My life began with country music, my dad’s choice of background noise, long before I ever heard any of that rock and/or roll stuff. When I broke away — or, more precisely, ran away — I didn’t abandon country entirely, since various C&W songs still made the Top 40 charts, but I never had quite the same emotional connection to it; as I once noted, country never, ever made me cry.
Until, of course, it did:
Tanya’s about a year off here: “What’s Your Mama’s Name” came out in 1973, when she was fourteen. The narrative here, provided by Dallas Frazier with Earl Montgomery, is clearly first cousin to the one Chuck Berry concocted, um, fourteen years earlier. Both are set in Memphis; both are sagas of broken homes. But Chuck never made me bawl; his song ends on a more or less hopeful note. Tanya’s far sadder tale still makes me lose it, forty-some-odd years later.