MARY BRASWELL: Looking Back, May 11, 2014

HISTORY: Songs about mothers

Each week Albany Herald researcher Mary Braswell looks for interesting events, places and people from the past. You can contact her at (229) 888-9371 or mary.braswell@albanyherald.com.

This week is a hodgepodge of tunes written to a mother and/or about a mother - with selected lyrics and by artists of my choice.

“A Bible & A Bus Ticket Home” - Collin Raye (1994)

Took a rented room on Broadway

And as I unpacked everything I owned

I found a note my mamma left me

With a Bible and a bus ticket home

It said, ‘One will get you where you’re going

When you haven’t got a prayer

And one will bring you back son

If your dreams ain’t waiting there’

“I Wouldn’t Trade the Silver in My Mother’s Hair” - Eddy Arnold (1950)

I wouldn’t trade the silver in my mother’s hair

For all the gold in the world

The hands that rocked my cradle through all my baby days

Are treasures from the sky that money cannot buy

“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” was an immediate hit for Jimmy Boyd in 1952. How old was he when the song was recorded?

a) 10

b) 12

c) 14

d) 16

“Mama Tried” - Merle Haggard (1968)

And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole

No one could steer me right but mama tried, mama tried

Mama tried to raise me better but her pleading, I denied

That leaves only me to blame ‘cause mama tried

“Mama Said” - The Shirelles (1961)

Mama said there’ll be days like this

There’ll be days like this mama said

(Mama said, mama said)

Mama said there’ll be days like this

There’ll be days like this my mama said

(Mama said, mama said)

“A Song for Mama” - Boyz II Men (1997)

Mama, mama you know I love you

Oh you know I love you

Mama, mama you’re the queen of my heart

Your love is like tears from the stars

Mama, I just want you to know

Lovin’ you is like food to my soul

“I’ll Always Love My Mama” - The Intruders (1973)

I’ll always love my Mama

She’s my favorite girl

I’ll always love my Mama

She brought me in this world

“Mama Sang a Song” - Bill Anderson (1962)

Mama took the hymn book down

And Mama sang a song

(What a friend we have in Jesus)

I’ve been rocked to sleep many a night

To the tune of, ‘What a friend’

And come morning ‘Rock of ages’

Would wake me gently once again

“Mother” - John Lennon (1970)

Mother, you had me but I never had you

I wanted you, you didn’t want me

So I, I just got to tell you

Goodbye, goodbye

“Mama Told Me Not to Come” – Three Dog Night (1970)

Open up the window, let some air into this room

I think I’m almost chokin’ from the smell of stale perfume

And that cigarette you’re smokin’ ‘bout scare me half to death

Open up the window, sucker, let me catch my breath

Mama told me not to come

Mama told me not to come

“That ain’t the way to have fun, son”

“Tell Mama” - Etta James (1967)

That girl you had didn’t have no sense

She wasn’t worth all the time that you spent

She had another man throw you outdoors

Now the same man is wearing your clothes, I want you to

Tell Mama all about it

Tell Mama what you need

Tell Mama what you want

And I’ll make everything alright

Coat of Many Colors - Dolly Parton (1971)

My coat of many colors

That my momma made for me

Made only from rags

But I wore it so proudly

Although we had no money

I was rich as I could be

In my coat of many colors

My momma made for me

“Mama’s Family Bible” - George Jones (1990)

Mama’s family bible, oh, what a book

It inspired me every time I looked

At all the scriptures that she marked and loved

Mama’s family bible is the treasure I’m proud of.

“That’s What Mamas Do” - Jason Matthews (2008)

They raise you,

ground you

Build their whole world around you

And they’ll carry the weight of your world too

That’s what mamas do

“The Sweetest Gift” - Linda Ronstadt w/Emmylou Harris (1975)

One day a mother went to a prison

To see an erring but precious son

She told the warden how much she loved him

It did not matter what he had done

She did not bring to him a parole or pardon

She brought no silver, no pomp or style

It was a halo bright sent down from heaven’s light

The sweetest gift, a mother’s smile

“Give Mother My Crown” Flatt Scruggs (1956)

She labored so hard in this world below

She didn’t have things that most mothers know

Raising her children on a widow’s small pay

Washing and ironing since dad passed away

I wanna go to heaven when this life is over

I wanna be with Jesus on eternity shore

But if I’ve a crown coming when rewards go around

Please blessed Jesus give mother my crown

“Don’t Forget to Remember Me” - Carrie Underwood (2006)

We were loading up that Chevy

Both tryin’ not to cry

Momma kept on talking

Putting off good-bye

Then she took my hand and said

‘Baby don’t forget

Before you hit the highway

You better stop for gas

There’s a 50 in the ashtray

In case you run short on cash

Here’s a map and here’s a Bible

If you ever lose your way

“Treat Your Mother Right” - Mr. T (1984)

M is for the moan, and the miserable groan

from the pain that she felt when I was born

O is for the oven with it’s burnin’ heat

where she stood makin’ sure I had something to eat

T is for the time that she stayed up at night

and took my temperature when I wasn’t feelin’ right

H is for the hard earned money she spent

to keep clothes on my back and try to pay da’ rent

E is every wrinkle I put on her face

and every worry that I caused when I stayed out late

The last letter R is that she taught me respect

and for the room up in heaven that I know she’ll get

“Your Mother And Mine” -Walt Disney’s Peter Pan (1953)

Well, a mother, a real mother

Is the most wonderful person in the world

She’s the angel voice that bids you good night

Kisses your cheek, whispers, “Sleep tight”

“Mother” - Ray Charles (2002)

And I surely still do miss my mother

Doesn’t matter how old that i grow

Mother’s love will stay with me all through life

No matter where I go

“I Dreamed about Mama Last Night” -Hank Williams as Luke the Drifter (1951)

I’ve just been to heaven with someone so true I dreamed about mama last night

She read me the Bible like she used to do I dreamed about mama last night

She never close her eyes to sleep till we were all in bed

And on party nights when we come home she often sat and read

We little thought about it then for we were young and gay

Just how much mama worried when we children were away

“Mama Knows” - Shenandoah (1988)

Mama knows, Mama knows

Sometimes I think she’s got a window to my soul

Mama knows, Mama knows

Even when I think it doesn’t show

Mama knows

“Mama Liked the Roses” - Elvis Presley (1969)

When I hear the Sunday bells ringing in the morning

I remember crying when she used to sing

Oh, mama liked the roses but most of all she cared

About the way we learned to live

And if we said our prayers


b) 12 was the age of Jimmy Boyd when he recorded “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” - 2.5 million copies sold within weeks of its release.