Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lucille Bogan: Shave 'Em Dry: The Best of Lucille Bogan [Columbia/Legacy, 2004]
Tracks 17 to 19 lay out Bogan's signature title song three ways--one "Clean," one "Explicit," one an "I'm Gonna Shave You Dry" variant featuring a fella we'll presume is pianist-with-a-penis Walter Roland, whose reliable blues licks add extra texture to Bogan's relaxed, articulated, calmly lascivious drawl throughout this collection. Then comes a climactic "Till the Cows Come Home" there's only one of, which begins "I got a man I love/I got a man I like/Every time I fuck them mens/I give 'em the doggone clap" and raises the stakes from there. But while that dirty climax is the selling point of this retrospective, it has plenty of company as "Barbecue Bess" invites any customer with greenbacks to help himself at her Piggly Wiggly and assures the hopeful who wants her stew meat on credit that it'll still be there when he comes back with his pay. And in whatever interim that remains there are always those "B.D. Women" who "don't need no men." Inspirational Verse: "I got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb/I got something between my legs make a dead man come." A-