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Hmm… I wonder THIS song is about?

A new food trend sweeping Los Angeles where to cut serving times in half and thus seat more customers at your restaurant during an evening they’ve combined the main course and desert into one dish?

That seems reasonable enough… with limited seating rapid turnover is very important for a business to succeed.

Or is it possible that we’re overlooking an alternative meaning these words might carry with them… one that your classier establishments might not feel comfortable advertising on a menu?

Well… only one way to find out, I suppose. Pull up a chair, unfold your napkin and – oh boy! – just close your eyes and open your mouth.


Yes, Any Old Time
There is a long line of off-color songs featuring sexual euphemisms that appeared in music since the earliest days of records.

When looking for a hit, especially in a Black music field where airplay was basically a non-entity no matter what you sang about for the first thirty years of the radio age, it made a lot of sense to cut songs like Chocolate Pork Chop Man, simply because you knew it’d catch people’s eye, pique their interest and, if at all good – or just plain smutty – it’d stir pretty decent word of mouth which would increase sales and let you pay your bills for another month or two.

But as an artist if that’s ALL you did, it’d get pretty tiresome and would severely limit your musical options after awhile.

Which is why someone it was perfect for someone like Pete Lewis, whose primary gig was as a guitarist for Johnny Otis and whose solo releases were more or less a way for a record label to curry favor with Otis as they were still hoping to get him under contract after he spurned them last time he was free to sign with them a year ago… yeah, good luck with that!

Besides, Lewis was probably going to get a song or two as the lead singer on the huge live shows that Otis put on, so in that environment, where enthusiastic audience response was the best – and only – barometer of your appeal, why wouldn’t you sing a song as racy as this and hope that your audience was as hungry for the meal you were serving as you were for their cheers.


I Hope You Understand What I Said
Naturally the allure of these kinds of records are a little different than your usual rock offerings.

Yes, you’d still appreciate a good melody, solid rhythm, skilled vocals and musical virtuosity, but they’re all going to take a back seat to a litany of salacious lyrics and a few suggestive grunts or moans thrown in at no added expense.

In that regard Pete “Guitar” Lewis doesn’t live up those rather limited goals, meaning those of you who have come here today in the hopes of getting a thrill by just reading about something you could actually SEE in all of its glory on other websites will be vastly disappointed.

On other hand this shows he had more in mind than just eliciting some tittered laughter in the corner from those still too inexperienced with the real thing.

Chocolate Pork Chop Man may not ever be aiming for Gershwin-like sophistication in its writing, but at least tries to build a sensible story around the theme, as Lewis is advertising his wares but at the same time emphasizing his own needs in the process.

He seems to be after either a specific girl, or just casting a wide net for the right girl, rather than just any and every girl in the vicinity. He sounds a bit emotionally bruised in fact, his voice taking on none of the characteristics that a braggart like Wynonie Harris would be employing under similar circumstances.

Lewis softly croons his plea for a girl to call him… hardly the actions of somebody so in demand that he just has to show his face in public to have swarms of willing ladies tearing his clothes to shreds. He may get around to boasting of his prowess eventually, telling them “I’ll rock and roll you until we both are dead”, but he sounds as if he’s already on the critical list as he winds his vocals back down again after that slightly more vigorous outburst.

The sad fact of the matter is that Lewis the singer wasn’t up to the task, no matter how sufficient his pork chop was for other activities. His voice isn’t deep enough, his projection isn’t strong enough and his attitude isn’t cocky enough to make you think he can back up his claims.

He frankly does a little better by just whipping it out and playing with it in front of you – his guitar I mean – as he takes a tension filled solo while Leard Bell’s drums and the horns fill in the blanks behind him. But even that is done without any real explosive effect, something perhaps evident in the fact that Devonia Williams – the only female brave enough to actually be in the room with him – sounds fairly unimpressed by his instrument and is just rattling off listless fills on the piano to pass the time.

Though we don’t want to cast aspersions on his real-life bedroom artistry, if this record is any indication you’ll still be hungry after the meal is finished.


When All Your Other Men Are Gone
You can’t really say this title is misleading, but it’s certainly unfulfilling if you bought it hoping for a perverse thrill.

Considering that its raunchy allusion was the very thing that was going to draw you into this roadside diner in the first place, it’s kind of hard to justify even charging you for what’s being served up by this so-called Chocolate Pork Chop Man when it doesn’t live up to even the shallowest reading of its contents.

Though it wasn’t a hit at the time, in the years since apparently that’s still enough to give it a longer afterlife than it deserves, but then again I think we all know what type of hapless incels and shut-ins are attracted to those compilations of naughty songs from the past, so maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that.

Considering that Ralph Bass and Federal Records weren’t expecting any commercial returns from any single that Pete “Guitar” Lewis may have issued, it didn’t hurt to send one out that might get charged with false advertising but still get a few extra nickels shoved in a jukebox to find that out.

Who knows, maybe doctors will be smart and hand this record out to overweight patients to get them to cut out both sweets and fatty meat from their diet. It might not get you to shed the pounds but one thing’s for certain anyway, listening to this sure won’t increase your appetite for either one of those things.


(Visit the Artist page of Pete “Guitar” Lewis for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)