What's Your Mama's Name (song)

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"What's Your Mama's Name"
Single by Tanya Tucker
from the album What's Your Mama's Name
B-side Rainy Girl
Released February 1973
Format 7"
Recorded January 5, 1973
Genre Country
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Dallas Frazier and Earl Montgomery
Producer(s) Billy Sherrill
Tanya Tucker singles chronology
"The Jamestown Ferry"/"Love's the Answer"
"What's Your Mama's Name"
"Blood Red and Goin' Down"

"What's Your Mama's Name" is a song written by Dallas Frazier and Earl Montgomery, and recorded by American country music artist Tanya Tucker. It was released in February 1973 as the first single and title track from the album What's Your Mama's Name. "What's Your Mama's Name" was Tucker's fourth hit on the country chart and her first number one. The single stayed at number one for a single week and spent a total of fourteen weeks on the chart.[1] On the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, it reached number eighty-six.

Lyrical story[edit]

The song tells, in flashback, of a man named Buford Wilson. The story begins at least 30 years beforehand, when the young man travels to Memphis, Tennessee in search of a woman with whom he'd had a previous relationship in New Orleans. He spends the next decade asking people about the woman's whereabouts, and is generally ignored. Now described not as a "young man," but as "a drunkard," he has an encounter with a young, green-eyed girl. As told in the song's refrain:

Wilson is arrested for enticing a child - after he had offered her a nickel's worth of candy if she revealed the identity of her mother - and is jailed for a month of labor. The final verse describes how, about a year before the present, Wilson, now a "wayward soul" subsidized by the county, is found dead in Memphis, wearing a ragged coat. Inside the coat's pocket is a "faded letter" stating, "You have a daughter, and her eyes are Wilson green," showing that Wilson's intent was not predatory, but to simply find his lost daughter and to reconnect with her mother, his lost love.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1973) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 86
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 357. 
Preceded by
"Come Live with Me"
by Roy Clark
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

May 19, 1973
Succeeded by
"Satin Sheets"
by Jeanne Pruett
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

May 26, 1973
Succeeded by
"Dirty Old Man"
by George Hamilton IV