Friday, April 13, 2012

The Naughty Bits: That Buckin' Song

Robert Earl Keen: That Buckin' Song


The Euphemism. It's an old standby in novelty recordings -- substituting a harmless word for a naughty one.

Benny Bell, a borscht belt bandleader and comedian, specialized in songs with rhymes that lead you to believe a verboten word was around the corner before doing the old switcheroo. His “Shaving Cream” was the first euphemism song I remember learning. Bell recorded "Shaving Cream" in the 1940s, but I'm not that old. It became a big hit after it gained notoriety on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show in the 1970s. (I am that old.)

But, as far as euphemism songs go, Robert Earl Keen’s “That Bucking Song” is the masterwork.

Sometimes when Bell invoked the phrase “shaving cream” -- instead of a different word starting with “sh” -- it didn't make literal sense. (“Each time I say darling I love you, she says that I’m full of…shaving cream.”)

Keen uses “buck” instead of the obvious word that rhymes with it. But, his lyrics work with either word inserted: “If you got a bucker, don't ever buck around, that buckin' mother bucker will buck you on the ground.” When it comes to employing euphemisms, Robert Earl didn't settle for the usual...shaving cream.

Bonus Track: Oh what the...bell. Here’s “Shaving Cream” too.

Benny Bell: Shaving Cream

[purchase (CD only)]

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