Country Throwback: Tanya Tucker Sings First #1 ‘What’s Your Mama’s Name’ in 1973

by Madison Miller

It’s a voice that still stands out in country music for its strong, raspy, and original sound. Tanya Tucker’s “What’s Your Mama’s Name” soared on the charts and earned a No.1 spot.

It was the first of her career in 1973, but it certainly wasn’t her last.

Tanya Tucker Soars with ‘What’s Your Mama’s Name’

At the age of 13, Tucker was already beginning to trail-blaze her way through the country music scene. In 1972, the singer had released her debut song, “Delta Dawn.”

Other hit songs that topped the charts were “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” “Bring My Flowers Now” and “Two Sparrows in a Hurricane.” She won the Grammy Award for Best Country Album for “While I’m Livin.'”

While she gets a lot of recognition for “Delta Dawn,” her first chart-topper was “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” written by Dallas Frazier and Earl Montgomery.

The song, in theory, seems rather dark for a 13-year-old. It tells the story of a man in Memphis who comes across a young girl who looks very familiar. He begins asking her about her mother.

The song ends after the man dies in Memphis after struggling with alcohol. It is discovered that he was just trying to find his daughter, who had similar striking green eyes.

“What’s your mama’s name child / What’s your mama’s name / Does she ever talk about / A place called New Orleans / Has she ever mentioned / A man named Bueferd Wilson.”

That same year she performed the song live for a television network.

Half a Century in Country Music

Tanya Tucker has now been in the country industry for half a century. She’s still going strong.

Her newest album, “While I’m Livin,'” brought her back into the popular country scene. She won Best Country Album and Best Country Song.

Many claim she’s in the middle of a resurgence or comeback. She’s loving the feelings associated with starting new.

“It’s an amazing feeling. But this comeback, I was always around. I was busy for 20 years, I just didn’t make a record. But I have a lot of catching up to do, this record is just the beginning for me, again,” Tanya Tucker said to Sounds Like Nashville.

She is also set to release an album of duets soon with people like Jessi Colter, David Allen Coe, Dennis Quaid, Kris Kristofferson, and Brandi Carlile.

While her tastes have changed and her voice has evolved, her catalog remains somethings she will always love. This includes her earlier songs as far back as “Delta Dawn” and “What’s Your Mama’s Name.”

“What attracts me to [songs] I can never explain, it’s just a feeling I get. Like ‘Delta Dawn,’ I was a kid when I picked that song, so how would I know to pick that song about a 41-year-old woman, I don’t know. It chose me, and that’s the way I feel. My taste back then was always for more of an adult song, and I can’t explain that,” Tanya Tucker said.

Now, at 62, still proactively making music, she knows there’s a lot left to learn. She admitted that “life is a learning process” and said she wants to learn until the day she dies.