Friday Five: Songs About Venereal Disease
Who doesn’t love a good country song about Saturday night shenanigans? Unfortunately, some of those wild nights have consequences that a Sunday morning can’t cure.
5. Paul Craft – “VD Ain’t Nothin’ to Clap About”
But it is something to sing about. And you could dance along to this one, too, which seems appropriate given the etymology of “boogie woogie.”
4. Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, and Yim Yames – “VD City”
In the late 1940s, Woody Guthrie wrote a number of songs about venereal disease for the U.S. Public Health Service including “VD Seaman’s Letter,” “VD Avenue,” “A Case of VD,” “A Child of VD,” and “VD Gunner’s Blues.” This roots supergroup recorded “VD City” for last year’s New Multitudes. The lyrics are as vivid as any photo in a medical textbook, with the neurosyphilitic reduced to “a whirlpool of raving insane.”
3. Reba McEntire – “She Thinks His Name Was John”
Reba took this song (penned by Sandy Knox and Steve Rosen) about a woman who contracted HIV from a one night stand to No. 15 in 1994.
2. Hank Williams — “Stars in Her Eyes”
This 13-minute PSA tells the cautionary tale of Lena, a woman who, one drunken night, cheats on her new husband with one of his friends. But secrets and syphilis can’t stay hidden forever.
1. A.L. Lloyd & Alf Edwards –“The Unfortunate Rake”
This traditional song is about a young man who’s slowly dying due to an encounter with a beautiful woman. If he’d been informed of the disease in time, he could have gotten “salts of mercury,” (which would bring about its own collection of miserable symptoms). This song–whose history you can trace with this compilation–would eventually become “Streets of Laredo,” its lyrics altered so that the young man in the song would die from the slightly more romantic cause of a bullet to the chest.
- CraigR.: I beg everyone to watch the music( if you can call it that)video for Florida Georgia Line with Luke Bryan. …
- Roger: That Don Williams cover of Sing Me Back Home sounds great - have to check out that new CD.
- Gene Cross, Jr.: A very pretty song. I sure look forward to being able to buy the complete CD tomorrow. I am a …
- Kanenrake Stacey: I always wondered why RCA gave up on her so fast, I'm glad to know that it was probably because …
- bob: Great interview of an impressive young lady. I'll have to check out that Blues album when it comes out.
- Jack Pliskin: Oh it's good to hear some real country music being made in this day and age. Don Williams is simply a …
- darol anger: This band is not one you're likely to hear out on the fester or club circuit. It's a rare and …
- Livewire: So that's the interview Best listen to the album and decide for yourself. It was slated in UK's Country Music People Magazine A …
- Stormy: A little more glam rock than New Wave, but here is Kenneth Brian covering David Bowie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJhfD77QOLY
- Jack Williams: Forgot this one: Richard Thompson - Tempted (Squeeze)