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The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:14 am

LOL. I'm speechless. Anyone here heard of this ?

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Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:54 am

Errr,....soooooo.....yeah. I might have some info on this somewhere, or at least clues to the origins of it, but its 4am and i need to sleep, so maybe tomorrow!

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:19 am

Wonder if this got any radio play :shock:

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:11 am

promiseland wrote:Wonder if this got any radio play :shock:



Dunno mate. Perhaps in 1954 cocksuker had a different meaning to what it is today Hahahahaha...

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:16 am

Robt wrote:
promiseland wrote:Wonder if this got any radio play :shock:



Dunno mate. Perhaps in 1954 cocksuker had a different meaning to what it is today Hahahahaha...

I don't know about that Robt, those lyrics are pretty explicit. :lol:

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:38 pm

I have a whole Bear Family compilation called "Eat To The Beat - The Dirtiest Of Them Dirty Blues" and it's on there too.

Eat To The Beat.jpg

Here's the complete tracklisting (Year of recording or release in brackets [if known]:

1) Annisteen Allen & Her Home Town Boys: I Wanta Man (Who's Gonna Do Right) (1946)
2) Dirty Red: Mother Fuyer (1947)
3) Dinah Washington: Long John Blues (1948)
4) Tom Archia & His All Stars: Fishin' Pole (1947)
5) Cousin Joe with Pete Brown's Brooklyn Blue Blowers: Weddin' Day Blues (1946)
6) Amos Milburn: Hard Driving Blues (1947)
7) Crown Prince Waterford: Move Your Hand, Baby (1947)
8) Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends: Don't Come Too Soon (1949)
9) Wynonie Harris: I Like My Baby's Pudding (1949)
10) Dominoes: Sixty Minute Man (1951)
11) Moose Jackson with Tiny Bradshaw's Orchestra: Big Ten-inch Record (1952)
12) The Clovers: Rotten Cocksucker's Ball (ca. 1958)
13) Dave Bartholomew: My Ding-A-Ling (1953)
14) The Treniers: Poon-Tang! (1952)
15) Jesse Powell & His Orchestra; Fluffy Hunter: vocal: The Walkin' Blues (Walk Right In, Walk Right Out) (1951)
16) The '5' Royales with Charlie 'Little Jazz' Ferguson & His Orchestra: Laundromat Blues (1953)
17) Wynonie Harris with Todd Rhodes Orchestra: Keep On Churnin' (1952)
18) Dinah Washington: Big Long Slidin' Thing (1954)
19) The Blenders: Don't F*ck Around With Love (1953)
20) Dorothy Ellis: Drill Daddy Drill (1952)
21) The Royals: Work With Me, Annie (1954)
22) The Toppers: (I Love To Play Your Piano) Let Me Bang Your Box (1954)
23) Jackie Wilson & LaVern Baker: Think Twice (Version X) (1965)
24) Snatch & The Poontangs; The Mouth: vocal: Two-Time Slim (?)
25) Chick Willis: Stoop Down Baby (1972)
26) L.A. Women Love Uncle Bud (?)
27) Screamin' Jay Hawkins: Bite It (1970)
28) Fred Wolff Combo: Somebody Else Was Suckin' My D*ck Last Night (?)

If you take a look at all of those titles it's funny how people can freak out about Elvis' saying something "offensive" like "Dear Georgie..." or something.
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Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:15 pm

"C*cksuckers" had pretty much the same meaning back then as it does now. I'm not sure when the term was first used, but it was certainly in common usage during the late 1910s. In 1919 a group of young Naval recruits were sent into the community of Rhode Island in order to investigate the reports of "immoral conditions" there. Unbelievable as it may sound, the sailors were told to seek out homosexuals, have sex with them and then report back. A substantial number of people were arrested, and the sailors then testified against them. It was a unique, mystifying and bizarre event in American history, but the evidence gained and the transcripts from the resulting court case has resulted in us learning much more about homosexuality at the time than we could have ever known otherwise.

And the trials and newspaper stories have resulted in quite a legacy. It was through these investigations that the local YMCA was named as the place where the homosexuals gathered and hung out (so to speak), and the various jokes about the YMCA and homosexuality spring from these events in 1919.

The point of me recounting the above is that the term "c*cksucker" was used many times during the trials, and we know from the transcripts that this was a term used in a (relatively) friendly manner by homosexuals when referring to each other. The term was also used in newspaper reports of the trials and the furore that surrounded them (not least because a man of the cloth was put on trial, and also the methods used by the Navy).

Perhaps the most interesting thing here is that the Darktown Strutters Ball is the song which the "Rotten C*cksuckers Ball" is parodying. Darktown Strutters Ball was written and made popular in 1917. I would be very much surprised if the lyrics recorded by The Clovers were not made up as a joke during or directly after the publicity of the Rhode Island Trials of 1919-21, either by homosexuals or by people simply making fun of the news articles. Newspaper reports of "fag parties" or "fairy parties" were common during the remainder of the 1920s, so the idea of a "c*cksuckers ball" was certainly of that time and not the 1950s, by which point the term was seemingly considered more offensive than three decades earlier. Despite this, with the publication of the second volume of the Kinsey report in 1953, it's possible that homosexuality was back in the public consciousness and the song could therefore have been revived. This paragraph is informed guesswork, and may be incorrect, but makes sense given the context.

This obviously doesn't explain the reason for the Clovers recording. It's out on CD, and so the liner notes would be interesting reading, but hopefully the above makes for interesting background reading, nonetheless.

Anyone interested in the trials (the transcripts are a hoot!) should check out the book about the event called "Perverts by Official Order".

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:16 pm

Thanks mate. Get a load of this ditty bluesy track -

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Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:39 pm

These types of songs were quite common, especially amongst jazz singers in the 1920s and 1930s, and many were revived over the last two or three decades by jazz singer George Melly who specialised in that area of jazz. As an example, check out this video of Melly singing "Nuts"

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Or "I Want My Fanny Brown" (starts at 2.00 into the clip):

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"My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes"

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For more info on Melly. see my post here: http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=71869&hilit=melly

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:28 am

Alright Peter, I transcripted it from the liner notes to the CD mentioned above (unfortunately there's nothing on there that nails down your thesis):

"One of early rock 'n' roll's great vocal groups, the Clovers tallied nineteen Top 10 hits on 'Billboard's' R&B charts between 1951 and 1956. Formed by three students at Washington, D.C.'s Armstrong High School in 1946, the Clovers evolved into a quartet featuring Buddy Bailey on lead, Matthew Acquitter on tenor, Hal Lucas on baritone and Harold Wiley on bass. After a single release on Rainbow Records, the group signed with Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun, who was looking for a standout vocal group comparable to the Dominoes on Federal.
During the next decade the Clovers produced such enduring standards as "One Mint Julep", "Fool, Fool, Fool", "Ting-A-Ling", "Lovey Dovey", "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash", "Blue Velvet", "Devil Or Angel", "Love, Love, Love" - and "Rotten Cocksucker's Ball".

Long circulated among collectors, this acapella performance captures a priceless snapshot of urban folksong. Some researchers date this rude parody of "The Darktown Strutters' Ball" to the Clovers' earliest years. However, the 'cha-cha-cha-cha" tag before the coda suggests this recording was made around 1958, mostly likely as a gag by manager Lou Krefetz after the Atlantic contract expired.

Like the Clovers' other standards, "Rotten Cocksuckers' Ball" has had legs. Frank Zappa's 1984 edition of the Mothers delighted unsuspecting audiences with a reverent, full-throated acapella version. The Asylum Street Spankers, the rowdy acoustic cult band from Austin, continue to pay homage to Cocksuckin' Sammy and his mother-f*cking mammy."


I avoided to transcribe the lyrics here, though... :D

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:35 am

luckyjackson1 wrote:Alright Peter, I transcripted it from the liner notes to the CD mentioned above (unfortunately there's nothing on there that nails down your thesis):

"One of early rock 'n' roll's great vocal groups, the Clovers tallied nineteen Top 10 hits on 'Billboard's' R&B charts between 1951 and 1956. Formed by three students at Washington, D.C.'s Armstrong High School in 1946, the Clovers evolved into a quartet featuring Buddy Bailey on lead, Matthew Acquitter on tenor, Hal Lucas on baritone and Harold Wiley on bass. After a single release on Rainbow Records, the group signed with Atlantic Records' Ahmet Ertegun, who was looking for a standout vocal group comparable to the Dominoes on Federal.
During the next decade the Clovers produced such enduring standards as "One Mint Julep", "Fool, Fool, Fool", "Ting-A-Ling", "Lovey Dovey", "Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash", "Blue Velvet", "Devil Or Angel", "Love, Love, Love" - and "Rotten Cocksucker's Ball".

Long circulated among collectors, this acapella performance captures a priceless snapshot of urban folksong. Some researchers date this rude parody of "The Darktown Strutters' Ball" to the Clovers' earliest years. However, the 'cha-cha-cha-cha" tag before the coda suggests this recording was made around 1958, mostly likely as a gag by manager Lou Krefetz after the Atlantic contract expired.

Like the Clovers' other standards, "Rotten Cocksuckers' Ball" has had legs. Frank Zappa's 1984 edition of the Mothers delighted unsuspecting audiences with a reverent, full-throated acapella version. The Asylum Street Spankers, the rowdy acoustic cult band from Austin, continue to pay homage to Cocksuckin' Sammy and his mother-f*cking mammy."


I avoided to transcribe the lyrics here, though... :D


Yeah, nothing there to give us info on the origins of the song itself, although the notion of "urban folksong" suggests that it had been doing the rounds for some years before the Clovers got to it. As i said, I was merely speculating as to its origins (and may or may not be correct), but we shall probably never know!

Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Wed Dec 12, 2012 4:05 pm

It sounds like some sort of private recording or out-take to me, not a proper studio recording.
One of my mates who is a rock n roll DJ has this in his collection. I never heard him play it at a disco though!!
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Re: The Clovers - Rotten Cocksukers Ball (1954)

Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:11 pm

Tony.. wrote:It sounds like some sort of private recording or out-take to me, not a proper studio recording.
One of my mates who is a rock n roll DJ has this in his collection. I never heard him play it at a disco though!!
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Tony; IIRC it was recorded as a parody of their own hit "Don't Mess Around With Love" - think I read it in the booklet of the CD mentioned above (can't check it now for my stuff is packed and I'm ready to move...)