DIRTY DOZEN, THE

Latest update on 23/04/2010

Artist: Speckled Red
Author: Rufus Perryman
Label: Vocalion/Brunswick
Year: 1929

Albino barrelhouse boogie piano player; real name: Rufus Perryman, brother of William Perryman, better known as Piano Red or as Dr. Feelgood (see also: Mr. Moonlight, Oh Red and The Right String But The Wrong Yo Yo).

Covers:

1930:

Johnny Jones & The J.T. Brown Boogie Boys [as Dirty By The Dozen]

1930:

Memphis Minnie [as New Dirty Dozen; the first woman to sing it, to the melody of Lead Bellly's Noted Rider]

1932:

Ben Curry [as The New Dirty Dozen]

1934:

Roosevelt Sykes [as Dirty Mother For You]

1935:

Kokomo Arnold [as The Twelves; main example for Tata Vega in film The Color Purple]

1938:

Jelly Roll Morton [claiming he heard it first in Chicago in 1908; Alan Lomax recording]

1947:

Dirty Red [as Mother Fuyer]

1953:

Little Johnny Jones [as Sweet Little Woman with Elmore James]

1974:

Barrelhouse

1975:

Powerhouse [as Sweet Little Woman]

1976:

B.B. King [as Mother Fuyer]

1977:

Billy Boy Arnold [as Dirty Mother Fucker]

1986:

Tata Vega [in film The Color Purple]

1992:

Zora Young [as Dirty Mama Jama]

1996:

André Williams [as Mother Fuyer]

Barrelhouse favorite in the thirties, but the Dozens (or Twelves), like eloquency, have always gathered high esteem among blacks. In a way it's the blacks' equivalent of Scrabble. Outdo the opponent verbally is what it's all about, the dirtier and the sassier, the better. Ironically the melody is based upon a ringsong from Bible class.

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