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Sailcat was an American rock band that was signed with Elektra Records in the early 1970s and best known for the hit song "Motorcycle Mama".


History and the creation of the band[edit]

The band, an early Southern Pop/Rock setup, was the innovation of John Wyker and Court Pickett, who formed the group in 1971 near Decatur, Alabama. Wyker was a veteran of the Muscle Shoals, Alabama rock music scene who had been in The Rubber Band with John Townsend (later of the Sanford-Townsend Band). Pickett was the vocalist and bass player from Tuscaloosa, Alabama who had just moved from Macon, Georgia, where he had been playing and singing for Sundown, a band that also had Chuck Leavell (formerly of the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers), Charlie Hayward (of the Charlie Daniels Band), and Lou Mullenix (from the Alex Taylor Band and Dr. John). Court was also the brother of Ed Pickett, of The Rubber Band.

"Motorcycle Mama," success, and their breakup[edit]

An early demo tape of an album, cut by the duo (and included the song "Motorcycle Mama"), was initially discarded by the band but after it was presented to Elektra Records led to a record contract and 1972 album release also titled Motorcycle Mama. The resulting album, produced by Pete Carr, was a concept album with a biker theme. The cover art and drawings inside the gatefold cover were drawn by Jack Davis, featuring motorcycles, predominately the Harley-Davidson with a series of drawings for each song on the album. The concept album's songs loosely tell the story of a motorcycle vagrant who apparently bums for a living, meeting a woman and settling down to start a family. However, he apparently keeps some of his selfish lazy behavior as the last drawing shows him reclining on his porch while his wife hangs the laundry and his child hoes the garden. In 1972 the single "Motorcycle Mama" hit #12 on the Billboard singles chart, and the album went to #38 and led them to appearances on American Bandstand and at Carnegie Hall. John D. Wyker and Sailcat performed both "Motorcycle Mama" and "Walking Together Backwards" on their first televised appearance on August 26, 1972.[1] Sailcat toured to promote the album and released one more non-LP single "Baby Ruth". However, soon after releasing the album, the band broke up. (The album was officially re-released on CD in 2004.)

After the breakup[edit]

Sailcat leader Wyker, who had been a member of the Rubber Band who recorded the original version of "Let Love Come Between Us" (later a hit for James & Bobby Purify), went on to play with many of the great Southern rock musicians like Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn, Delaney Bramlett, among others. Wyker worked on a benefit project called The Mighty Field of Vision Anthem, a group dedicated to raising funds for musicians who have fallen on hard times. Wyker died at his home on December 8, 2013, at the age of 68.[2][3]

As for Pickett, he later issued a solo album, Fancy Dancer, on the Elektra label in 1973.[4] Court Pickett now lives in Rock Hill, S.C.[citation needed]


On their 1990 compilation album Rubáiyát, the song "Morotcycle Mama" is covered by the band The Sugarcubes featuring Björk.



Year Title US Top 200 Label
1972 Motorcycle Mama #38 Elektra


Year Title (A-Side) Billboard Hot 100 Label
1972 Motorcycle Mama #12 Elektra
Baby Ruth
1973 She Showed Me #115

(The latter two singles were non-album cuts.)

Motorcycle Mama[edit]

Motorcycle Mama
Sailcat Album Cover.jpg
Studio album by Sailcat
Released May 1972 (1972-05)
Recorded Between October 1971 and February 1972
Widget Recordings
Muscle Shoals, Alabama
Genre Southern rock
Country blues
Producer Pete Carr
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Billboard favorable[5]

Track listing[edit]

(this is the original album track listing.) Side one:

    1. "Rainbow Road" John Wyker - 4:00
    2. "The Thief" Court Pickett - 3:30
    3. "Highway Rider/Highway Riff" John Wyker & Court Pickett - 5:40
    4. "The Dream" Court Pickett - 2:45

Side two:

    1. "If You've Got A Daughter" Court Pickett - 1:33
    2. "Ambush" John Wyker, Clayton Ivey, Pete Car - 3:06
    3. "B.B. Gunn" John Wyker - 2:48
    4. "It'll Be A Long Long Time" Court Pickett - 2:12
    5. "Motorcycle Mama" John Wyker & Court Pickett - 2:06
    6. "Walking Together Backwards" John Wyker - 3:19
    7. "On The Brighter Side Of It All" John Wyker - 2:23


Art Direction, Design – Robert L. Heimall Backing Vocals – Faye Sanders (tracks: B1, B6, B7), Laura Struzick (tracks: B6, B7), Terry Woodward (tracks: B1, B6, B7) Banjo – Tom Russell Bass – Bob Wray, Court Pickett* Concept By – John Wyker Drums – Fred Prouty, Lou Mullenix Fiddle – Al Lester, Scott Boyer Guitar – Joe Rudd, John Wyker, Pete Carr Horns [Memphis Horns Inc.] – Andrew Love, Ed Logan, Jack Hale, James Mitchell, Wayne Jackson Illustration – Jack Davis (5) Keyboards– Art Schilling, Chuck Leavell, Clayton Ivey Percussion [Extra] – Bill Connell Photography By – Frank Bez Producer, Engineer [Remix]– Pete Carr Sounds [Sound Effects] – Brenda Hagan, Marlin Greene Spoons, Other [Buck Dancing] – Jesse Gorell Strings – Charles Chalmers Vocals – Court Pickett* (tracks: A2, A3, A4, B1 B4, B5), John Wyker (tracks: A1, A3, B3, B5 to B7) Written By – John Wyker (tracks: A1 to A3, B1 to B3, B5 to B7), Pete Carr (tracks: A3b, A4, B2, B4)

See also[edit]