Mama used to SING!!!!

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I suppose you could say I’m in a pretty good mood today. Aside from an abundance of recent doctor bills, a lil’ bit of neck pain and the usual feeling of not wanting to be at work, I’m good. I’m sitting here at my desk whistling a song. My co-workers have told me that when I hum and whistle it’s usually an indication that I’m not in a bad mood. I need to work on that a lil’ bit. I can’t be fussing at folks or give blank stares and then sit down in my office whistling the theme from Andy Griffith. Anyway, the song I was whistling today is a song that I used to hear my mom sing all the time. It’s Natalie Cole’s “I’ve Got Love On My Mind”. I was suddenly taken back to the late 70’s when I was a kid and Ma used to play her records and sing along to them.

It didn’t matter whether Ma was in the kitchen cooking, cleaning the house or just relaxing. Ma would take that vinyl disc from the album jacket and place it in the record player. I remember because I always got excited seeing the arm of the record player magically move to the precise location on the edge of the record and start playing. It was so thrilling to me. I could never figure out how so much music could be contained in those small grooves. I’d even take the albums out and look at them closely with the magnifying glass that I got inside of one of those sugar cereals.

Anyway, I remember seeing how happy Ma would get as she sang along with her favorite artists. Off the top of my head I can name a few of them, along with some of the songs I recollect her playing and singing along with. Ma must’ve had full albums of these because I remember more than a few songs from these artists.

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Natalie Cole

  • I’ve Got Love On My Mind
  • This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
  • Inseparable
  • Our Love
  • I Can’t Say No
  • Sophisticated Lady

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The O’Jays

  • I Love Music
  • Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love)
  • Use Ta Be My Girl
  • Back Stabbers
  • Love Train
  • For The Love Of Money
  • Give The People What They Want
  • Family Reunion

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The Spinners

  • The Rubberband Man
  • Working My Way Back To You
  • Sadie
  • I’ll Be Around
  • Could It Be I’m Falling In Love

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Peaches & Herb

  • Shake Your Groove Thing
  • We’ve Got Love
  • Reunited

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Lou Rawls

  • Groovy People
  • You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine

Now she might’ve been full albums or even 45’s of these because I tend to just recall one primary song from these artists.

  • Lean On Me – Melba Moore
  • Best Of My Love – Emotions
  • Hollywood – Rufus & Chaka Khan
  • (Every time I Turn Around) Back In Love Again – LTD w/Jeffrey Osbourne
  • Car Wash – Rose Royce (Car Wash Soundtrack)
  • Let’s Do It Again – Staple Singers (Let’s Do It Again soundtrack)
  • Too Much, Too Little, Too Late – Johnny Mathis & Deniece Williams
  • You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show) – Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

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I recall all of these songs as well as hits from other artists including Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers, Ohio Players, Al Green, The Whispers, Aretha Franklin, Teddy Pendergrass, Rick James, Ashford & Simpson, Gladys Knight & The Pips, The Temptations, Roberta Flack & of course James Brown.

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I’m sure there are more songs and/or artists that I have forgotten, but those are the main ones that have remained with me since those younger years. Ma sang with so much joy and emotion, that I couldn’t help but to be happy and smile too. Hold up, I do remember one song that she played that used to scare me though. When she played this song, I thought it was a woman crying. Wanna know what that song was??? It was Reasons by Earth, Wind & Fire. I’m sorry, but you couldn’t have told me back then that Philip Bailey wasn’t a woman singing a sad song. I used to go back in my room and turn the TV up loud so I wouldn’t have to hear that song.

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Now ya know, even the kid had his favorites too. Ma had two 45’s of my favorite songs. I don’t remember if she had them prior or bought them because I liked those songs. The two songs were Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas and the Welcome Back Kotter theme song by John Sebastian. My favorite album was Destiny by the Jackson 5. I would play the two aforementioned songs all day long, as well as the Jacksons on my record player. Just imagine me singing “Don’t blame it on sunshine, Don’t blame it on moonlight, Don’t blame it on good times, Blame it on the boogie”, while in my bedroom pretending to be Dr. J as I dunked my Nerf basketball over on the basket hanging over the door. My other favorite song on that album was Shake Your Body. I’d be hollering “Let’s dance, Let’s shout, Shake you body down to the ground” while emulating Tony Dorsett running into the end zone for the Cowboys.

Anyway, I still get a warm feeling when Ma sings. The majority of her singing over the past number of years has been in the church where she’s standing at the pulpit singing for service or maybe a special program. The excitement of the proud son is still there. There’s just a certain joy I get from seeing the happy expressions that Ma makes when she sings. Sometimes I’m overcome to the point where I’ll get a little teary eyed as I smile. Unfortunately, (fortunately for those who love their eardrums) the singing vibes weren’t passed down to me. I can’t carry a tune to save my life. I mean, I don’t even sing in the shower. I’ll keep doing what I do now and that’s engineer, run the mixing boards and do sound for people who do sing. Being in the shadows and making those that do sing sound real good, has always been my forte.

You ever sit back and reminisce on the songs that your mom sang when you were a kid? If so, what were some of the tunes that you remember? Those are some wonderful moments aren’t they?

Peace-N-Love

G.Mo

12 thoughts on “Mama used to SING!!!!”

  1. aiight, this is my favorite entry from you. i LOVE music and this took me BACK.

    so ‘reasons’? was it the live version you’re talking about? cuz that studio version was tame, but that ‘gratitude’ version was screeching. when i think back, it scared my brother and i, too. that’s when mom would have us out there in the living room with her and we’d dance while she sang the lyrics.

    those memories…wow

    this brought a smile to my morning, g. mo. thanks for that 🙂

  2. Although you tried to dis my football team on my blog…I do love this post. Shoot, I listen to all of those songs now. Good music. Exactly what is lacking today.

  3. man, you hit the spot with this one. Not a day goes by when i’m not into music. my iPod currently has over 4,000 songs in it and yes, i listen to them all. Obviously not all at once, but i have playlists that i can go to for specific moods/occasions. my ole skool and classix playlists have many of the songs/artists you named here. now that is REAL music, not this watered down, over sampled, wanna be lyrics like we get today. you took me down memory lane and for that G.Mo, I’m grateful…it’s nice to know there are still music afficiandos out there.

  4. Dude…you know I’m like, diggin’ the blog. Loved the script today. But I gotta ask, why you wanna make a light, bright, really white brotha feel old? I mean, I actually BOUGHT those 8-tracks back in the day. They were my teenage jamz.

    Damn I’m old!

    By the way, GROOVY PEOPLE is a “damnit” killer song. I loved Lou. And EW&F…greatest band of all time. But I will say I wish all of y’all could have seen the MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION. I have never seen a concert even close to that. The Funk was the thing – I’m teelin’ ya – it was all about the Funk!

  5. I think about my grandma just sitting on the porch and humming while watching us play in the yard. She would sing hymns and spirituals and then just sit there and hum.

    good post man…

  6. Oh man! You brought back some memories!!! We had this giant stereo system in the house and mom dukes would put on records all the time. Especially, Saturday mornings, bright and early, cleaning the house. Teddy Pendergrass, Isaac Hayes, Commodores, Peaches & Herb, Smokey Robinson..she looooved Smokey and EWF – what?! Sister Sledge – “We are fam-i-ly!” haha Thanks for the great post!

  7. I think that this is one of the sweetest posts I have read in years…(well not years because I haven’t been on here but a couple of months…but you get what I am saying)
    I love music…I mean Love Love Love music…it can totally MAKE my day, so I feel you….one day my son will say, “I remember when my mother would sing…Golden Time of Day…but man she can’t sing”…*smiling*
    Keep on singing…

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