There's also a 1920s Blues recording by 'Dentist' Johnson, with Hattie
McDaniel (yup, THAT Hattie McDaniel), called 'Dentist Chair Blues' which
features such classic and not-so-subtle lyrics as 'dentist, fill my
cavity' 'fill my cavity good, but don't make it hurt', etc. Michael
Rogin uses this song as one of his epigrams to his Blackface/White Noise
book (which is where I first read it, although a former colleague of
mine eventually found me a copy of a scratchy 78 recording!). Kind of
gives new sub-text to 'Mammy's' line about "it just ain't fittin'"

Dr. Mikel J. Koven
Dept of Theatre, Film and TV
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
(01970) 621605
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-----Original Message-----
From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Lang Thompson
Sent: 03 March 2004 03:29
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: All That Jazz (Bob Fosse)

>tomorrow's lecture focusses on representations of sex.  This morning I
>trying to work out precisely *when* metaphor/slang became dispensable
>lyrics about sex.  I'm not talking about the 'heavy breathing' stuff by

At least since sometime in the late 19th century (probably earlier if
things like the Carmina Burana--the original Goliards not necessarily
Orff--are any indication).  Jelly Roll Morton's "The Murder Ballad" and
others recorded in the late 30s for the Library of Congress are as
completely explicit as any rap today and much more than the Kate Bush
tracks (examples at  Much of this
composed decades earlier but that's hardly the only example (there are
others by the Drifters, Harmonica Frank Floyd, Alberta Hunter and more)
for obvious reasons these types of songs weren't documented very
well.  Even if you're talking about music for a mass audience instead of
the local roadhouse it's still not that clear.  Songs that today might
draped in metaphor could to contemporary audiences seem very blunt.


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