Monday, August 11, 2014

Ernie K-Doe - "Mother-In-Law (sound file and lyrics)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a three part series on songs about mother-in-laws. This post showcases the American R&B song "Mother-In-Law" by Ernie k-Doe. Information about Ernie K. Doe and the lyrics to this song are also included in this post.

Click for Part I of this series. Part I showcases the song Mmatswale (English translation: "mother-in-law") by the South African Afro-Pop group "Malaika".

Click fpr Part III of this series. Part III showcases the Trinidad & Tobago Calypso song "Nosey Mother-In-Law" by Lord Kitchener.

Notice the similarities between how mother-in-laws are depicted in the American and Caribbean song and how different mother-in-laws are depicted in the South African song.

The content of this post is provided for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Ernie K. Doe for his musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.


MANNY MORA, Published on Jul 23, 2014

Ernie K-Doe [February 22, 1936 – July 5, 2001],scored one of the biggest hits (possibly the biggest) in the history of New Orleans R&B with "Mother-in-Law," a humorous lament that struck a chord with listeners of all stripes on its way to the top of both the pop and R&B charts in 1961. The song proved to be K-Doe's only major success, despite several more minor hits that were equally infectious, yet he remained one of New Orleans' most inimitable personalities. Born Ernest Kador, Jr. in New Orleans in 1936, he began singing at age seven in the Baptist church where his father served as minister. During his teen years, Kador performed with local gospel groups like the Golden Chain Jubilee Singers and the Zion Travelers, when he was influenced chiefly by the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi. He entered and won talent competitions and became more interested in secular R&B and blues, and at 17, he moved to Chicago with his mother and began performing at local clubs. Thanks to connections he made there, he got the chance to sing with the Flamingos and Moonglows, as well as the Four Blazes, a gig that earned him his first recording session in late 1953 for United. 1959, he caught on with the newly formed Minit label and hooked up with producer/songwriter/pianist/arranger/fut­ure legend Allen Toussaint. His first Minit single, "Make You Love Me," flopped, but the follow-up, "Hello My Lover," was a substantial regional hit, selling nearly 100,000 copies. K-Doe struck gold with 1961's "Mother-in-Law," a Toussaint-penned tune on which K-Doe traded choruses with bass vocalist Benny Spellman. That, coupled with the playful cynicism of the lyrics, made for a rollicking good time in the best New Orleans R&B tradition, and K-Doe was rewarded with a number one record on both the pop and R&B charts. He toured the country and landed a few more follow-up hits -- "Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta," "I Cried My Last Tear," "A Certain Girl" (later covered by the Yardbirds), "Popeye Joe" -- but none approached the phenomenon of "Mother-in-Law," and were more popular on the R&B side...

K-Doe was able to reclaim some of his popularity around New Orleans when he began hosting a radio program in 1982, earning an audience with his wild antics and blatant self-promotion. In 1994, K-Doe opened his own club, Mother-in-Law Lounge, in New Orleans, and frequently performed there in the years to come, occasionally returning to the studio as well. He was inducted into the city's Music Hall of Fame in 1995."..

(composer: Allen Toussaint)

Mother in law
(Mother in law)
Mother in law

The worst person I know
(Mother in law, mother in law)
(Mother in law, mother in law)

A she worries me, so
If she'd leave us alone
A we would have a happy home
Sent from down below

Mother in law, mother in law

Satan should be her name
To me they're bout the same
Every time I open my mouth
She steps in, tries to put me out
How could she stoop so low

I come home with my pay
She asks me what I made
She thinks her advice is a contribution
But if she would leave that would be the solution
And don't come back no more

Mother in law
My mother in law, ah
Oh, yeah


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  1. I enjoyed reading this, especially re: the African and Caribbean connections Thanks for posting it. For info on K-Doe in more detail, may I recommend my book, Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans ( ) ? Also, here is a link to one of K-Doe's radio shows: . All best, Ben Sandmel

    1. You're welcome, Ben Sandmel.

      And thank you for alerting us to information about your book and that link to one of Ernie K-Doe's radio shows!