Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: Dirty and risque records through the decades

Some may complain about the lyrical content of today’s music, but this is nothing new. Almost from the moment we had the technology to record audio, we’ve had dirty and risqué records.

Starting in the 1920s, there was hysteria over something called “hokum blues,” which were songs filled with humorous and suggestive lyrics. They had titles like “I Want a Hot Dog for My Roll,” which was so raunchy that the label refused to release it.

Another song that caused people to faint with indignation was “It’s Tight Like That,” a track from 1928 by Thomas A. Dorsey and Tampa Red. It set off the “hokum blues craze,” which lasted well into the 1950s. Other songs in the genre include “Lollipop Mama,” “60 Minute Man,” and “Long John Blues.”

And get this: Dorsey is also considered to be the father of American gospel music.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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