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Feb 28, 2024 - 4:57:40 AM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


27870 posts since 6/25/2005

I know of a couple named for red light districts—Deep Elum Blues (Dallas); Sugar Hill (Kinston, NC). Does anyone know of other such tunes or songs?

Edited by - Bill Rogers on 02/28/2024 05:04:18

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:21:30 AM



11585 posts since 7/1/2006

House of The Rising Sun (New Orleans)

Feb 28, 2024 - 5:59:38 AM

8193 posts since 9/21/2007

Historically Deep Elum was historically populated by African Americans.

The pejorative and racist term "Darktown" could qualify, in that you have a number of titles including banjo compositions such as "Darktown Dandies" and "N****r Town" (often now called "Banjo Town".

Then there are scads of "Coon Songs" that take place in or adjacent to bars (aka brothels). Titles such as "Razors in the air" fall into this.

One might find when pursuing this subject that most of the titles are not in reference to white "red light districts" but rather neighborhoods that were historically populated by Black persons. The subject was much easier to swallow, or perhaps more entertaining to white audiences, when it involved "that part of town".

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:04:24 AM
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11585 posts since 7/1/2006

Further field research is required

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:13:09 AM



71774 posts since 10/5/2013
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From Ian Tyson’s fine song “Summer Wages”

“ In all of your taverns all down along Main Street,
The dreams of a season are all spilled down on the floor,
And the big stands of timber just waiting for falling,
And the hookers standing watchfully as they wait there by the door”

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:20:50 AM

4980 posts since 9/12/2016

hickory holler's tramp


Edited by - Tractor1 on 02/28/2024 06:22:37

Feb 28, 2024 - 6:53:02 AM

190 posts since 9/5/2013

Rev. Gary Davis's "Candyman" might qualify.

Feb 28, 2024 - 7:16:08 AM

8193 posts since 9/21/2007

In light of the two more modern submissions, Bill Rogers , what is the cutoff year you had in mind? Getting into the 1960s and 1970s Honkey Tonk country era will paint a very different picture.

Feb 28, 2024 - 10:02:56 AM

2629 posts since 7/20/2004

The song that first comes to mind is the Chad Mitchell Trio's version of "Mandy Lane".

Feb 28, 2024 - 10:21:54 AM

4980 posts since 9/12/2016

the boxer--where he took some comfort there

Feb 28, 2024 - 10:40:36 AM

3727 posts since 4/5/2006

There are some raunchy verses to Salty Dog Blues. A lot of popular songs during the Minstrel era referred to people of color, one way or another. And then there's Georgia Buck.

Feb 28, 2024 - 11:15:29 AM
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1981 posts since 4/12/2004

When Keith Whitley was playing with J.D. Crowe, they recorded a great version of "Railroad Lady". It's a song written by Jimmy Buffet and Jerry Jeff Walker that tells a tale of an aging prostitute who once plied her trade on the trains in the heyday of rail travel. It has some the finest crafted lyrics I've ever heard.

Railroad Lady

Feb 28, 2024 - 11:22:55 AM

12678 posts since 8/22/2006

Do not know if this songs matches the criteria but I submit it never the less.

it's my favorite Billy Joe Royal tune

Edited by - 5B-Ranch on 02/28/2024 11:24:32

Feb 28, 2024 - 12:25:53 PM

Bill Rogers (Moderator)


27870 posts since 6/25/2005

My intent was a lot narrower than what emerged on the thread. I was looking for titular references to red-light districts—not whorehouses, not prostitutes. The two I mentioned actually existed; they were not songwriters’ creations.

@Joel Hooks

Feb 28, 2024 - 2:43:14 PM



14091 posts since 12/11/2003

There's "Farewell to Storyville" with Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong. And "Storyville Blues" with Louis.

Edited by - raybob on 02/28/2024 14:43:36

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