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Bawdy Songs - Vol 1

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Album Review

Bawdy Songs Goes to College features folk singer Oscar Brand — the Blowfly of '50s folk music — and his banjo-picking cohort Dave Sear tackling 14 bawdy songs, all but one of which they collected at universities around the country. Brand's music was the politically incorrect underbelly of the folk boom, delivering humorous dirty rhymes in the tradition of the Libertine poets of yore. "Drinks All 'Round" is one of those songs like Benny Bell's "Shaving Cream" or "Bang Bang Lulu" that makes the listener expect profanities at the end of each line via a misleading rhyme scheme. "Study in Anatomy" is a clinical description of female genitalia, while "The Duchess and the Student" — with its refrain of "hanging down, swinging free" — addresses the male counterpart. Not many of George Carlin's "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" are used, but little is left to the imagination. As with folk songs in general, the melodies of many of these bawdy tunes were either lifted from or adapted into other songs. Country singer Dick Curless, for example, used the melody of "Seniors in Town Again" when writing his song "Chick Inspector (That's Where My Money Goes)." "Four Letter Words" is a newly composed song, suggesting that the album is more about reveling in naughty material than cataloging and preserving bawdy songs from the oral tradition. The back-cover liner notes are informative but also parody the scholarly notes found on typical folk albums of the time.


Born: 07 February 1920 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Oscar Brand was one of the stalwart American folksingers, writers, and interpreters. Over the course of his 70-some-year career he released over 90 albums. He roamed the country with Woody Guthrie, concertized with Lead Belly, promoted folk of all kinds like Pete Seeger, and hosted the Folksong Festival program on New York's WNYC for over 70 years. Many of his recordings contain parodies on single subjects such as holidays, car songs, or political satire. He was well known for his many collections...
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