WHM: Lucille Bogan

LeaGil leagil@aol.com
Sat Mar 3 08:00:31 EST 2001

This is the first of occasional profiles on blues women that I will post this
month of March - Women's History Month.  Peace and Blessings to all!  Lea

LUCILLE BOGAN  (1897-1948)

Lucille Bogan was one of the celebrated female singers of the "Classic Blues"
period of the 1920s.  She was known for her powerful voice, bawdy lyrics and a
tough as nails attitude.  She could hold her own in any bar room brawl, but
shined when she hit the stage.

She was born Lucille Anderson in Amory, Mississippi and later moved to
Birmingham, Alabama as a young child.   Although it is not known exactly when,
Lucille married Nathaniel Bogan and in 1923 made her recording debut.  Bogan
sang about the darker side of society. " The subject matter for many of her
songs - poverty, prostitution, and the search for sexual satisfaction, from
both men and women - tends to suggest a harsh life prior to this date: her
'Tricks Ain't Walkin' No More,' ...later became something of a blues anthem to
the world's oldest profession, while the songs of alcohol consumption ("Cravin'
Whiskey Blues," Drinkin' Blues") and sexual gymnastics (the notorious "Shave
'Em Dry, "Bed Rollin' Blues"...) give the listener a picture of someone who
lived life hard and enjoyed her own sensual nature." ( Shadwick, 1998, Pg.33).

A contemporary of Tampa Red, whom she performed with occasionally, Bogan was a
popular Paramount and Okeh recording artist.  Like many of the singers of that
period, she also performed under a pseudonym: Bessie Jackson.

In the late 1930's, Lucille retired in Birmingham, Alabama. Bogan later moving
to Los Angeles, CA where she passed away in 1948.

Reference: Shadwick, Keith, BLUES, KEEPING THE FAITH, Quintet Publishing
Limited, 1998

Thanks for reading!
Lea Gilmore
"It's A Girl Thang - Women and the Blues!"

"Regret for things done can be tempered in time.  It is the regret for things
we don't do that last and last..."    Author Unknown.
LeaGil (at) aol.com

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