four foot shoulders and that ain’t all.
King size papa, He’s my king size papa. I take the door off the hinges when my baby comes to call.




Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra, “Silent George” (1950)


George. I’m giving you just 24 hours to get out of here.




The Swallows, “It Ain’t the Meat (It’s the Motion)” (1951)


It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion
Makes your daddy wanna rock
It ain’t the meat, it’s the motion
It’s the movement that gives it the sock




Dinah Washington, “Big Long Slidin’ Thing” (1954)


I’ve been in every bar, Been in every honky-tonk,

Been tryin’ to find my daddy With that broke down piece o’ junk!

Ask everyone to help me,

Cried, “Help me if you can; you’ll know my daddy,

He’s that trombone playin’ man! Where is my daddy?

Tell me where is my daddy With that big long slidin’ thing?”.



The Toppers, “Baby Let Me Bang Your Box” (1954)


Well my baby had a party the other night
The party was gettin’ dead
I spied a piano in the corner
Looked at my baby and said

Baby let me bang your box, baby let me bang your box
Baby let me play your eighty-eight
I’m gonna bang ’til the whole house rocks


What's so funny about peace, love, and activism?