#1
Old 10-05-2001, 12:57 PM
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Big Legged Women

I was listening to Led Zep's Black Dog, and there's a line: "A big legged woman ain't got no soul." I didn't worry about it, it's a Zep thing, I thought. Like "a bustle in your hedgerow."

So I'm listening to blues on webcast, and I hear this:
"She ain't no big legged woman; she's just my plump bottomed girl." Hmm, seems to be a trend. Apparently big legged woman are evil. Not because of their big-leggedness- after all, a plump bottomed girl probably has largish legs as well- but just incidentally.

A Google search turns up a lot of songs that indicate, yeah, a big legged woman is a beautiful but evil woman who will cheat on you, give you no loving, and is basically low down.

My question is, what's the etymology of this phrase? Why are big legged women evil?

If Cecil can solve 'pompatus of love', surely we can figure this out.

--John
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#2
Old 10-05-2001, 01:05 PM
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I always figured Zep was referring to what was probably left of a large woman's shoe... ain't got no sole.

I'll come back and read with interest when a more enlighted poster arrives (which shouldn't be long).
#3
Old 10-05-2001, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Yue Han
So I'm listening to blues on webcast, and I hear this:
"She ain't no big legged woman; she's just my plump bottomed girl." Hmm, seems to be a trend. Apparently big legged woman are evil. Not because of their big-leggedness- after all, a plump bottomed girl probably has largish legs as well- but just incidentally.

Plump bottomed ladies are not necessarily evil according to Spinal Tap.
#4
Old 10-05-2001, 01:44 PM
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And we all know, fat bottom girls, they make the rockin' world go round.
#5
Old 10-05-2001, 01:58 PM
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The earliest instance of the BLW archetype I know of is Brownie McGhee's Big Legged Woman from 1945:
Quote:
Big legged woman now, where have you been?
I ain't had no lovin' now since God knows when
Aah big legged woman tell me where have you been
I ain't had no lovin' yeah since God knows when

Big legged woman now put on your negligee
I wanna find out what you got that's getting me
Aah big legged woman please put on your negligee
I just wanna find out what you got that's killin' me

All my life big legged women's all I crave
I believe to my soul they gonna carry me to my grave
All my life big legged women's all I crave
I believe to my soul they gonna carry me to my grave

When I was kid going to school
'T was a big legged woman made me break mama's rule
Oh when I was kid goin' to the public school
It was a big legged teacher made me break my mama's rule

You got a big legged woman boys, pin 'r to your side
She holds up her thumb now, I'm bound to let her ride
You got a big legged woman, please pin her to your side
Now she holds up her thumb, I'm bound to let her ride

Yeah! "Throw your big leg over me mama, I might not feel this good again." - Professor Longhair
#6
Old 10-05-2001, 02:03 PM
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It seems to be a blues device that goes far back into the sands of time. Brownie McGee recorded a song by the same name near the year 1945, and from the lyrics, it can be judged that the woman is to be admired, but is not inherently evil. My best guess is that ‘big legged’ refers to some sort of Reubenesque ideal, and bluesman have been borrowing this device for decades. The idea that attractive women may also be the vehicles of a man’s downfall is also common; IMOH you have a mating of these two themes.
#7
Old 10-05-2001, 02:05 PM
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Your one stop big legged evil devil chicks shop.

http://coopstuff.com

Sorry I can't offer anything else.
#8
Old 10-05-2001, 02:19 PM
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Hmmm, I always interpreted "big-legged" to mean "long-legged" and that for a die hard leg man, the women possessing long legs would have been irresistable. Looks like I have some research to do.
#9
Old 10-05-2001, 04:35 PM
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The funniest Onion article of all time (which isn't archived) is "Blues Singer's Woman allowed to tell her side of the story" and the article is done like a blues song. The lady is described as a "Big-legged, short-dressed, brown-skinned woman". So I think Led Zep was ripping off earlier blues artists with that phrase.
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#10
Old 10-07-2001, 09:24 AM
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Wow. I always thought the Zeppelin line was "been-laid woman", meaning an experienced and perhaps jaded woman rather than a sweet innocent virgin, and that the lyric was just hard to hear correctly (like CCR's "bathroom on the right"). Was I the only one fooled?
#11
Old 10-07-2001, 11:18 AM
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Yue Han, think Kegels, all the way to the knees...

I, of course, got all the Led Zepplin lyrics right. <<-
#12
Old 09-09-2014, 08:09 PM
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Quite a timely reply after 13 years )
Urban Dictionary says:

Big Legs
To "do the big legs" is to eat at a restaurant and run away without paying.

So to my understanding, in blues lyrics the term "big legged woman" means a woman who shows off very promising behavior to a man to make him pay for her, but after she does not let a man get any closer. Here where I live in Ukrainian/Russian such women are called "dynamo" -don't know why btw )
#13
Old 09-09-2014, 09:14 PM
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zombie or no

Big Leg Emma was wonderous.
#14
Old 09-09-2014, 11:35 PM
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On West, Bruce, and Laing, Jack Bruce sang, "Big leg women's/ All I crave/Big leg woman gonna carry me/ To my grave.

And of course Frank Zappa sang:

I got a big dilemma 'bout my Big Leg Emma, uh-huh, uh-huh.
I got a big dilemma 'bout my Big Leg Emma, uh-huh, uh-huh.
She was my steady date until she put on weight, uh-huh, uh-huh.

Another singer, Joe Tex, did a song called Skinny Legs And All, which ridiculed girls with skinny legs.
Quote:
One of the last songs Tex did was a novelty type of song he had composed on the spot titled "Skinny Legs and All" in which he poked fun at a man who unwittingly arrived his date who apparently had skinny legs. Tex advised the woman to dump her lover because "someone out there will take you, Miss skinny legs and all".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skinny_Legs_and_All_(song)
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#15
Old 09-10-2014, 04:05 AM
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Johnnie Temple recorded Big Leg Woman in 1938, so it goes back at least that far.
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#16
Old 09-10-2014, 10:48 AM
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Brother Taj Mahal explains it all for you here.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=sVNV1hWoH5E

(BTW, this is off his incredible album The Real Thing which has not only a the greatest rhythm section that includes a (former) NY Congressman but also FIVE TUBAS all at once, all of 'em making the Fillmore ring like a bell. Just saying.)
#17
Old 09-10-2014, 10:52 AM
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Here's a picture of what they talking 'bout.

See here (MAY NOT BE SAFE FOR WORK!!!!)

#18
Old 09-10-2014, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisYearsGirl View Post
The funniest Onion article of all time (which isn't archived) is "Blues Singer's Woman allowed to tell her side of the story" and the article is done like a blues song
blues-singers-woman-permitted-to-tell-her-side
#19
Old 09-12-2014, 06:31 PM
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Although the question is on etymology, since nearly all the references are to songs let's move this to Cafe Society (which didn't exist when this thread was started 13 years ago).

Colibri
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#20
Old 09-12-2014, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TubaDiva View Post
Brother Taj Mahal explains it all for you here.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=sVNV1hWoH5E

(BTW, this is off his incredible album The Real Thing which has not only a the greatest rhythm section that includes a (former) NY Congressman but also FIVE TUBAS all at once, all of 'em making the Fillmore ring like a bell. Just saying.)
Oh yeah! Taj Mahal likes his women big! Listen to him sing about those Big Legged Mommas! "Gimme some wd40 gonna oil my spring. My back is made of whalebone I'm gon' make you sing."
#21
Old 09-12-2014, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waverly View Post
It seems to be a blues device that goes far back into the sands of time. Brownie McGee recorded a song by the same name near the year 1945, and from the lyrics, it can be judged that the woman is to be admired, but is not inherently evil. My best guess is that ‘big legged’ refers to some sort of Reubenesque ideal, and bluesman have been borrowing this device for decades. The idea that attractive women may also be the vehicles of a man’s downfall is also common; IMOH you have a mating of these two themes.
I think Waverly nailed it in the original incarnation of this thread. These sorts of descriptions of women are a staple of old blues songs. On my iTunes I have a Lead Belly number called "Big Fat Woman" and a Freddie King song called "Big Legged Woman," and Robert Petway and Honeyboy Edwards doing takes on "Long Tall Woman Blues." There are probably some others I can't find right now. Bessie Smith was a whole lot of woman and I'm sure she sang about that some. That's who they considered desirable. Or at least enough of them felt that way to repeat the description.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
On West, Bruce, and Laing, Jack Bruce sang, "Big leg women's/ All I crave/Big leg woman gonna carry me/ To my grave.
That's "Born Under a Bad Sign," an Albert King song that Cream covered. It's not a particularly old song - King and Booker T. Jones wrote it in the late '60s, shortly before Cream did their own version - but it had been blues theme forever. Zep was referring to that. For once I don't think it's fair to accuse them of ripping anybody off.
#22
Old 09-13-2014, 08:07 AM
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I like Big Legs and I cannot lie
And all you other brothers can't deny
When a girl walks in with a tiny waist and long legs in your face - you get sprung!




Musicians typically like their lyrical women thick, I guess
#23
Old 09-13-2014, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpost View Post
zombie or no

Big Leg Emma was wonderous.
get your asses on the dance floor!
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