This week at the Theme Park, we dedicated all of our songs to Mothers and we opened the show with a slice of all-girl pop-perfection, from the Shirelles: MAMA SAID THERE’D BE DAYS LIKE THESE. Which was ironic, really, as I did have one of those days. The climax came when, as I’m running to the station, I dropped my ‘fancy’ CD case (valued at a whopping $20 from Crazy Clarks discount shop). It hits the tarmac and smashes to pieces, scattering all my CDs and most of them landed in a giant rain puddle. And there was 15 minutes to show time! One mini panic attack later, and a quick wipe of all the CDs, not to mention a nut bar for sustenance (thanks Lina!) and all was well. Whew.
Now if music is anything to go by, mothers beat fathers hands down. There’s no ‘Mama Was A Rolling Stone’ or ‘Mama Don’t Preach’. Musically, mothers are loving, saintly, all-knowing and, at worst, gently disapproving. Apart from Eminem’s Mum, that is, who, if her son is to be believed, is the Wicked Witch of the East. Proof was in the pudding as we followed MAMA TALK TO YOUR DAUGHTER by Magic Sam with some Outkast. A separated dad says sorry to his “baby mama’s mama” (MS JACKSON), although Big Boi’s stroppy verses suggest it’s something of a qualified apology.
Then it was the Scissor Sisters with TAKE YOUR MAMA OUT about a gay son inviting his mum on a messy weekender, and in total contrast, Gram Parsons remembering every small detail about his deceased mother’s life in BRASS BUTTONS.
There are literally hundreds of versions of the slavery-era spiritual SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE A MOTHERLESS CHILD, but I chose O.V.Wright’s version for this week’s show. Then it was Ruth Brown confiding to her Mum: MAMA, HE TREATS YOUR DAUGHTER MEAN. Check out this great video from 1955. That’s one red hot mama, for sure:
Etta James, who’s mother Dorothy Hawkins was an unmarried 14 year old when she gave birth to Etta (or Jamesetta, as it was then), belted it out with TELL MAMA. And then Ruthie Foster, so good at the recent Blues Fest, impressed again with OCEAN OF TEARS from her album Runaway Soul. I also included one of my favourites, a truly tragic tune from Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, RABBIT FUR COAT.
This week’s Roy Orbison track was a rare one: MOTHER. That was preceded by the king of Honky Tonk – Lefty Frizell with MAMA. Here’s a bit of trivia for you: Fellow Texan Roy Orbison was a devout fan of Frizzell’s sound, and in 1988, as a part of the supergroup, the Travelling Wilburys he chose the name “Lefty Wilbury” to honor his musical hero.
Then it was time for Pink Floyd’s ode to the overprotective matriarch. From their album The Wall – MOTHER. After that, it seemed time to lighten the mood somewhat. STACEY’S MOM finds Chris Collingwood, of the Fountains of Wayne, in love with his girlfriend’s Mother. (Thanks Zoe, for that request – a cute bit of pop). Bobby Peterson indicated why you would never let your boyfriend babysit with MAMA GET YOUR HAMMER and then a bit of nostalgia and one for all the spunky single mums out there: HARPER VALLEY PTA from Jeannie C. Riley. I didn’t know that they had made a film with the same title, starring the gorgeous Barbara Eden, but here’s proof, courtesy of You Tube:
I loved the next song: EAT FOR TWO by 10,000 Maniacs. Although Natalie Merchant seems somewhat ambivalent as the pregnant narrator, I must say. It’s from the 1989 album ‘Blind Man’s Zoo’. And then it was John Lennon’s JULIA, a song that epitomizes the fact that some mothers are influential because of their absence. Think also of McCartney, Hendrix, Bono and Madonna who all lost their mums before the age of 18.
I also adore the Dixie Chicks and included two of their songs in this week’s show. The first,WIDE OPEN SPACES, is a beautiful song about leaving Mum and venturing out into the big wide world. The second is LULLABY, a poignant tune especially when you know that two of the Dixies experienced fertility problems so their motherhood was well-earned. LULLABY closed the show beautifully but not before we played some more Hip-Hop.
Now I know that Hip-hop is not renowned for its sentimentality, but even the roughest rapper becomes a pile of mush where his mum is concerned. Quite right too. For me, rap’s greatest tear-jerker is ALL THAT I GOT IS YOU, with its Jackson Five sample, rubbing against Ghostface Killah’s memories of his flawed but loving single Mum. And when Mary J Blige swoops in, singing the role of Ma Killah … brilliant. Note that although Mary J Blige did sing her part in the song she was unavailable for the music video and was replaced by Wu-Tang Clan’ singer, Tekitha, for the hook and second verse. Check it out:
Next week: I’ve been challenged to do a show on Swines (having a go at my urge to be topical?!) but hey, even I would have trouble finding getting that one together. So the compromise is Doctors (and Nurses/Hospitals…). That should be doable. Any suggestions?
Meanwhile, here’s the complete playlist from this week:
Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This – The Shirelles
Mama Talk To Your Daughter – Magic Sam
Ms. Jackson – Outkast
Brass Buttons – Gram Parsons
Take Your Mama Out – Scissor Sisters
Motherless Child – O.V. Wright
Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean – Ruth Brown
Tell Mama – Etta James
Rabbit Fur Coat – Jenny Lewis with The Watson Twins
Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon
Ocean Of Tears (Mama) – Ruthie Foster
Mama – Lefty Frizzell
Mother – Roy Orbison
Mama Told Me Not To Come – Three Dog Night
Mother – Pink Floyd
Stacey’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
Mama, Get Your Hammer – Bobby Peterson Quintet
Harper Valley P.T.A .- Jeannie C. Riley
Eat For Two – 10,000 Maniacs
Julia – John Lennon
Sons And Daughters – The Decemberists
Veiled In Grey – Mystery Jets
Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks
Does Your Mother Know – Abba
Lady Madonna – The Beatles
Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow? – The Rolling Stones
That’s All Right Mama – Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup
My Country Sugar Mama – Howlin’ Wolf
All That I Got Is You – Ghostface Killah
Lullaby – Dixie Chicks
Next week: Doctors
Listen to Lyn at the Theme Park on BayFM 99.9 Tuesdays 2-4pm Sydney time. Also streaming at http://www.bayfm.org.org
Posted on May 6, 2009, in community radio, music - nostalgia, music, blues, music, country, music, r&b, music, soul, Radio Program, Roy Orbison, Uncategorized and tagged Australia, Blues, Byron Bay, country, hip-hop, music, pop, R&B, radio, rock, Roy Orbison, soul, Theme music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.