For those who believe that "wardrobe malfunction"s and sex-crazed hip-hop heroes are inarguable proof of the coarsening of our culture and an omen of the decline of western civilization, this compilation will set you straight. Lascivious music is not a modern invention, but long part and parcel of the American scene, with Eat to the Beat: The Dirtiest of the Dirty Blues pulling together "The Dirtiest of Their Dirty Blues," as the subtitle baldly states. That's no idle boast, these 28 songs are enough to give a censor conniptions and send the modest into a swoon of shock. Sure, some of the songs are loosely veiled in metaphor, but there's no mistaking the meaning of "Rotten Cocksuckers' Ball," "Somebody Else Was Suckin' My Dick Last Night," or "Mother Fuyer."
Jaw dropping indeed, but in case you still don't believe what you're hearing, the enclosed booklet boldly reproduces every song's lyrics. Amazingly, the bulk of them were cut in the post-war period for jukebox play, where the raunchiest of the bunch proved the biggest money-spinners. The rise of formatted radio put paid to the jukebox's power, and led inevitably to the swift demise of this popular, if now risqu‚ art form.
The sumptuous packaging belies the grit within, with the CD enclosed in a cardboard digipack that resembles an old vinyl sleeve, and a 90-page booklet providing bios of every artist within, info on each song, and, of course, the lyrics. As for the music itself, blues is only one of the featured styles, big-band jazz, boogies, R&B, doo wop, and bebop all raise their salacious heads to boot. Performing the provocative numbers are a host of international names -- Jackie Wilson, Dinah Washington, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the Clovers and the Dominoes among them, as well as stars instantly recognizable to any blues/R&B fans. Deft remastering restores the numbers to as pristine-as-possible quality, a must for collectors. And while collectors are obviously the main market for this compilation, so much great music and fun are to be found within that one suspects modern bands will soon be offering up covers, samples, and snippets of many of these songs in the near future. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
Dirty Linen (p.65) - "Songs like 'Hard Driving Blues' and 'Move Your Hand, Baby' were hits on big-city juke boxes..."