double entendre

hoochie-coochie 2

This song is really provocative, given its age. I first heard it in college; one of Holly’s art teachers had it on vinyl.

220px-Bessiesmith3Recorded by Bessie Smith, who was nicknamed “The Empress of the Blues,” Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s.

It employs the double entendre: the first meaning is rather prosaic while the second meaning is risqué. It is clear that on one level she is referring to a sugar bowl, but the second or hidden meaning refers to… well, I’ll leave that to you to figure out. This is not a sex education class.

Bessie Smith died in 1937 as a result of a car accident. She was only 43 years old.

Despite its off-color nature, I think it is an important song that any serious student of music history should know.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Bessie Smith performing “I Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl”


1 Response to “double entendre”

  1. 1 Frank Manning
    August 24, 2014 at 2:55 am

    I also first heard Bessie Smith while in college. One of my friends was into her and the other great black lady blues singers of that era, and he blew us away with some old 78s! “I need a little sugar in my bowl” was one of those songs. I had recently been at Woodstock and was destined in a couple of years to become a first-generation punk rocker. That evening broadened my musical horizons even further, and I’ve been an avid blues fan ever since.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: