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In French Creole, salté means “dirty.” To jouer en salté means to play a dirty trick on someone. In Wright’s English Dialect Dictionary, salty appears to have an Old English meaning similar to “horny.” It was used to describe “of a bitch,” meaning a female dog that was maris appetens:“in heat,” or wanting to have sexual relations with a male dog.
In blues songs like “Salty Dog,” and “Candy Man,” the salty dog is someone who wants to have sex without taking on the responsibility or restraints of a love relationship. In “Candy Man,” the Reverend Gary Davis sang about a woman who told him:
If you can’t be my candy man
you can’t be my salty dog
In “Salty Dog,” Mississippi John Hurt states:
Oh baby let me be your salty dog
I don’t want to be your man at all
I want to be your salty dog
The song “Salty Dog Blues” is a folk song from the early 1900s. The earliest known recording is from 1924, by influential bluesman Papa Charlie Jackson.
In the “slang gets grosser over time” department, Urban Dictionary reports that a salty dog is “the act of having sex with one girl, and then meeting up with another shortly after and having her perform oral sex.”
“Candy Man”- Rev. Gary Davis
“Salty Dog”- Mississippi John Hurt (John Smith Hurt)
Mississippi John Hurt – “Salty Dog”