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Born in April 1, 1897 / Died in August 10, 1948 / United States / English


Lucille Bogan, (nee Armstrong) was born in Amory, Mississippi, on April 1, 1897 and grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. She married Nazareth Bogan, with whom she had two children. Bogan, who also used the pseudonym Bessie Jackson, was a blues writer and performer, known for her explicit lyrics, which covered topics such as sex, prostitution and alcoholism. She first recorded in 1923 in Atlanta, Georgia, after which she recorded for Paramount and Brunswick labels in Chicago. “Shave ‘Em Dry” (perhaps her best known song) was not released for public radio. Bogan performed with pianists Cow Cow Davenport, William Ezell and Walter Roland. After her recording career ended, Bogan returned to Birmingham and managed Bogan’s Birmingham Busters (her son’s group). She moved to California in the late 1930s or early 1940s where she died at home, on August 10, 1948, of coronary sclerosis. She was buried at the Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, in Los Angeles, California.


  • Bourgeois, Anna Stong. Blueswomen: Profiles and Lyrics, 1920-1945. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 1996; ML 54.6 B79B6.