Today, as you can see, the series reaches its half-century. To mark this splendid achievement, I take the step of posting about a song which I've already once drawn to your attention - my reason being that I did so before the series began. Indeed, it was doing so that gave me the idea for the series. And aren't you all deeply grateful for that? However, though the song was the inspiration for the Momma 'n' Daddy Collection, and as one might say the prequel to it, it doesn't yet figure within the collection itself. This is an intolerable situation. For it isn't just a Momma 'n' Daddy song; it's the Momma 'n' Daddy of Momma 'n' Daddy songs. It is, consequently, an entirely fitting candidate for number 50. (Incidentally, if you think my using it for a second time here arises because I am short of further material, then think away. You'll be labouring under a delusion, but no matter.)
The song? 'Idaho Home' by Ronee Blakley. Historians amongst you wanting to check out the foundational role of Ronee and 'Idaho Home' in getting this series started should revisit the very first Momma 'n' Daddy Collection post.
The song begins so:
Momma and Daddy raised me with love and care [lovin' care?]The first four lines, you will observe, identify the bedrock: love, care, food, education, the fostering of talent and the imparting of a basic principle of justice. The warmth and security of the ambience evoked is then plunged into a terrible contrast, with 'the people alone and afraid / Abandoned and wild like a fatherless child' - so forcing upon the listener a proper sense of the value of what the singer enjoyed by being raised as she was. But do not miss the subtlety that from the child described as 'fatherless' Ronee Blakley immediately adverts to her own Momma, thereby restoring the balance between parents that might otherwise have been disrupted by the suggestion that fatherlessness is a more unfortunate condition than motherlessness. No, both parents matter equally, and this point is reinforced when the lyric quickly leads us on from Momma to the memory of Momma singing 'harmony with my Daddy' - a decisive, clinching image.
They sacrificed, so I could have a better share
They fed me and nursed me and sent me to school
Momma taught me how to sing, Daddy lived the Golden Rule
When I think of the people alone and afraid
Abandoned and wild like a fatherless child
I think of my Momma and how she could sing
Harmony with my Daddy, our laughter would ring.
The final words of the verse lead right into the chorus, with the laughter of the family ringing...
Down the highway, on the beachesExpansive is what that is. The power of the things the parents have given sweeps out, along the highway, on to beaches and finally, without limit, 'as far as memory reaches'. It permits also the withstanding of floods and fire. Some may think that still loving Momma and Daddy best has an infantile-regressive aspect; but it should be seen in its context as merely lending especially strong emphasis to the singer's appreciation of what she got from her mother and father.
As far as memory reaches
I still hear Daddy singin' his old Army songs
We'd laugh and count horses as we rode along.
We were young then, we were together
We could bear floods and fire and bad weather
And now that I'm older, grown up on my own
I still love Momma and Daddy best in my Idaho home.
I could go on like this with the rest of the lyric, but I don't wish to spoon-feed you. I will conclude by just noting, therefore, that the line 'When his [Daddy's] daddy died, my Daddy rested in my Momma's arms' is a quintessential figure of the genre. If you haven't heard 'Idaho Home' by Ronee Blakley, you are amongst the musically underprivileged inhabitants of the planet.
[The Momma 'n' Daddy Archive, containing all the details of the series, is here.]