Mama Never Told Me

Album: The Very Best of Sister Sledge (1973)

Songfacts®:

  • The third single from Sister Sledge, this funky little number is a delicious piece of Philadelphia Soul written and produced by Phil Hurtt ("I'll Be Around
    ") and Tony Bell ("I'm Stone In Love With You"). Hurtt and Bell got the group a deal with Atlantic Records after they signed to the label's publishing division in the early '70s. In our interview with Phil Hurtt, he told us how this song came together:

    "Thommy Bell had a hit on the Spinners called 'One of a Kind.' Tony [Thommy's brother] was playing guitar. He started playing the riff that reminded me of that: 'One of a kind...' I started humming the melody to it, and I started thinking about a story. The mom is Flo with these five daughters [one daughter did not perform with the group]. And there had to be some instruction to her daughters, had to be some communication about life. I started thinking about that, and 'Mama Never Told Me' popped off. So basically it was just imagining a mother's conversation to her daughter, then I had to flip the script, because her mama couldn't tell her too much, because she fell for the same thing: a quiet man."
  • This was recorded at Sigma Sound Studios in Philadelphia, with members of the studio house band (known as MFSB) providing the instrumentation.
  • The "Shooby dooby dooby doo bop bop" vocal was a playful touch that songwriter Phil Hurtt worked into the song, as he thought it would get people singing along to the song. It was also a cute and appropriate bit for Kathy Sledge to sing, as she was just 14 years old at the time.

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