Lucille Bogan

Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1930-1933)

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The second volume of Lucille Bogan's complete recorded works as reissued during the 1990s by Document is packed with 22 recordings made in Chicago between March 1930 and July 1933, with piano accompaniment by Charles Avery and Walter Roland. These records were cut during the toughest years of the Great Depression, and Bogan sang very candidly about what she and thousands of other women did in order to survive. The life of a prostitute struggling to get by is boldly sketched in songs like "Tricks Ain't Walking No More" and "Struttin' My Stuff." On the "Sloppy Drunk Blues," a song also recorded by Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr, Bogan bluntly states that she loves her moonshine whiskey better than she loves her man. The words to her "House Top Blues" describe the ravages of both alcoholism and domestic violence; "Mean Twister" bemoans the death and devastation left in the wake of a cyclone. "Alley Boogie" and the "New Muscle Shoals Blues," on the other hand, are more like earthy honest celebrations of free love, unashamed and unfettered by socially imposed morality. Some of these recordings sound exactly like a 78 rpm platter spinning on a wind-up phonograph, the steel needle riding the groove through to the end of the song. Other editions of reissued recordings by this artist employed noise reduction technology; Document's approach in 1994 was to present the music as it sounds in its original format.

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