Lucille Bogan's Shave 'Em Dry - The Song From 1935 that's So Filthy It Comes With A Parental Warning
Updated: May 23, 2022
Every generation thinks the one that preceded them was square, and there's this general idea that the pre-1960s world was totally sexless and uptight. There's this vision of an world where everybody wore ties and nobody made double entendres. But that couldn't be further from the truth, and our ancestors lived in a raunchy, filthy world. Granted, that raunch wasn't as on the surface as it is today, but that's part of what made it even better.
There's a grand tradition of absolutely hair-curlingly obscene popular music that stretches back to the founding of our various nations (and, to be fair, deep into human history), but that form may have been perfected in the 1920s and 30s, as blues singers got truly saucy in late night juke joints. Just imagine a packed crowd in a smoky club, drunk as hell and sweaty, hooting and hollering along with a sexy chanteuse spouting language that would make a sailor plug his ears. Those were the days. There's a whole subcategory known as 'Dirty Blues,' and in it are songs with amazing titles like Big Ten Inch Record, Baby Let Me Bang Your Box and Get 'Em From The Peanut Man (Hot Nuts).
Lucille Bogan has a spot in the history books as one of the first blues singers to be professionally recorded; she's also one of the great Dirty Blues singers of all time. During the 30s most of her songs revolved around drinking or sex, with titles like Sloppy Drunk Blues and B.D. Woman's Blues (B.D. stands for Bull Dyke). Perhaps her most famous Dirty Blues recording is also one of her last; she recorded two versions of Shave 'Em Dry in 1935 - one clean and one dirty.
The clean one is representative of what would be pressed to wax at the time; full of double entendres it was a more palatable version of what was actually being sung in the juke joints. But the dirty version - which is mind-blowingly obscene from start to finish - actually lets us hear what was being truly sung in the clubs. It's a rare peek into a secret world that is becoming lost to the mists of time.
Bogan stopped recording in 1935 and moved to Los Angeles. She managed her son's jazz band, Bogan's Birmingham Busters, for a while. She died in 1948 at age 51.
The full lyrics for Shave 'em dry -
I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb I got something between my legs'll make a dead man cum Oh, daddy, baby, won't you shave 'em dry? Now, draw it out! Want you to grind me, baby, grind me until I cry
Say I fucked all night, and all the night before, baby And I feel just like I wanna, fuck some more Oh, great God daddy, grind me, honey, and shave me dry And when you hear me holler, baby, want you to shave it dry
I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb Daddy, you say that's the kind of 'em you want, and you can make 'em cum Oh, daddy, shave me dry And I'll give you something, baby, swear it'll make you cry
I'm gon' turn back my mattress, and let you oil my springs I want you to grind me, daddy, 'til the bell do ring Oh, daddy, want you to shave 'em dry
Oh, great God daddy, if you can't shave 'em baby, won't you try?
Now if fucking was the thing that would take me to Heaven I'd be fucking in the studio 'til the clock strike 11 Oh daddy, daddy, shave 'em dry
I would fuck you, baby, honey, I'd make you cry
Now your nuts hang down like a damn bell sapper And your dick stands up like a steeple Your god-damn ass-hole stands open like a church door
And the crabs walks in like people, haw, shit! Shucks, ooh! Baby, won't you shave 'em dry?
A big sow gets fat from eating corn And a pig gets fat from sucking Reason you see this whore, fat like I am Great God, I got fat from fucking
Eh, shave 'em dry (with pleasure)
My back is made of whalebone And my cock is made of brass And my fucking is made for working men's two dollars Great God 'round to kiss my ass Whoa, woo, daddy, shave 'em dry