Sunday, October 29, 2006


Here are 19 songs (it had to be over 18, considering the subject) that describe the world of prostitution, pimps and Johns.
Hookers cover every social strata, so this collection includes honky tonk girls, high class call girls and raunchy street hustlers.
In song most of them are given sympathy and even admiration. For providing a needed service, these women have earned both bucks and some respect. The most ambivalent well-known whore song is "Sweet Painted Lady," here sung by both Elton the Original, AND Bridget St. John, cover-girl. The refrain; "getting paid for being laid, guess that's the name of the game." No kidding, Bernie, and TAB A goes into SLOT B.

The most famous whore song is "Love For Sale," and it's covered here in the classic "De-Lovely" way by some cabaret babe or other, a sexier way (Jane Birkin) and even via male gigolo Elvis Costello. Classic street walker-hustler songs come from Georgia White, Ma Rainey and Chippie Hill. You also get a "Best Little Whorehouse" ho' down, and "Do You Think I'm a Whore" and "Hooker on a Corner." Plus Donna Summer's classic about bad girls and the Academy Award winning "Hard Out Here for a Pimp." Different strokes...
Some might not have listened to the lyrics of Police/Sting operation "Roxanne" closely enough to realize it's a faux-Jamaican lament to a hooker. "You don't have to put out de red light," Sting rasta-rasps. Rather than bother with his version, we have a more luridly sympathetic take from female vocalist Dilana.
Also here, "Barcelona" by the limp-wristed Sinceros, who self-consciously sing of "prostitutes with very large hearts entertaining very small parts," and the prodigy Janis Ian who was not even of legal age when she wrote and sang "Pro Girl." I like her attempt at seeming British by quoting the whore fee in "pounds" not dollars. She works in a play on the John's Bargain Store chain, ("John, bargain well...") which is pointless but it shows how precocious this poetess was at 16. And At Seventeen...she couldn't even give it away.
19 tracks. All that's missing is Hora Staccato. No charge for the download, which, I know, makes me look cheap.

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