Dirty Words and Gender Switching in the Blues

What do the words nut, lemon, rider, and cock have in common?

According to Debra Devi, author of the book, The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzuthey are all sexual euphemisms that can switch gender references in blues music. An example of gender switching occurs with the use of riding as a metaphor for sexual intercourse. Devi explains that this usage has been common for centuries:

…but the rider was typically male. In the blues, though, a rider can be of either sex. Both male and female singers sing the traditional song “C.C. Rider,” for example; they just change the gender of the rider.

“C.C. Rider, see what you have done
You made me love you now your man [woman] done come”

An “easy rider” is someone who sponges off his or her lover.

To read more, see the article Debra Devi: Dirty Words and Gender Switching in the Blues

…or read the book.