Mary Dixon

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The saga of the "Dusty Stevedore" was one of her most famous songs, but rest assured, blues singer Mary Dixon was not in the business of singing about historic forms of employment. Like so many other…
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The saga of the "Dusty Stevedore" was one of her most famous songs, but rest assured, blues singer Mary Dixon was not in the business of singing about historic forms of employment. Like so many other female classic blues artists of the '20s, her stock in trade was down-and-dirty blues about sex, the lyrics about as explicit as anything released on record prior to the rap era. Whether this was her artistic vision or not will never really be known, since this limited subject matter prevented later generations of blues researchers from finding the types of clues to long-forgotten artists' hometowns, for example, that were often found in the songs of country blues artists who were allowed to sing about other subjects besides sex. Dixon worked with accompaniment from a smallish group, sometimes just the piano tinkling of boogie-woogie maestro James P. Johnson and the horn obbligati of Ed Allen. The healthy market for naughty blues compilations combined with the lack of copyright on much of her material has led to a healthy selection of her material on various collections released in several different countries, although she is often limited to one track. The most ample supply of her recordings in one place can be found on the Document Recordings Blue Girls series, in which she is featured on the second volume. Some of her other songs include "Daddy You've Got Everything" and "You Can't Sleep in My Bed," unnecessary instructions at best since from the thrust of her lyrics, very little sleeping seems to go on in her bed.