"(a woman) built for speed" -- was: urgent please

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Tue Apr 13 16:18:57 UTC 2004

The reference is almost certainly to a car. Car references are used
frequently in the blues for sexual imagery (just one of many sexual
images used there). A car built for speed will no doubt give a good

    Just one example (Robert Johnson's Teraplane Blues (From Eric
Sackheim's _The
Blues Line_, p. 218):

  "I said I'd flash your lights, mama,
                Your horn won't even blow
          (somebody's been running my battery down on this machine)
I even flashed my lights, mama,
                        this horn won't even blow
Got a short in this connection,
                hoo-well babe, and it's way down below.
I'm going h'ist your hood, mama,
                I'm bound to check your oil.
   [etc. etc. etc]."

    As for the song with "Papa may have, mama may have, But got bless
the child that's got his own...---[ending] 'He just worry 'bout
nothin' Cause he's got his own", I'd need to see all the lyrics to
judge. But anyone approaching blues lyrics without a full
appreciation about how almost anything can be given a sexual
interpretation is likely to miss what's really being said. Even
*with* such an appreciation, some sexual references may be missed.

Gerald Cohen
author of "Sexual Terms and Metaphors in the Blues, Part 1. in:
Gerald Leonard Cohen: Studies in Slang, Part V, (Frankfurt a.M.:
Peter Lang,1997, pp. 73-126.

At 8:59 AM +0200 4/13/04, Sylwia Frankowska wrote:
>another song and another point of doubt  (
>Some men like me talkin' happy - Some calls it snappy
>Some call me honey - Others think I got money
>Some tell me baby you're built for speed
>"built for speed"?  pardon me, no comprehendo... any bright ideas?

At 9:50 AM -0400 4/13/04, Baker, John wrote:
>         Someone who's "built for speed" would be slender, lithe,
>with long legs - in short, attractive.  There may also be
>implications that she is (or the speaker would like her to be) a
>"fast" woman, meaning one who is sexually receptive.

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