Top 5 Mother-In-Law Songs Besides "Mother In Law"

Categories: Miles-tones

Former owner Betty Fox at New Orleans' Mother-In-Law Lounge
Q: What is the ideal weight for a mother-in-law?

A: About 2.3 pounds, including the urn.

Rocks Off has more or less been content with bachelorhood our entire life, so we have no idea what having a mother-in-law is like. We're fairly certain we're not going to be finding out anytime soon. But from what we can tell, our few married friends seem to get along with their mothers-in-law just fine.

They make good babysitters, we hear.

On this day in 1936, a man was born who immortalized these supposed harpies and battle axes in song forever and ever. Written by fellow New Orleans native Allen Toussaint, Ernie K-Doe's "Mother In Law" topped the R&B and pop charts in 1961, and has since been covered by a long list of people including Herman's Hermits, Clarence Carter, the Coasters and Huey Lewis & the News.

K-Doe died in 2001, after being identified with "Mother In Law" and little else for a solid 40 years. He even named the nightclub he and wife Antoinette owned in the Big Easy - what else? - the Mother-In-Law Lounge. That song dominates the field of musical mother-in-law tributes (cough) so completely that Rocks Off had some difficulty even finding five other ones.

But we managed.

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5. B.B. King & Bobby "Blue" Bland, "Mother In Law Blues": Credited to Little Junior Parker, this blues standard is probably the second most famous mother-in-law song of all time. It's hard to go wrong with Bland and King's version, appropriately paired with "Mean Old World" on 1976's Together Again...Live, which goes a little something like this: Man gets drunk and comes to at sunrise to witness his mother-in-law leading his baby away by the hand. Damn right he's got the blues.

4. Vybz Kartel, "Mother In Law": Vybz Kartel, whose other songs include "Pussy Jaw" and "Tightest Punani," has such a thick Jamaican patois on this 2010 dancehall bumper it's a little hard to make out what he's saying. But he doesn't sound happy about it at all.

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The mother law song that my mother used to sing was something like this...Come sit down beside me I'll sing you a ditty, the saddest story that you've ever heard, now want you tell me that it is a pitty that I have to live with my mother-in law. She is so ugly she frightens the children when she goes walking out on the street, he mouth it looks like a crack in a pumpkin and a hump on her back and has very large feet.  ...more verses   that i can't remember exactly, could anyone help me out


As a post script, it should be added that in his final years, one of Ernie K-Doe's best friends was -- of all people -- his MOTHER IN LAW! His late wife Antoinette's mother. They were so close and buddy-buddy that at one point a frustrated Miss Antoinette fussed at him and told him "You should have married her instead of me." Now, if that isn't funny I don't know what is. And, by the way, the photo of Miss Antoinette's daughter, Betty Fox, standing in front of the Mother in Law Lounge was one that I shot just before the lounge closed in December of last year. I was one of the "regulars" there for the past ten years since Ernie's passing. --- Dean Shapiro - New Orleans

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