Entertainment & Technology

Bull Moose Jackson

His lyrics were very often racy and suggestive, but no one can deny he knew how to have fun with music.


Benjamin Clarence “Bull Moose” Jackson (April 22, 1919 – July 31, 1989) was a blues and rhythm-and-blues singer and musician who toured throughout the late 1940’s. He got that name because members of his band thought he resembled that animal, and so it stuck.

Bull Moose had a reputation as a dirty blues performer because of his suggestive and double-entendre lyrics. Hilarious songs like “I Want a Bowlegged Woman”, “Nosey Joe”, and “Big Ten Inch Record” drove his audiences crazy. But their raunchiness meant they couldn’t be played on the radio at that time, so sales were limited.

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          Benjamin “Bull Moose” Jackson

Bull Moose had a reputation as a dirty blues performer because of his suggestive and double-entendre lyrics. Hilarious songs like “I Want a Bowlegged Woman”, “Nosey Joe”, and “Big Ten Inch Record” drove his audiences crazy. But their raunchiness meant they couldn’t be played on the radio at that time, so sales were limited.

​He toured for a number of years but eventually tired of the circuit and gave up music, and went to work in the catering business. But a band called the  Flash Cats tracked him down working at Howard University in 1981. They included “Big Ten Inch Record” in their regular set, and convinced Bull Moose to join their band. That led to a revival of his career, with touring around the U.S and internationally throughout the 1980’s, until he fell ill in 1987.

The Flash Cats weren’t to only band to cover Bull Moose’s song — Aerosmith did it on their album “Toys in the Attic” in 1975. But the original is always the best at capturing the feel and era from which it originated.

Music reviewers have described Jackson has having a split personality. On the one hand he could belt out tunes about love and romance like a crooner, and then turn around and sing the naughty songs with reckless abandon. A concert experience with Bull Moose must have been quite an emotional roller-coaster.

The first video has Jackson performing “Big Ten Inch Record”, set to photos of pin-up models. Now, we know the video exploits women (my daughter was horrified) — that certainly was not our goal; it was very much to show it in the context of the times. The second is Jackson’s “Nosey Joe”, danced to by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, performed for the Marx Brothers film ‘A Day At The Races’ (1937). Both are stellar examples of jump blues at its craziest.

 

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