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What the hell is a 'salty dog'?

08 Feb 02 - 09:40 PM (#645713)
Subject: What the hell is a "salty dog"?
From: Anahootz

I made a bluegrass compilation CD for my wife recently, and on it I included Flatt & Scruggs' version of "Salty Dog Blues".

She returned from a day at the office, and asked, "Honey, what the hell is a salty dog?"

For those unfamiliar with the tune, the chorus is "Let me be your salty dog / or I won't be your man at all / Honey let me be your salty dog."

Vaguely sexual, or is that just my inner adolescent chiming in from some dim recess of my brain...?

'Hootz


08 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM (#645721)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: 53

I really don't know what it is either. The only time i've ever heard of it was on the Flatt and Skruggs song, maybe its a dog who loves salt, hell I don't know.


08 Feb 02 - 09:56 PM (#645722)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

CLICK HERE

Spaw


08 Feb 02 - 09:59 PM (#645723)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

Beat me to the link, Spaw

If you don't wish to trawl through the BS on that thread, the answer is simply: a sailor


08 Feb 02 - 10:03 PM (#645726)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Giac

Gin, grapefruit juice, salt and a helluva hangover. ~;o)


08 Feb 02 - 10:06 PM (#645728)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Anahootz

Thanks, 'Spaw.

I guess i was leaning towards the adolescent in me...grin

'Hootz


08 Feb 02 - 10:06 PM (#645729)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

I don't think you'll find that a sailor is the only answer and certainly not in the context of "Salty Dog Blues!" Read the thread including the link.

Spaw


08 Feb 02 - 10:07 PM (#645730)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

Thank you, Giac. That old joke was better made in the linked thread.

Jeez.....


08 Feb 02 - 10:08 PM (#645731)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: masato sakurai

Still other threads:

Salty Dog

Salty Dog

Salty Dog Blues/Rag

Another interpretation: "The term 'salty (good, racy) dog (presumably male)' suggests a slightly off-clolor meaning for the chorus." (The New Lost City Ramblers Song Book, p. 200).

~Masato


08 Feb 02 - 10:10 PM (#645733)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Mark Cohen

Well, when I heard Dave van Ronk do "Salty Dog" in 1971 or so at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr (near Philadelphia), he said he had learned the song from Rev. Gary Davis. When he asked Rev. Davis what it meant, the reply was, "Dave, maybe I'll tell you when you're older." By the way, I think van Ronk's version is one of the best.

Aloha,
Mark


08 Feb 02 - 10:11 PM (#645734)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

Spaw,

If you know the answer why not just post it?

I've never seen a thread so full of junk, yet you suggest reading it...


08 Feb 02 - 10:13 PM (#645735)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Anahootz

Great.

Now, anyone wanna volunteer for the job of telling my wife she really likes a bluegrass song about dick?

..."No, really honey it's...*duck*...No, I swear, I'm not making this up...*dodge*...see, there's these guys on the 'cat, and they all say..."

(apologies to catspaw, but I've always liked the thought of visual language)


08 Feb 02 - 10:44 PM (#645752)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: khandu

"Well, your salty dog, he comes around

When your sugar daddy's outta town,

Baby, let me be your salty dog"

I heard one of Mississippi John Hurt's friends (Tunk) sing this as I played the guitar. He said John used to sing that line. But it isn't on any of his recordings.

khandu


08 Feb 02 - 11:25 PM (#645775)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Chip2447

From the era of the Iranian hostage crisis. Although, it works as well with Bin Ladan inserted.

"Salty dog, salty dog,
beat my meat and flog my hog.
Hey, Khomeini suck my salty dog.

Chip2447 a salty dog...the ex sailor type. I can be a nevermind....


09 Feb 02 - 12:02 AM (#645802)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Get a record with Lizzie Miles singing "Salty Dog," if this gem from 50-60 years ago is still available. She will tell you in raucous New Orleans style just what a salty dog is.
I'm surprised that there are Americans who don't know.


09 Feb 02 - 12:45 AM (#645821)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: masato sakurai

'Salty Dog' - Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs - is in The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favorites (CLICK HERE).
~Masato


09 Feb 02 - 02:23 AM (#645846)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Bert

If you're too lazy to read the thread and the links GUEST then I'll tell you - It's Hairy Pie.


09 Feb 02 - 03:02 AM (#645856)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,G.K.Busch

Traditionally a 'salty dog' is a pimp.


09 Feb 02 - 09:17 AM (#645938)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Desdemona

When we've been in London on a Sunday evening these last few years, we go to the Lamb & Flag on James St. (near Covent garden); it's a great 17th C. pub (Pepys, Johnson, et al drank there; they appear to have done little else!), but on Sundays for the last X number of years they've had the most terrific Dixieland jazz band--a real jam session, and the woman who sings w/them is called Mary (I think her last name is)Robertson. ANYWAY, we heard her sing a great version of "Salty Dog" last time we were there; there appear to be many variations on the theme!

Sorry to digress, but if you're ever around on a Sunday night, definitely check them out!


09 Feb 02 - 11:01 AM (#645976)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

New definitions are born every day! In NOspeak, he is simply a Randy Man, enjoying every jelly roll in town. He may be a sailor, a pimp, a son of a preacher man, a deacon, a CEO or a president (Clinton comes to mind).
Transference to the male member (Chip 2447) is an obvious progression, and using the name for a salty hangover remedy is also logical.


09 Feb 02 - 11:35 AM (#646000)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

The term can be traced to Elizabethan England. King Philip of Spain refered to Sir Francis Drake, and other English Mariners, as "Dogs of the Sea" The English were typically thrilled with the name; and after the Armada's defeat called themselves "Old Sea Dogs" shortened to Salty Dogs after years of use.


09 Feb 02 - 12:55 PM (#646052)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Guest is right about the usage of salty dog for British seamen (later transferred to seamen in general), but the question raised is the use of salty dog in the southern states, where songs like Salty Dog as sung by Lizzie miles, Flatt and Scruggs and others. I would suggest an independent origin.


09 Feb 02 - 01:07 PM (#646059)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Desdemona

Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Ralegh, et al were definitely "sea dogs"....some of the others were merely useless seamen!


09 Feb 02 - 01:29 PM (#646067)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Steve in Idaho

In the Marines an "Old salt" or "Salty dog" was someone who had been in the Corps for a while, been around the world, and seen a lot of the things others hadn't. By virtue of the Germans giving the Marines the nickname "Teuflehunde" (Devildogs for our tenacity) during the battle of "Belleu Woods" and that salt was from the sea (washing one's uniforms in the salty water made them turn almost white) we used the term "Salty Dog" to mean a Marine who had been around a while and wasn't really inspection material - but was a top combat Marine.

I have no idea if this is a connection or not - but all of the above mentioned would certainly fit with an old Marine!

Let's see now - what is that verse from the Marine's Hymm????

If the Army and the Navy ever looked from Heaven's scene - - They would find their wives are sleeping - with United State's Marines. *BSEG*

Steve


09 Feb 02 - 01:40 PM (#646074)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

you mean the USMC? Uncle Sams Misguided Children?


09 Feb 02 - 01:42 PM (#646076)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Yep, Norton, especially those Marines mentioned in your last line certainly would qualify as salty dogs!


09 Feb 02 - 04:41 PM (#646149)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

Served in Korea, curried Corgi, very tasty, I kid you not. Look out all you Soccer fans, although the English may prefer stewed Bedlington Terrier. Paddy Joe.


09 Feb 02 - 05:43 PM (#646176)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

Like Dicho said, all the nautical and marine definitions are fine and dandy but they have nothing to do with the word used by Gary Davis, John Hurt and thousands of others in southern song! The whole nautical end doesn't play...period! Jaysus!! It's like hearing the lyric:

"Did you hear what Sister Johnson said?

Always takes a candy stick to bed..."


...and then figuring the candy stick was a peppermint stick. Ain't none too likely now is it?

Spaw


09 Feb 02 - 05:51 PM (#646179)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Amos

Candy men, salty dogs, coffee grinders, black cat bones, mojo hands, baqck-door men and jelly rolls are about as sexual as terms can get without being clinical. It has nothing to do with oceans, except the rolling balmy seas of extended physical love.

And for those who disdain vivid analogy, let me offer hte poetic couplet:

Nobody wants a baby,
When a reaeeeal ma-a-a-n can be found,
Ya been a good old wagon,
Daddy, but you do-o-o-ne broke down!!!

Regards,

A.


09 Feb 02 - 05:59 PM (#646181)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

As I said this morning, in NO and elsewhere in the south a salty dog is a randy man. I will accept the other definitions, which are valid in the spheres concerned (nautical, military, etc.). But Catspaw is right, these definitions have nothing to do with the term in blues, bluegrass, or jazz.


09 Feb 02 - 06:37 PM (#646195)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Iodine

from what my Naval friends have said a "Salty Dog" is a sailor on the high seas, a salt water fellow so to speak


09 Feb 02 - 07:07 PM (#646213)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

Okay.....I give up   a salty dog is some kind of naval officer then huh? Okay, just let me make a few changes..........

Candy man been here and gone
Candy man been here and gone
Candy man, Naval officer,
If you can't be my Candy man you can't be my naval officer.
Candy man,candy man,
Candy man, been here and gone,
Candy man, naval officer,
I wish I was in New Orleans, sitting on the candy stand.


Then I need to change............

Let me be your naval officer
Or I won't be your man at all
Honey let me be your naval officer.
Down in the holler
Sittin on a log
Finger on the trigger
And my eye on a hog
Honey let me be you naval officer.


Now let's see, only about 200 verses and another 100 songs to go............

Spaw


09 Feb 02 - 07:07 PM (#646214)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,Bogtrotter6

Bless ya Norton1(Steve) and Semper Fi. Could not agree with ya more but yer tellin our secrets to them infadel sailors and army pukes. However my understandin is that the the origin came from the Sailing Ship Catains who used to keep dogs(mascots) aboard to warn them of unwanted visitors(Mutineers). The longer they stayed at sea the saltier the dogs coat became- it was later transferred to old Sailors for obviously the same reason. Vis-a-Vi for us "Seagoin Bellhops"


09 Feb 02 - 07:10 PM (#646217)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Steve in Idaho

Maybe and maybe not Spaw - Can't be proven either way I think - Which would suggest to me that it is whatever one's coniving little, or large, mind can conjure up! For us old Jarheads we know what we've done - and I can say that many of those adages could be me at times in my life! Just a dang funny thread!! Har har har

Semper Fi Guest

Steve


09 Feb 02 - 07:23 PM (#646224)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

Steve, I love ya' man.....in the best possible sense of the word.....but I will flatass-out guarangawddamntee you that no blues guys ever sang those words with the thought of anything relating to the sea!

Let me put it this way...........Jack Kennedy was a Navy man and had also a long history of sailing for sport and could be considered a bit of a "Salt." I have no idea what he actually preferred to do with Jackie, Marilyn, and his other sexual companions. Bill Clinton on the other hand was never in the Navy and I don't know that he ever set foot on a rowboat...............HOWEVER.....In the context of southern blues and bluegrass, ragtime and jazz, Bill Clinton was definitely Monica's "Salty Dog."

Spaw


09 Feb 02 - 07:40 PM (#646233)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Anahootz

well, spaw, mebbe it was with SOME thought of the sea.

Think of that great lyric from another bygone tune, "I'm like a one-eyed cat, peepin' in a seafood store..."


09 Feb 02 - 07:53 PM (#646244)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

......Uh.....yeah, well..........Let me just say it wasn't with the thought of some old fart in salt-washed khakis!!

Spaw


09 Feb 02 - 07:58 PM (#646249)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Any more of this sailor stuff and the South Shall Rise Again! (Yankees can join too, Catspaw).
I bet these same guys think a jelly roll is something to eat! Oops- methinks I had better rethink that thought.


09 Feb 02 - 08:00 PM (#646251)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

We'll hold 'em off at the Sunken Road Dicho!

Spaw


10 Feb 02 - 11:53 AM (#646544)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Steve in Idaho

A jelly roll is something to eat! Isn't it?? Jeez, another Western tradition down the tubes!

And you are right Spaw - I've no doubt about it. It was still a hilarious thread and fun to try to figure out where some of these sayings come from. I love finding the origins of sayings and words - Some kind of fun eh?

Steve


10 Feb 02 - 01:24 PM (#646593)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Jazz me, baby! My jelly roll needs fillin' by a salty dog named Cotton-eyed Joe!


10 Feb 02 - 01:27 PM (#646596)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: catspaw49

LOL Dicho!

Steve, I love the threads and I'm getting a lot of fun out of the play back and forth.......Good stuff and good fun too.....That's what makes a great thread.

Spaw


10 Feb 02 - 03:10 PM (#646673)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Rolfyboy6

I heard the term from an early age and I just always saw it as ALL OF THE ABOVE. Why not, good 'poetic terms' that carry lots of freight in a small space are hard to come by. 'Honey let me be your Salty Dog.'

Another addition: "Come back baby, Papa ain't salty no more"--T-Bone Walker("Papa Ain't Salty No More").


10 Feb 02 - 04:55 PM (#646741)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: 53

A good ole hot dog with plenty of chili, cheese, hot sauce, and onions, mustard, and lots of SALT.


10 Feb 02 - 05:01 PM (#646747)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

53, were you a Boy Scout? A young Republican? He! He! He!


10 Feb 02 - 07:56 PM (#646886)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,Arkie

Somewhere I read that salt has over 14,000 uses. It is no wonder that a large number of diverse phrases using the word salt have found their way into people's language. Roman soldiers were supposedly paid in part by a ration of salt. Hence the phrase "not worth his salt". In former times, before salt and pepper shakers, a container of salt was placed on the table at mealtime. The host sat at one end of the table, the head of the table. The salt server was in the middle. Those who sat closest to the host were the most honored guests and those most important in rank. Those who sat at the far end or "below the salt" were of lesser rank and social importance. Salty language may mean one swears like a sailor. Salty in a social context may refer to social significance. In the song in question, one can substitute penis, oral sex, or vagina which is supposedly another term associated with salty dog, "Let me be your ..." and you get a phrase one would only sing if drunk or demented. Pimp would make a little more sense. "Let me be your main man or I won't be your man at all" makes a lot more sense. The phrase "salty dog" instead of main man adds a bit more punch and carries a little more sassy interpretation. But I suspect that salty dog will mean whatever people want it to mean.


11 Feb 02 - 01:32 AM (#647094)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Deni

This thread is hilarious, and informative, all that stuff about jelly rolls and candy sticks. I never knew what it all meant till now, I swear. But I've always found it hard singing the word seamen in songs about sailors. D


11 Feb 02 - 01:53 AM (#647100)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Arkie (Arkansas?) - not quite south enough to understand the language. Ther would be no question as to the meaning in New Orleans, say.
www.honkingduck.com has a recording of "A New Salty Dog" by the Allen Bros. (ca. 1930). Worth a listen.


17 Feb 02 - 12:08 AM (#651913)
Subject: Lyr Add: SALTY DOG (Lizzie Miles and Sharkey's...
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

SALTY DOG

My name's Lizzie from New Orleans
An' I sho' do love my red beans
'Cause I'm a salty dog (salty dog)
Yes, a salty dog.

Now I've been east and I've been west
But I like New Orleans the best
It's a salty dog (salty dog)
Yes, a salty dog

Mardi Gras is a dream
you can meet all those Creole queens
They're salty dogs (salty dogs)
Yes, salty dogs. (Oh, you dog)

If you want to blow your cares away
Just walk on in the Vieux Carré
You'll find salty dogs (salty dogs)
Yes, salty dogs.

Never had no name, never went to school,
But when it comes to lovin', I ain't no fool,
I'm a salty dog (salty dog)
Yes, I'm a salty dog.

I've got sixteen men in love with me
But the man I love ain't legally free
He's a salty dog (salty dog)
Yes, a salty dog.

I believe my man's got a black cat at home,
When I leave, I've got to run back home
He's a salty dog (salty dog)
He's a salty dog.

Arranged by Sharkey Bonano, Dexter, and Pajaude. Recorded 1952, Capitol T792, "A Night In Old New Orleans." Lizzie Miles and Sharkey's Kings of Dixieland. (Salty dog) in parentheses interjected by band members.


17 Feb 02 - 12:04 PM (#652123)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)

Footnote: Lizzie Miles and Sharkey Bonano were apparently well-known in the late 1920s and the 1930s. Three cds of Lizzie Miles from this period are available on Document 5058-5060. She also appears on their Jazzin' the Blues albums. One cd of Sharkey Bonano from the same period is on Tradition. I can find no reissues of their later efforts.


19 Feb 02 - 08:41 AM (#653288)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Iodine

Demi, You find it hard to use the word semen in songs about sailors????????? Seems to me it's the natural thing to do considering one of the specialties of Seamen is to avail all the lassies of their semen in every port around the world! I think it must be a tradition lmao !!!!!


19 Feb 02 - 09:38 AM (#653328)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Trevor

Has anybody heard the Steve Tilston song of the same name. I've heard him sing it a few times, with WAZ, as a solo and as a duo with a woman whose name escapes me. It always brings a tear to the eye.


18 Jun 09 - 09:39 AM (#2659352)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Richie

Hi,

I just did a painting of Salty Dog Blues:

http://www.mattesonart.com/blog.aspx

This explains everything- Ha ha,

Richie


18 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM (#2659360)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Mr Happy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salty_dog


18 Jun 09 - 10:17 AM (#2659374)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Stringsinger

"Salty dog" as I understand it is a euphemism for one who gives sexual stimulation
orally to sex organs.


18 Jun 09 - 01:37 PM (#2659508)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Richie

I thought including a meat grinder was a good double entendre. I also have a woman eating a hot dog even tho it's a sand sculpture, didn't want it to be overt.

Richie


18 Jun 09 - 02:27 PM (#2659551)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: kendall

I once asked a long time bluegrass performer and he said
It is a pimp.


18 Jun 09 - 03:50 PM (#2659637)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

While John Stewart was with The Kingston Trio, they included "Salty Dog" on an LP, with John playing a 12-string. Coincidentally, the next to last verse(probably composed by John or Nick)is included below. For all I know, they may have rewritten most or all of it.

"Let me be your salty dog,
You won't need no man at all,
Honey, let me be your salty dog.

"I got a gal an' she's ten feet tall,
Sleeps in the kitchen with her head in the hall,
Honey, let me be your salty dog.

"Two ol' ladies a-sittin' in the sand,
Each one a-wishin' the other was a man,
Honey, let me be your salty dog.

"Floatin' down the river on an old oak log,
What the hell's a salty dog?" (the line is almost an aside)
Honey, let me be your salty dog."

"I think it better be the end of this song,
'cause it's a-gettin' too damn long,
Honey, let me be your salty dog.


18 Jun 09 - 03:54 PM (#2659641)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Richie

Here's an interesting bit about the Morris brothers, who claimed to write the song:

This song was first performed by the Morris Brothers. It was written by Zeke in 1935, and arranged by him and his brother, Wiley. "Salty Dog" seems to have a number of meanings. Wiley's interpretation probably makes the most sense - "I have a different definition of a salty dog than Zeke has. Back when we were kids down in Old Fort we would see a girl we liked and say 'I'd like to be her salty dog.' There also used to be a drink you could get up in Michigan. All you had to do was say 'Let me have a Salty Dog,' and they'd pour you one."

Zeke said of the origins of the song, "I got the idea when we went to a little old honky tonk just outside of Canton which is in North Carolina. We went to play at a school out beyond Waynesville somewhere and we stopped at this place. They sold beer and had slot machines. At that time they were legal in North Carolina. We got in there after the show and got to drinking that beer and playing the slot machines with nickels, dimes and quarters. I think we hit three or four jackpots. Boy, here it would come! You know you had a pile of money when you had two handfuls of change. The name of that place was the 'Salty Dog,' and that's where I got the idea for the song. There's actually more verses to it than me and Wiley sing, a lot more verses."

"Salty Dog" was the most popular number the Morris Brothers ever recorded. According to Wiley, "It's considered a standard. Everybody uses it in the bluegrass field, just about. We're making more money off it now on copyright royalties than we ever did on our record, with other people using it. I reckon that song is known all over the world. When I get my statement every six months, it's being played in every nation under the sun. That song is even popular in Japan! 'Salty Dog' aint one that's gone up to high heaven and then fell completely down. It's just one that's considered a standard. It's our biggest song 'cause it's a good five string banjo number played bluegrass style."

Richie


18 Jun 09 - 05:50 PM (#2659767)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Joe_F

I first heard this song in 1953, from a highschool roommate of blessed memory. He explained that it meant "Let me screw you". No further details.


18 Jun 09 - 06:20 PM (#2659786)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego

I just recalled that I once saw a dixieland jazz band do somewhat altered version of this song in a Sacramento jazz fesival.


18 Jun 09 - 09:47 PM (#2659929)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: fumblefingers

The singer is merely saying: "Let me be your man." A rough and rowdy rounder perhaps, but that's all.


19 Jun 09 - 01:35 PM (#2660313)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: PoppaGator

Another song title/lyric using the term "salty":

Poppa Ain't Salty No More

Kinda muddies the water (in terms of what that term means), doesn't it?


19 Jun 09 - 01:55 PM (#2660342)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: meself

Maybe Poppa decided to go to sea no more ... and got religion ...


19 Jun 09 - 07:04 PM (#2660543)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Stringsinger

The song predates bluegrass by more than a decade. It's a African-American blues party tune.


08 Jan 20 - 08:01 PM (#4027174)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,Ted

I saw a folk duo perform a song of this name back in my school in 1978 or so. In England. They were very clear that "salty dog" was a sexual innuendo.


08 Jan 20 - 09:21 PM (#4027204)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: meself

Any reason to think they knew any better than the rest of us?


09 Jan 20 - 11:49 AM (#4027308)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Lighter

I'd think the writers' own statement (upthread) of what they were thinking should settle it.


09 Jan 20 - 06:53 PM (#4027411)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: rich-joy

Apparently Zeke Morris's claims of writing the song in 1935 were the usual copyright = financial rewards thing. There are earlier recordings and the song is known from black musicians from at least the early 1900s......


10 Jan 20 - 12:02 AM (#4027432)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: cnd

I admit to having not read the whole thread, but I've always heard that "salty dog" is an expression coming from salting a dog to keep fleas and bugs off his fur. Since this took some effort and cost some money, you'd only salt your best/favorite dog, and so your "salty dog" was basically your best friend. That's why they say "let me be your salty dog or I won't be your man at all"


10 Jan 20 - 12:39 AM (#4027434)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: meself

cnd: Is 'salty dog' a term you've heard used outside the context of this song, then?


10 Jan 20 - 01:03 AM (#4027435)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: cnd

No, no, just as an explanation of the name, the term formerly being used but not in many years


10 Jan 20 - 04:26 AM (#4027448)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous

The idea that there is one single meaning, unchanging through time, and somehow crouching in the terms of any folk or trad blues song waiting to be uncovered by those who can crack the code is arguably naïve. Yes, you can draw on your knowledge of contemporary culture and on the accounts of particular singers and their thoughts when they sang it. You can form a theory on that basis. Interesting to do. But who is to say one singer speaks for all the rest? I'm partly with UK folklorist David Atkinson, who discusses this sort of point in connection with ballads on this, on this sort of thing. His work is worth looking up. As this thread shows, lyrics are open to interpretations.


10 Jan 20 - 09:49 AM (#4027506)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Lighter

> "the song is known from black musicians from at least the early 1900s."

Evidence?


10 Jan 20 - 10:26 AM (#4027510)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous

There's a 1924 Papa Charlie Jackson version on Spotify. The version I know is Mississippi John Hurt, though I have heard folk do their own versions live too. Wikipedia quotes Jan Obrecht's book on Jackson as a source for the idea that versions circulated in New Orleans prior to the release of Jackson's '24 version.

Both Hurt's version and Jackson's one both have a tinge of ragtime. Jackson is good on the banjo. I think this chord sequence crops up quite a bit in early guitar ragtime?

Penguin Dictionary of Historical slang gives one meaning of 'salt' as copulate for the verb and also shows its use as a noun, related meaning.
It doesn't list a related historical use as an adjective, but the link seems obvious.


12 Jan 20 - 08:43 PM (#4027906)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Lighter

Pseud, the dictionary you cite covers British, not U.S. slang.

If the question is, "What does 'salty dog' mean in the Morris Bros. song?" I stick to my previous assertion: they've told us what they meant.

Obviously *no* ordinary word must have an essential meaning then, now, and forever.

Historically the term has had various meanings, none of them terrifically well known. Here are examples from primary sources that have nothing to do with the song. If all the meanings have anything in common, it seems to be an underlying idea that a "salty dog" is somebody or something that is special or otherwise remarkable.

The meaning "a sailor" (1914) seems to be a humorous extension.


J. F. Dobie, ed. Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder (Austin: Texas Folklore Society, 1927) 163 (written 1892):
My baby's a salty dog,/ My baby's a dandy,/ My baby's a vinegar pup,/ My baby's the candy.

Dallas Morning News (Apr. 13, 1906) 6:
Muskogee is a progressive city, It has taken to navigation early, and the siren shriek of the "Salty Dog" may be heard at any time bearing down the river with a party of gay and happy excursionists.

New Iberia [La.] Enterprise (July 28), 1906) 3:
SHERIFF'S SALE...FOR CASH....a certain gasoline engine boat named the Salty Dog.

Denver Star (July 18, 1914) 8:
Oh, Peaches and cream, you salty-dog. I am going to that Sunflower Dance at Fern Hall, Monday, July 20.

Fuel Oil Journal (December, 1914) 44:
THE TANK STRAPPER GEORGE SPEARY IS NOW A REGULAR SALTY DOG. John Tucker of the National Supply tells us that George Speary is now a regular navigator, having completed a full course in nautical science.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (July 20, 1916) 4:
Eagle Pass, Tex.--At "Dinty Moore's" they serve a brand new drink - the "salty dog"....It's a lime squashed in carbonated water, and served unsweetened with a cellar of salt.

Denver Post (Apr. 14, 1917) 5:
Jack Benton, better known to his friends as "Salty Dog," is now the popular cook at the Night and Day Cafe.

Charlotte Sunday Observer (Oct. 15, 1922) 8:
George Williams, alias "Salty Dog."

Journal of the House of the State of Missouri, Vol. 1) (1945) 372: Mr. Dent introduced S/Sgt. Jack ("Salty Dog") Welch to the House of Representatives.


12 Jan 20 - 08:47 PM (#4027907)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: meself

What the hell is a "vinegar pup"?


12 Jan 20 - 09:00 PM (#4027909)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: Lighter

A "salty dog." Get it?

Nineteenth-century humor. Ya can't beat it with a stick....


13 Jan 20 - 04:39 PM (#4028105)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST,paperback

Or maybe it, salty dog, morphed from salted cod, a slave staple, and stiff as a board.

bacalhau: stick, staff- https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/bacalhau


17 Jan 20 - 05:03 PM (#4028794)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: cnd

Ironically, I just reading the liner notes of a Benny Martin album (CMH 9006), which wrote:

"SALTY DOG" is one of many songs strongly influenced by Negro blues. It was a very popular recording in 1930 by the Allen Brothers, and again in the 1940s by the Morris Brothers before the 1951 recording by Flatt & Scruggs (with Benny Sims playing the fiddle).


24 Jan 20 - 02:06 AM (#4029858)
Subject: RE: What the hell is a 'salty dog'?
From: GUEST

Lighter 12 Jan 20 - 08:43 PM
...it seems to be an underlying idea that a "salty dog" is somebody or something that is special or otherwise remarkable...

Salt cod & Slavery

"A pound of salted fish or meat was doled out on Sundays to augment the barely survivable diet of the Caribbean plantation slave"

The innuendo seems pretty similar to Salty Dog in this song.

Portuguese Cod
Quim Barreiros


CHORUS: I want to smell your cod Maria 
I want to smell your cod 
Mariazinha let me go to the kitchen, let me go to the kitchen 
P'ra smell your cod

I-Your codfish is really beautiful 
You are the Portuguese with your special dish 
If the smell is good, the tastiest is the stew 
It is the favorite dish of the people of Portugal

II-Your soaked cod 
Tell me if it's from Norway or here from Portugal 
Mariazinha let me smell 
What a delicious thing, I never smelled anything like it - oh

https://youtu.be/Gs-DM-d2xDY

The whole salted cod history is quite interesting, on a whole, it was sorta like the 18th Century's version of canned tuna.