1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Mammy Blue – Charisma

Mammy Blue – Charisma (Charming!)

Mammy Blue

Mammy Blue

Charimsa was not really a band, but rather a group of session musicians under the leadership of Graeme Beggs, one of the leading producers in the country. He has been responsible for producing Clout’s Substitute, The Soweto String Quartet, Una Valli, The Dream Merchants, The Flames and Gene Rockwell to name a few. He also played with the Apaches, Dickie Loader and the Shangaans.

It is not surprising then, that he was involved in the song that spent the most number of weeks by a South African band at the top of the Springbok charts (12 weeks in total, 1 week less than the all time record by Johnny Nash’s ‘I Can See Clearly Now’).

‘Mammy Blue’ was originally a French song written by Hubert Giraud and was a minor hit in the  US for the Pop Tops in 1971 (peaking at number 57) and later in 1973 The Stories took it to number 50.  It has also recorded by Roger Whittaker, Dennis East, Ken Boothe and in more recent times, Steve Hofmeyr and Kurt Darren.

The song hinges around the chorus of ‘Oh mammy, oh mammy…’ and is a relaxed, almost mystic song. The chorus featuring the female vocals of Stevie van Kerken sort of swirls around in the clouds with Paddy Powell’s vocals floating over the top of them. It was a worthy number 1 and also worthy of the lengthy stay at the top.

Where to find it:

Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 2 (1994) GMP, CDGMPD 40486 (CD)

Lyrics:

Oh, mammy, oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue
Oh, mammy, oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue
Oh, mammy, oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (Oh, mammy, mammy)
Oh, mammy, oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue

I may be your forgotten son (Oh, mammy)
That wand’red off at twenty one (Oh, mammy)
It’s sad to find myself at home (Oh, mammy)
And you, you’re not around

If I could only hold your hand (Oh, mammy)
And say: “I’m sorry, yes, I am” (Oh, mammy)
I’m sure you’d really understand (Oh, mammy)
Oh, ma, where have you been?

Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue
Oh, mammy, oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue
Oh, mammy (I need you), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (I need
you, need you, need you)
Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue

The home we shared upon the hill (Oh, mammy)
Seems lifeless but it’s standing still (Oh, mammy)
And mem’ries of my child-hood fill (Oh, mammy) my mind

I’ve been through all the walks of life (Oh, mammy)
Seen tired days and lonely nights (Oh, mammy)
And now without you by my side (Oh, mammy)
I’m lost, and I do, girl, how will I survive?

Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (Oh, mammy, mammy)
Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (Oh, mammy, mammy, mammy)
Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (Oh,
lord, lord, lord)
Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (I need,
I need, I need you)

Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue (Oh,
where have you been?)
Oh, mammy (Oh, mammy), oh, mammy, mammy blue, oh, mammy blue

(Written by Phil Trim & Hubert Giraud)

Video:

Charisma:
Pop Tops:
Roger Whittaker:

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5 thoughts on “Mammy Blue – Charisma

  1. Any idea who the actual studio musos were? I seem to recall that Mervyn Harris was on drums?

  2. Paddy Powell is my husband. Living in the Boston area. Still rockin!

  3. Karl Woodhead on said:

    Hi Linda – could you email me? karl.woodhead@iinet.net.au – keen to know more about Charisma..Thank you

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