On this Mother’s Day, I take a moment away from Old Time Blues’ usual dedication to long gone musicianers to spend a moment of appreciation for all the beloved mothers of the world, not least my own.
Though nowadays rather receded from their former stature within popular culture, there once existed nearly an entire genre of “mother songs” dedicated to maternal appreciation, songs like Fiddlin’ John Carson’s “You’ll Never Miss Your Mother ‘Till She’s Gone”, Jimmie Rodgers’ “Mother, the Queen of My Heart”, and Rudyard Kipling’s “Mother o’ Mine” to name just two of many. Hundreds—if not thousands—of songs were published and recorded in the first decades of the twentieth century celebrating the love of a son (or daughter) for his mother. Indeed, many of them tended a little on the sappy side, but the sentiment behind them, generally, was honest and sincere, and represented a culture which rightfully valued a mother’s love. The record published herein contains two such songs, originally published in the early decades of the twentieth century, in honor of dear old mother, as sung in duet by the so-called Cullen Brothers (though in fact they were not really brothers and only one was a Cullen).
Supertone 9741 was recorded on May 23, 1930, presumably in Richmond, Indiana. The “Cullen Brothers” are in fact Billy Cullen and Barney Kleeber. The instrumentalists on piano, violin, and guitar are unidentified. The same pairing was also issued on Champion 16045, credited to its true artists, and the “A” side also appeared on Superior 2513, credited to “Ward and Scott”.
Firstly, Cullen and Kleeber sing Arthur Dewey Larkin’s composition “Mother Dear (Do You Hear Me Calling You)”, originally published in 1922.
Next, from 1914, they sing H.C. Weasner’s “Just a Dream of Mother” on the “B’ side.