Your Grandma Listened to Filthy Music

There are plenty of ridiculously vulgar and obscene lyrics in music today. What irks me is that the use of innuendo and subtlety has almost completely gone out the window. That having been said, to suggest that vulgarity is some sort of modern development is a load of hooey. Sex is a big part of music and that’s nothing new.

Let’s take a look at Jelly Roll Morton…

Listen to some jazz as you read on:

The song is entitled Jelly Roll Blues and was composed by Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, better known by his moniker Jelly Roll Morton. It was written sometime between 1905-1910 and was released in 1915 and is widely considered to be one of the first, if not the first jazz song.

When we look up the definition of Jelly Roll on we find the following:

jelly roll


1. a thin, rectangular layer of sponge cake, spread with fruitjelly and rolled up.
2. Slang: Vulgar.
a. the vagina.
b. sexual intercourse.

Guess what folks; he didn’t get his nickname from the dessert. In fact, as a teenager he cut his teeth playing in the brothels of New Orleans. While Jelly Roll Blues is an instrumental, when Jelly Roll wrote a song with lyrics, they often weren’t G rated. Gambler, pimp, and musician to boot, he was never famous for his modesty. He was known to introduce himself by saying “I’m Jelly Roll Morton and I invented Jazz”. Jelly Roll had a diamond inlaid front tooth. That’s right, he sported bling.

Here’s a bite of the Jelly Roll you don’t hear as often:

So next time you want to kick back and enjoy a nice illicit tune, order up some Jelly Roll. Could be the case that even your Great Grandma liked to get down.

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