Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Mother's Poem.... From Hallmark Cards.... err, no, From Halmark Records

Happy Mother's Day!

The Hallmark people have certainly made a mint off of mother's day, but the Halmark label didn't do to shabbily in separating folks from their money, when it came to songs about Mother, either. Or songs about Christianity. Or songs about mother AND Christianity. 

I actually don't think I know of two song-poems that veer into both mother and Christianity, but I do know of one, and it's a humdinger of a bizarre entry. 

The song is titled "Mother's Poem", although the first time listening, I was absolutely certain that the piece was mislabeled, because there is precious little in it about being a mother, and a whole lot about being (apparently) happily free of a late husband who never gave her a wedding ring, but in whose memory she refuses to re-marry, as well as being about the world going to hell (quite literally - she clearly thinks Armageddon is approaching, or, as one of my favorite song-poems says "The old world will end in a fire". 

The song is sung by Mary Kimmel, Halmark's resident thrush, with pointless repetition of some of the phrases, like someone suffering from echolalia, by her husband Jack, who was often credited (if at all) as Jack Kim. What I missed the first time is that one of Jack's responses is, in fact, to label the song (such as it is, most of it is spoken) as "Mother's Poem". 

So let's just guess this was a poem written by the mother of song-poet Etta Coon and enjoy it for its lugubriousness and downright otherworldly lyrics. 


If Mrs. Coon's mother went to the ends of the earth (and literally described the end of the earth) for some of her images and thoughts in "A Mother's Poem", the "lyricist" of the next song, "In the Beginning" went to the other extreme, as she seems to have simply opened her bible to various verses and strung them together, with a few passing phrases in between. 

This is not as obnoxious, I guess, as the "writer" who submitted The Lord's Prayer, verbatim, and called it his own work, but it's not a lot different, either. And yes, I know that Pete Seeger took the same opening biblical words that start this song, and many more lines from that chapter of the bible, and made his own song out of it, and the subsequent biblical verses, but at least he wrote the music to his song and added a refrain of his own. This person submitted lyrics to Halmark, which always provided the music and tune. So, as in the case of that Lord's Prayer submission, what, exactly is this person claiming to have written? 


The remaining two songs from this EP are also religious in nature, and to my ears, don't contain much worth commenting on, or even worth sharing, but for the fact that I've always promised to share the entirety of each record. The first one is "Turn On Your Light"


Finally, we have "The Parade of Miracles", which I was hoping was going to be about Smokey Robinson's singing companions, but it's not. This doesn't sound like Mary Kimmel to me, but maybe it is. I haven't honestly spent enough time listening to Halmark's female singers to recognize who it might be if it's not Mary, and what else she might have sung. 

1 comment:

Sammy Reed said...

I found out that the "OV-" prefix was from the Oneida Video-Audio Tape Cassette Corp., which pressed this 45. The one with the closest number to this that's listed on Discogs, OV-633, is from 1977.