" To succeed with the opposite sex, tell her you're impotent. She can't wait to disprove it.”- Cary Grant
The folk idiom is rife with tales of sexual bravado and errant potency.
The hokum blues is choc-a bloc with with entendres about grindin' daddy's et al, such that given the frailty of the recorded medium and the overdose of euphamisms, it's often confusing as to what's exactly going on.
You know it's really dirty, but only because of the liner notes
The Ballad Tradition of Great Britain has it's own take on priapism, cloaked in modesty- but smutty if you know where to listen. There is an emphasis on making cuckoldry somehow heroic, knights and highwaymen promise to return to thee after uh, "kneeling before ye...."
The chicks in these ballads being comely ( a euphamisim for having a great personality) and , above all,
way fucking naive, wait for the return of these clanking studs on horseback and wind up dying of a broken heart, or preemptively throwing themselves into the sea or over a cliff.
Not that there isn't some form of revenge in a few of them.
Lord Randall gets fed some spotted eels by his "True Love" for dipping his wick elsewhere.
Spotted eels don't sound good, because they are not good-as it turns out they are poisonous.
but then again who says "Mmmm... a dish of eels, sure hope they aren't spotted, the spotted ones are poisonous you know, munch munch oh , fuck me they are spotted and I fain' would lie doon........."
Don't even get me started on "Little Musgrave" a tiny dude who cuckolds the hell out the gentry and when they catch him says " Yeah, I'm tiny and whatnot, but dudes, I totally cuckholded you.... " The response to this is to quarter him post haste.
It is refreshing then, to find blues and folk songs about impotence. I know of only two, which I present to you below.
Bo Carter My Pencil Wont Write No More mp3
Armenter "Bo Carter" Chatmon performed with and managed "The Mississippi Sheiks" and had a solo career in "hokum" Blues that is ecellently represented on The Yazoo Collection Banana In Your Fruit Basket[buy] . The other songs are typically filthy, but this one is almost a lament. What other old blues mack daddy would pre-emtively tell the ladies he couldn't get it up? That would be no one.
How crazy is Bo Carter? Did you not hear what I just said?
He wrote a song about how impotent he has become and then sang it to some ladies.
It's jaunty and he just doesn't care , obviously. That's how nucking futz Bo Carter is.
Maddy Prior & June Tabor My Husbands Got No Courage In Him .mp3
Maddy Prior and June Tabor came together in 1976 to form " Silly Sisters" during a lull in Steeleye Span's touring schedual , and gameness on June's part .
This song, from the eponymous 1977 album, is a standout amongst several academic sounding olde ballads.
Asking the musical question "Who's a girl gotta do to get out of the Scottish Highlands?" then being more than willing to have a go with hubby, in fact insisting on it, the heroine of the song is thwarted by Lord Noodle Crotch.
Well, if that's the way it's going to be, might as well let the whole town know about it.
Hark the village, wait! Indeed.
I'm not sure if this is a rare example of women's empowerment in traditional balladry, or just randy kvetching.
Either way, it's fantastic.