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"Mama Kin" is Steven Tyler's idea of a spiritual force that drives creativity and pleasure. "Keep in touch with Mama Kin" means remembering the desires that drive you to excel.
This was a very early Aerosmith song, and one that helped them get signed to Columbia Records. In 1972, the band had finished a round of touring where they performed this song, and got the deal after Clive Davis of Columbia saw them perform at a New York club called Max’s Kansas City. Steven Tyler had so much confidence in "Mama Kin" that he went to Eddy's tattoo parlor in Providence, Rhode Island and had the words "MA KIN" tattooed on his left bicep beneath a winged heart. He told his bandmates this was the song that was going to make them rich and famous.
Aerosmith used to own a bar near Fenway Park in Boston called Mama Kin's. It was a showcase for live music.
This was one of the songs on Aerosmith's first album that Steven Tyler had the idea for when he formed the band. The song got much more popular years later as their career took off and they included it in their live shows. The album didn't get a lot of promotion when it first came out, in part because Columbia Records was busy promoting Bruce Springsteen's first album.
Guns N' Roses played this at their early shows and covered it on their 1988 live album G'N'R Lies
. In the summer of 1988, Guns N' Roses opened for Aerosmith on their Permanent Vacation
tour. By the end of the tour, "Sweet Child O' Mine
" was the #1 song in America and Guns N' Roses was the hottest band in the land. Aerosmith was peeved when Rolling Stone
dismissed them in favor of G N' R for their cover story, but the bands got along very well on the tour, as the Axl Rose and his bandmates showed great respect for their headliners. At the last show on the tour, Aerosmith brought Guns N' Roses on stage for an extended performance of "Mama Kin."
The line, "Sleeping late and smoking tea" was originally written as "Sleeping late in Sunapee," a small New Hampshire town which many of the band members had ties to. (thanks, Martin - Tucson, AZ)
Tyler says that he borrowed the lick from "Mama Kin" from an old Blodwyn Pig song called "See My Way."
The horn solo was played by David Woodward, who toured with the band in their early days.
The lyrics, "Bald as an egg at 18, and working for your daddy's a drag" are a reference to Mark Lehman, who was the band's roadie. Before he quit, Lehman took a lot of abuse for little pay, as Steven Tyler couldn't resist making a dig on him in this song.
Steven Tyler came up with the lyrics using a technique he often used in his early years: he would take some Tuinal pills and scat out sounds into a recorded while Joe Perry played guitar. He would then listen to the playback and add real words to the scat sounds.
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