Never a Pal Like Mother is a gorgeous collection of vintage songs and wistful black-and-white photographs, all of which relate, in one way or another, to the state and subject of maternity. It’s also a pitch-perfect Mother’s Day present.
Assembled, with a great deal of care, by Atlanta’s Dust-to-Digital record label, the book-slash-album package comes with two CDs, which contain 20 songs each. (“One was often permanently separated from one’s mother in early adulthood, or late adolescence, either by distance or death,” Rosanne Cash writes in the foreword. “A longing suffused the rest of life. … Out of that longing came these songs.”) You’ll hear tracks by the Louvin Brothers (“God Bless Her, She’s My Mother”), the Carter Family (“Hold Fast to the Right”), Frankie “Half-Pint” Jaxon (the wonderful “Mama Don’t Allow It,” which picks up where W. C. Handy’s “E.H. Crump Blues” left off), Leon Bukasa (“Masanga”), the Reverend J. M. Gates (“You Mother Heart Breakers”), Bob Wills (“Tie Me to Your Apron Strings Again”), and not a few others as you flip through the photographs. The earliest was recorded in 1927; the most recent, in 1956. And we’re giving away one of the best—“That’s No Way to Get Along,” by Robert Wilkins, which you might recognize as the basis of a Rolling Stones song called “Prodigal Son”—as an MP3 download.
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