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DELUXE 3024; JANUARY, 1949



Having just gotten done – once again – carefully studying Chubby Newsom’s voluptuous figure in Back Bitin’ Woman and thoughtfully considering how that unfortunate curse of nature has put her in the position of having to potentially defend herself from malicious violent attacks by the women whose men she happens to steal from under their noses simply because she was endowed by her creator with certain undeniable gifts, among them looks, charms and unparalleled bedroom skills, she now follows it up with a tender-hearted story of how she was forced to take to bed, presumably in order to heal from those brutal confrontations.

Wait a minute… Whaaaaaat?!?

Oh dammit, maybe I should stop thinking of Chubby’s fine form and listen to the song a bit more closely before I jump to any conclusions about its content, because it occurs to me that this record just might be about more than convalescing in bed after all.

Nocturnal Emissions
The themes of Newsom’s catalog, even after just four songs spread over two singles, is becoming somewhat redundant. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though in normal circumstances it probably would be. But to date when this topic – that of someone gallantly coping with an insatiable sex drive – has been explored it’s always been from the perspective of guys who can’t keep it in their pants (Wynonie Harris, I’m looking right at you!). So to have a female come along and deliver the same sentiments is actually rather refreshing. I mean, what lunkheaded Neanderthal isn’t for women’s lib in this day and age?

Besides, when anything offered up for our perusal is wrapped in the skin-tight dresses of Chubby Newsom it’s bound to elevate the proceedings… not to mention the blood pressure, testosterone and any other bodily function that can be elevated.

So the question she’ll have to face each time out is just how different, and how compelling, she can make the particulars of her three minute pole dance on record. How many possible ways are there to convey such X-rated themes in the era of rigid production code standards?

That’s the basic situation Newsom finds herself in – delivering something base and degenerate in creative fashion while still maintaining reasonable melodic appeal – and yet amazingly, in spite of its inherent limitations she does just that yet again!


Chubby’s Bedroom + Midnight Hour = (Censored)
Helping Newsom in all of this drama after dark is Paul Gayten, who has a budding reputation of his own in the area of musical accompaniment in rock circles. But thus far he’s proving to be often frustrating because, while prodigiously gifted in his own right, he sometimes pulls his punches on otherwise strong ideas.

On Bedroom Blues he offers up something a little different with a slowly waltzing horn refrain that sounds a little bit like the musical equivalent of leering, though that might just be because we know who’s going to be waiting for us when we open the bedroom door.

Sure enough, there’s Chubby in a skimpy teddy leaving no doubt what’s on her mind the moment we meet her as she tells us:

Well it’s midnight in my bedroom
And my love is half way down
And I feel oh so romantic
But my man he ain’t around


Obviously this is quite a dilemma. The noble thing for us to do would be to comfort her in her loneliness, perhaps give her a glass of warm milk, read her a bedtime story and after checking under the bed for monsters we’d tuck her in, kiss her gently on the forehead and turn off the light as we softly closed the door behind us and headed downstairs.

But she seems to have another solution in mind, trying to win our sympathies by telling us how bad she feels and asking us to stay a little longer.

Oh well, you tell yourself, it’s not THAT late. You were planning on doing a little late night reading anyway and you don’t have to get up too early tomorrow morning… what the heck, you say, you’ll stick around until Chubby drifts off to dreamland.

We’ll Just Get Groovy Baby
You may even be able to convince yourself, and the moral authorities, of this alternate reality because the music never lets on as to any ulterior motives she may have, which is surprisingly effective all things considered. The yin and the yang of the situation, her barely concealed yearning (and ahhh… other barely concealed attributes) mixing with the lullaby-esque backing track makes for either a conflicting mindset in the listener… or the perfect cover for what may soon happen when the lights go out.

Newsom’s cadences on Bedroom Blues are familiar, she’s using the same type of delivery as we’ve heard before from her, surely honed to perfection in real life, of halting, teasing and leaving plenty of pregnant pauses to stir the imagination of those in the audience. Maybe the fact that she’s working hard at seducing us means we aren’t focusing so much on the lack of variance in her approach from song to song and are more concerned with imagining the outcome of such stanzas as:

I’ve got clean sheets on my bed
Perfume on the rug
So don’t you men be bashful
Give your Chubby one big hug!

I’m guessing it’s not the same kind of hug you’d give your grandmother… or your dog… or even your grandmother’s dog.

But the thing is even with its obviousness… it WORKS!

It shouldn’t work, certainly not nearly as well after three previous romps with her, but our motors can’t stop racing once she enters the picture. Her methods are as flimsy and transparent as a negligée but guys are far from discerning when it comes to using proper judgment when just such a gal delivers a saucy come-on while feigning innocence with a knowing smirk that gives away the game plan in case we’re too dense to pick up on it all.

We even run the risk – although I find that I have to offer a reminder that this is just a fictitious story from a song seven decades ago – of getting jealous when she implies there are multiple men she’s got her eye on for satisfying her urges. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fist-fight broke out in the record bins when reaching for her latest release and judging by her ensuing popularity as a live attraction for a number of years following her one and only national hit (her debut, Hip Shakin’ Mama, which laid out Newsom’s rather shallow desires perfectly clear from the start), this was probably the case wherever she appeared.

Pull The Shades And Padlock The Door
So Newsom is working with a stacked deck in Bedroom Blues and yet it doesn’t matter to us in the least. She tosses out vague compliments mixed with warnings for those who can’t live up to her requirements in the sack and every guy within earshot is sizing themselves up in the mirror, sure that she’ll find him to her liking.

And of course she knows this too and is enjoying all of the reactions she’s getting in the process. Despite her coy flirtation that suggests a night of rapturous joy for some lucky fella she’s the one having the last laugh in all of this and you’re just the eager but gullible victim (don’t worry fellas, if it’s not obvious by the scores I’ve given her thus far, I’m right alongside you… all for one and… well, all for one and her for me and go screw yourselves while you’re at it, she’s mine, I wrote about her first!).

Anyway as one-note acts go Chubby Newsom has found herself a winner. Flaunt those hips, coo in our ears and we’ll lay down our money to hear you do the same basic thing over and over again.

Yet Bedroom Blues is just different enough to have us defend our attraction to it even after the image of Newsom vanishes from our minds like she was just a mirage. To bolster our case we’ll start by pointing to the slow seductive pace of the horns, putting us in a sleepy trance as it goes along. After all for a record set in a bedroom that’s probably appropriate, wouldn’t you say?

Then we’ll credit the lyrical couplets for being just risqué enough to ensure we’ll grin in spite of ourselves, while also congratulating them for not simply making it a recitation of dirty limericks and instead by allowing the unspoken suggestiveness they contain to add to the allure.

But most of all we’ll praise Chubby Newsom herself for pulling it all off with a minimum of effort, letting her already established reputation mix with our imaginations until we’ve taken her simple charcoal sketches that make up the song on paper and filled them in until the record itself is bursting with colorful details across the vivid landscape of our mind.

She works this deceptive slight of hand with our full knowledge AND our consent and even as we’re handing our money over to her after losing this rigged shell game one more time we consider it well worth it for the experience itself. A chance to see a true master at something elemental in life ply her trade in the public market.

While that naturally means none of us will fully partake in the situation she describes outside of our fantasies, we may actually consider ourselves relieved that at least nobody else we’re competing with in the human race will be joining her in the winner’s circle either.

I Know I Wouldn’t Feel So Sad
All over the world tonight variations of this theme are playing out in similarly staged productions – in strip clubs or drama theaters, movie houses or rock concert stages, it matters little – and in real life as well. A guy eyes a girl out of his league in each and every bar along the boulevard and wonders to himself if he’d have a chance if he approached her.

Most probably never will work up the courage to find out, but songs like Bedroom Blues and artists like Chubby Newsom ensures they’ll always at least think they have an outside shot at success in that scenario. Whether or not they recklessly try their luck when aiming over their heads or if they merely entertain the thought in their minds while they stay quiet and maintain their self-respect, by the mere act of listening to songs that replicate the situation in a controlled environment it means they’ll never be spending their nights completely alone even if they rarely leave their apartment.

It may only be a detached voice coming out of speakers across the darkened room but the effect it can have in cueing up the desired scene in your mind as you drift off to sleep in your OWN bedroom means there’ll always be a market for such emotional artifice in rock.

Call it shtick if you must, but Chubby Newsom carved a solid career out of that shtick, giving listeners across a broad spectrum exactly what they were after and she did so without ever so much as getting her own sheets dirty for the maid to clean up the following morning.


(Visit the Artist page of Chubby Newsom for the complete archive of her records reviewed to date)