Oak Ridge Boys – “Mama’s Table”
Anyone listening to the Oak Ridge Boys’ two most recent singles back-to-back may get a nasty case of whiplash. The first was a bombastic cover of the White Stripes’ hit “Seven Nation Army;” this one’s a gentle ode to family and quarter-sawn hickory.
Written by Jamey Johnson (a mere facial hair amateur when compared to Oak Ridge Boy William Lee Golden and his warlockian beard) and George Teren (“When I Get Where I’m Going,” “Ladies Love Country Boys”), “Mama’s Table” lovingly relates the comfort that only home can provide in good times and bad: “It was the center of the best times I remember/Sometimes the only thing that brought us all together/Grandma passed it down when I was in the cradle/It’s in my kitchen now, but it’s still my mama’s table.”
The piano intro is a bit treacly and slightly reminiscent of some of Mark Wills’ mid-’90s ballads, but the rest of the song, accented with pedal steel and combined with the ORB’s trademark harmonies more than make up for it. Were it sung by Trace Adkins or another one of country music’s current big guns, “Mama’s Table” would probably be a Top 20 hit. However, the Oak Ridge Boys haven’t had a single on the charts since 1999, although their recent album sales have been fairly decent. “Mama’s Table” is certainly a song that’s worthy of success—it’s worlds better than a few of their semi-recent efforts like, say, “It’s Hard To Be Cool (In A Minivan)”—but it’s likely to be ignored, and that’s a shame.
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