Odd this day

3 min readMar 5


Praise be! It’s the 88th anniversary of Lucile Bogan recording surely the filthiest song in the history of everything: Shave ’Em Dry. In the ‘dirty blues’ genre, known for innuendo-heavy lyrics, this stands out for regarding the subtleties of innuendo as a disgraceful cop-out.

Old b/w photo of Lucile Bogan. Image shows a Black woman with a bandana in her hair and beads round her neck. She is smiling at the camera

The lyrics open with “I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb”, a line which swiftly proves to be about the cleanest bit. In his 2012 book, The Dozens: A History of Rap’s Mama, music historian Elijah Wald called it “by far the most explicit blues song” of its time.

Bogan, a contemporary of Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, was known for songs such as Sloppy Drunk Blues, about booze, gambling, sex, drugs, and prostitution but this was something else. Here’s the first verse:

I got nipples on my titties / Big as the end of my thumb / I got somethin between my legs / That’ll make a dead-man come
Gif of a man in a costume drama saying Good Lord, woman

It was not intended for release, but plenty of things that happen in recording studios aren’t. In 1953, for example, The Blenders recorded an alternative version of their song Don’t Play Around With Love which goes exactly where you’d imagine.

…and presumably when Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden started recording an argument between bassist Steve Harris and drummer Nicko McBrain, he didn’t expect it to become a B-side to an actual single.

Freddie Mercury’s improvisation during the One Vision sessions is another case in point:

But these are small fry by comparison, so it’s clearly time to stop buggering about and give you the link to the whole thing:

…and here are those lyrics:

I got nipples on my titties, big as the end of my thumb
I got somethin’ between my legs’ll make a dead man come
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 come
Oh, daddy shave me dry
And I’ll give you somethin’ 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 fuckin’ was the thing, that would take me to heaven
I’d be fuckin’ in the studio, till the clock strike eleven
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 goddam ass-hole stands open like a church door
And the crabs walks in like people
Ow, shit!
Baby, won’t you shave ’em dry

A big sow gets fat from eatin’ corn
And a pig gets fat from suckin’
Reason you see this whore, fat like I am
Great God, I got fat from fuckin’
Eeeeh! Shave ’em dry

My back is made of whalebone
And my cock is made of brass
And my fuckin’ is made for workin’ men’s two dollars
Great God, round to kiss my ass
Oh! Whoo, daddy, shave ’em dry

A small white dog looking startled




Purveyor of niche drivel; marker of odd anniversaries