Blues and “big-legged women”

  • Several blues and rock songs refer to “big-legged” women, like Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”:

    I don’t know, but I’ve been told
    A big-legged woman ain’t got no soul

    and Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign”:

    You know wine and women is all I crave
    A big-legged woman gonna carry me to my grave

    According to a discussion on the Straight Dope forum, this bit of imagery dates at least to the 1930s or ’40s, but the exact origin and meaning are unclear.

    Does “big-legged” have a specific connotation or euphemistic meaning? Blues songs often use it to mean an attractive but no-good woman – but then, blues songs often refer to all women as attractive but no good, so that could be a coincidence. Does the term have a specific origin?

    Johnnie "Geechie" Temple wrote Big Legged Woman as to Jerry Lee and muddy waters versions. Johnnie also did Lovin' Woman, Stick Up Woman, and Bow Legged Woman. To name a few. Active in the forties mostly.

  • "Big-legged" was the original celebratory code phrase for the female backside. Obviously, if you had big legs then they must culminate in an upper thigh/backside of similar proportions. The term "Big-Legged" was used in many songs, from Jerry Lee Lewis to Albert King. Eventually it just became the style to use the more obvious/crass description, which segued from Fat Bottom Girls to Baby Got Back to All About The Bass. It's all the same idea, just morphing through Rock/Blues history.

    That sounds reasonable. Do you have any references for it?

  • Possibly the most in-depth lyrical elaboration on this theme belongs to the artist Taj Mahal (born Henry C. F. Fredericks) and his song "Big Legged Mommas Are Back In Style". The lyrics are somewhat veering on NSFW.

    https://youtu.be/sXfWuYaSY7g

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM