Some of y’all might find tonight’s musical interlude somewhat…uhh, arresting, shall we say. But there’s a backstory to it.
See, a lot of people since around the mid-70s or so have been inclined to decry the 50s in particular as a bland, staid, nearly sexless period in American history: uptight, repressed, restrained to the point of dysfunction. But it ain’t so, and it never has been, especially when it comes to music. You can dig as far back as you wish into American pop history and come up with little-known recordings that feature well-known artists singing dirty, scandalous, even downright pornographic lyrics—either reworking old standards or creating new ones of their own. I’ve come across whole albums devoted to these obscure ditties over the years—some of them more or less crap, a lot of them hilarious, inspired gems.
This one, raunchy as it admittedly is, would fit into the latter category. Featuring bona fide legends LaVern Baker and Jackie Wilson revisiting a song whose clean version had already been a modest hit for the duo, “Think Twice (Version X)” below is lighthearted, bouncy, funny as hell, and…uhhh, definitely NSFW. Jackie and Baker clearly had a ball with it; they break up laughing at each other throughout, and so do I. Jackie is one of my all-time favorite singers, as he was Elvis Presley’s. Early in the King’s career he saw Wilson perform in Vegas and was so blown away he asked to come backstage to meet Wilson, where he declared that he would never, EVER follow his act. They went on to become good friends.
In “TTVX,” you get a couple of flashes of Wilson’s incandescent genius, almost as if even for a goofy little throwaway number like this he couldn’t keep the star of his singing brilliance from going supernova for a sec. This, mind, while singing lyrics nobody in the world could possibly take seriously, for a recording he knew very few would ever hear.
Other outrageous rarities you perverts and ne’er do wells out there might want to search out are “Rotten Cocksuckers Ball,” by the Clovers; “Don’t Fuck Around With Love,” by the Blenders; “All Around Man,” by Bo Carter; and “Shave ‘Em Dry,” by Lucille Bogan. One artist, Clarence Henry Reid, did a whole slew of truly filthy albums under the pseudonym Blowfly. His “The Girl Wants To Fuck” is a laff riot, sure to coax a blush from even the coarsest of cheeks. My beloved Spotify, amazingly enough, has the above indecencies and more skulking in their inventory, just waiting to jump out and frighten the horses, corrupt the children, and shock the ladies into a dead faint.
The polite-company lyrics for “Think Twice can be perused here, if anybody wants to compare and contrast.