Laundromat Blues

“Well, I woke up this morning, ain’t got me no clean socks/Said, I woke up this morning, and I ain’t got me no clean socks” Sorry, those aren’t the actual lyrics. It’s just that blues songs are so easy and fun to parody. You can jampack almost anything into the format. In reality, the content of this song is very different from what you’d imagine. Very, very different. The “5” Royales are best known for R’N’B hits like Think and Dedicated to the One I Love but they also mastered the fine art of the dirty blues. Dirty blues, in the days of heavy censorship, was any music – ┬ábe it blues, soul, R’n’B, swing, etc – that used creative metaphors to barely disguise their true, filthy meaning. Bull Moose Jackson’s Big Ten-Inch Record, Jesse Powell’s Walkin’ Blues, and Cousin Joe’s Wedding Day Blues are all fine examples of the bait-and-switch method, in which the singer sounds like he’s about to say something dirty and then substitutes something funny and innocuous instead. Others, like Wynonie Harris’s Keep On Churnin’ or Julia Lee’s Don’t Come Too Soon, barely pretend to be anything but blatantly sexual. In their effort to talk dirty without getting in trouble with the decency police, singers often got wildly imaginative with their metaphors. This one has to be one of the very best in terms of creativity. Whilst the true meaning is veiled very thinly, the veil itself is highly unusual. Not everyone would immediately think to associate a washing machine with sexual innuendo, but now that you know that this guy’s woman has the best one in town, how could you not? Lots of bonus points to the “5” Royales for not going with the usual tired food metaphors when it comes to rhapsodizing the glories of their girl’s vagina.