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Friday, 18 October 2019

The Sinister Side of the 1940’s Music Scene

1940’s Tunes with a Twist of Something?

Cocaine Tooth Powder AdvertismentAs we listened 1940’s Radio Broadcasts it became alarmingly apparent how many recordings made casual references to illegal substances.

These references were made not just by unknown bands, but also by some of the periods most prominent artists with Fats Waller and Cab Callaway included in the line-up.

Artistic Licence

Some artist were more subtle than others with references made in the lyrics, with others being more blatant going straight for the jugular saying "Just what’s on the tin".

We will leave it for you to decide if this practice was a deliberate poke at the authorities or a public relations stunt to promote record sales. Regardless, I am sure we can still all agree the music remains timeless and times have changed very little in that regard.


1940’s Radio’s Dirty Dozen in Albhabetical Order

Artist: Barney Bigard Sextet  ft  Joe Thomas & Art Tatum

Track: Sweet Marijuana Brown
Year: 1945
Video: Watch Video

Barney Bigard Sextet  ft  Joe Thomas & Art Tatum - Sweet Marijuana Brown

Artist: Cab Calloway

Track: Minnie The Moocher
Year: 1931
Video: Watch Video

Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher (1931)

Artist: Champion Jack Dupree

Track: Junkers Blues
Year: 1940
Video: Watch Video

Champion Jack Dupree  - Junkers Blues (1940)

Artist: Dick Justice

Track: Cocaine
Video: Watch Video

Artist: Dick Justice - Cocaine (1928)

Artist: Fats Waller

Track: The Reefer Song
Year: 1943
Video: Watch Video

Artist: Fats Waller - The Reefer Song (1943)

Artist: Harry “The Hipster” Gibson

Track: Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine
Video: Watch Video

Harry “The Hipster” Gibson - Who put the Benzedrine in Mrs Murphy's Ovaltine (1947)

Artist: Jazz Gillum and his Jazz Boys

Track: Reefer Head Woman
Year: 1938
Video: Watch Video

Jazz Gillum and his Jazz Boys - Reefer Head Woman (1938)

Artist: Memphis Jug Band

Track: Cocaine Habit Blues
Year: 1930
Video: Watch Video

Memphis Jug Band - Cocaine Habit Blues (1930)

Artist: Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys

Track: Here Comes The Man With the Jive
Year: 1936
Video: Watch Video

Stuff Smith and his Onyx Club Boys - Here Comes The Man With the Jive (1936)

Artist: Trixie Smith

Track: Jack I Am Mellow
Track: Year: 1938
Video: Watch Video

Trixie Smith - Jack I Am Mellow

Artist: The Ink Spots

Track: That Cat Is High
Year: 1938
Video: Watch Video

The Ink Spots - That Cat Is High (1938)

Artist: Victoria Spivey

Track: Dope Head Blues
Video: Watch Video

Victoria Spivey - Dope Head Blues (1927)


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