Rag Mama Rag

Album: The Band (1969)
Charted: 16 57

Songfacts®:

  • One of the Band's first big European hit singles, "Rag Mama Rag" has some unusual instrumentation. Lead pianist Richard Manuel played drums, drummer Levon Helm played mandolin and sang lead, and bassist Rick Danko played a fiddle. This left the bass spot open on this track, and it was filled by the album's producer, John Simon. He improvised a bassline on tuba, although he had no idea how to play the instrument. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joey - Athens, GA
  • Robbie Robertson is the only songwriter credited on this track, although other members of the group claim they made contributions. The song finds Levon Helm trying to convince his girl to come back home so she can "rag all over" his house. What he has in mind in unclear: "rag" could mean playing ragtime music (a possibility, considering the line "rosin up the bow"), but he might have more prurient intentions.

Comments: 4

  • Christy from Morristown, TnIf you want to have a good time and let it all hang out, this is the song for you.
  • Jackie from Oak Creek, CoI love the line "We could be relaxing, in my sleeping bag" perfect......
  • Dan from Tinley Park, Ilsousaphone**, i should know, i am a sousaphone player myself!
  • Tyler from Brantford, CanadaJohn SImon Played this on a Suzaphone, not a tuba. They are very similar though. He did know how to play brass instruments he had just never used a Suzaphone before.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.

AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The RemastersSong Writing

Brian has unearthed outtakes by Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello and hundreds of other artists for reissues. Here's how he does it.

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.