Oak Ridge Boys – “Mama’s Table”

Juli Thanki | October 19th, 2009

oak-ridge-boys-mamas-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.

Thumbs Up

  1. nm
    October 19, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    OT, but congratulations on your shout-out in Best of Nashville.

  2. Rick
    October 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    The people who created the RFD cable channel need to create a “Branson, MO” channel for these legacy artists who are trying to revive their careers. The Gatlin Brothers and the Oak Ridge Boys both deserve to lead the parade for fostering the creation of such a channel if they want to reach their fan bases…

  3. J.R. Journey
    October 20, 2009 at 10:50 am

    I like it. The Oaks still have those tight-as-a-drum harmonies too.

  4. Jim Malec
    October 20, 2009 at 11:19 am

    NM–THANKS! I had the by-line wrong on this when it was published, but I really appreciate that note. Seeing that in the Scene was really meaningful to me. I’m very, very humbled.

  5. nm
    October 20, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    “I had the by-line wrong on this when it was published”

    Heh. Thus making this entire thread a mysterious non-sequitur.

  6. Waynoe
    October 20, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    The Oak’s can get it done no matter the song.

  7. Chris N.
    October 20, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Pretty much every thread lately is a mysterious non-sequitur.

  8. nm
    October 20, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Then my work here is done.

  9. Jessica
    October 21, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Their vocals are as solid as mama’s wooden kitchen table and their career keeps going. I never get old hearing the ORB’s. Here are a couple of performances of Mama’s Table:

    CBS Second Cup Cafe
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikVBFJ5vKSw

    Kentucky State Fair 2009:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BJk7XdHXW8

  10. Chris N.
    October 21, 2009 at 11:18 am

    I’d like to add that you’re missing out if you aren’t following Joe Bonsall on Twitter: http://twitter.com/joebonsall

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