Mamas Have Tried, Still Try, and Will (most likely) Keep on Trying

Note to self: Mother’s day is this coming Sunday.

Even though I’m the son of one and the husband of another I know this largely by accident and knowing probably changes little. I’m sure there’s an app for this kind of thing. Please don’t tell me if there is.

Today in 1968 Merle Haggard, who’s penned a few good mama songs in his time, recorded the mother of them all: Mama Tried. I know what you’re thinking, Mama Tried isn’t the greatest mom song in country music. What about Jimmie Rodgers’ Mother, Queen of My Heart or Hank Williams’ I Dreamed About Mom Last Night, or Hazel Dickens’ Mama’s Hands or Ed Bruce’s Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys? All wonderful country songs of course, but no, not the best.

Merle’s Mama Tried is a two minute and fourteen second class in a how to write a song. From its instantly recognizable intro to its tight tale of personal responsibility, here’s a song of trains, prison and a good mother who tried her best. My guess is Merle has never had much use for psychotherapy. That pretty much sums it up.

Mama Tried; Merle Haggard

Note to You: Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
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4 Responses to Mamas Have Tried, Still Try, and Will (most likely) Keep on Trying

  1. Bruce says:

    Did you get your mothers day card out or is your Mom going to have to feel like “she tried”? Famous mother songs, I don’t know does “Psycho”by Eddie Noak qualify for a mother song?

    • iaanhughes says:

      No, I’m terrible at that. Hopefully someone will invent a device to allow me to speak to her over a great distance soon.

  2. Chris S. says:

    A personal favorite; apparently not a favorite of the cops I serenaded with it in jail on my 21st birthday. Not doing life without parole, just a night for disorderly conduct. My mama did try, though.

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