(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean

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"(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean"
Song by Ruth Brown
Released 1953 (1953)
Genre R&B
Writer Johnny Wallace
Herbert J. Lance

"(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" is a 1953 song recorded by Ruth Brown, and written by Johnny Wallace and Herbert J. Lance. It became Brown's third number one on the R&B chart. and her first pop chart hit.[1]

According to Atlantic Records producer Herb Abramson, Lance wrote "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" with his friend Johnny Wallace (the brother of boxer Coley Wallace), after the pair had heard a blues singer on the street in Atlanta, Georgia, singing a mournful song that included the title line. The song they heard may have been "Last Dime Blues", sung by Blind Lemon Jefferson in the 1920s and recorded by Blind Willie McTell in 1949. Although Ruth Brown initially disliked the song, she was persuaded by Lance and Wallace to record it, and did so in December 1952 after Abramson had speeded up its tempo.[2]

The song has subsequently been recorded by many other singers, including Anita Wood (1960), Sarah Vaughan (1962), Koko Taylor (1975), and Susan Tedeschi (1998).[3] Brown herself re-recorded the song in 1962, when it made #99 on the US pop chart.[4]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 87. 
  2. ^ Chip Deffaa, Blue Rhythms: Six Lives in Rhythm and Blues, University of Illinois Press, 1996, p.35
  3. ^ SecondhandSongs.com
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2003). Top Pop Singles 1955-2002 (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-155-1. 
Preceded by
"Baby Don't Do It" by The "5" Royales
Billboard R&B National Best Sellers number-one single
March 7, 1953
Succeeded by
"Hound Dog" by Big Mama Thornton