Hokum

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Description:
This article refers to a particular song type of American blues music. For other uses, see hokum .
Hokum is a particular song type of American blues music - a humorous song which uses extended analogies or euphemistic terms to make sexual innuendos. This trope goes back to early blues recordings, and is seen from time to time in modern American blues and blues-rock.

An example of hokum lyrics is this sample from "Meat Balls", by Lil Johnson, recorded about 1937,
"Got out late last night, in the rain and sleet
Tryin' to find a butcher that grind my meat
Yes I'm lookin' for a butcher
He must be long and tall
If he want to grind my meat
'Cause I'm wild about my meat balls."


Technique

In a general sense, hokum was a style of comedic farce, spoken, sung and spoofed, while masked in both risqué innuendo and "tomfoolery". It is one of the many legacies and techniques of 19th century blackface Minstrelsy. Like so many other elements of the Minstrel Show, stereotypes of racial, ethnic and sexual fools were the stock in trade of hokum. Hokum was stagecraft, gags and routines for embracing farce. It was so broad that there was no mistaking its ludicrousness. Hokum also encompassed dances like the cakewalk and the buzzard lope in skits that unfolded through spoken narrative and song. W.C. Handy, himself a veteran of a minstrel troupe, remarked that, "Our hokum hooked 'em," meaning that the low comedy snared an audience that stuck around to...
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