Leave Your Fat Old Mamma Home

The catchy calypso tune ‘Marianne’ reached #4 on the Billboard Top 100 was the biggest hit for the American folk music band Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders, who consisted of Rich Dehr and Frank Miller and their career lasted from 1956 to 1959.  Gilkyson along with his fellow Riders, built an impressive list of achievements both as a singer and a songwriter, composing songs that were recorded by other performers, including ‘Fast Freight’, recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1958, ‘Cry of the Wild Goose’, recorded by Frankie Laine on Decca Records and released in the fall of 1949 and (with the assistance of fellow Easy Riders Dehr and Miller) ‘Greenfields’, which became a signature song/hit for The Brothers Four, and ‘Memories Are Made Of This’, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100 chart with Dean Martin singing backed by The Easy Riders.

Terry Gilkyson performed with the well known folk group the Weavers led by Pete Seeger in the early 50’s, lending his beautiful baritone voice to some of their songs.  One evening he found himself on a radio show with Rich Dehr and Frank Miller.  Dehr and Miller had been performing folk songs in clubs and took the name Easy Riders from one of their songs, C.C. Rider.  Gilkyson’s talents as a singer and songwriter complemented those of Dehr and Miller, so they became a group, with Dehr performing most of the lead vocals.  With the help of their manager Mitch Miller, Terry Gilkyson and the Easy Riders were signed to Columbia Records in 1956.  Later that year, they released their debut single for Columbia called ‘Marianne’, which was based on a Bahamian folk tune.  ‘Marianne’ was their second self-penned single for Columbia Records, and it was sung by Richard Dehr and it ended up selling over a million copies to get a gold disc.

Gilkyson left the band to pursue other interests and occupations including writing music for both film and television, landing an enviable position composing music for the Walt Disney studio.  His work was heard regularly on the TV series The Wonderful World of Disney and he composed memorable songs for several Disney films including ‘Thomasina’, which was sung by Robbie Lester in the 1964 film The Three Lives of Thomasina, which is a story about a cat and her influence on a family.  He also wrote ‘The Bare Necessities’, rendered by expert voice artist Phil Harris in the 1967 classic The Jungle Book, for which Gilkyson received an Oscar nomination for Best Song.  In 1999, Gilkyson died at the age of 83, in Austin, Texas.

The Seattle based harmony folk/pop quartet The Brothers Four was formed in 1957 by University of Washington Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers Bob Flick (upright bass, vocals), Mike Kirkland (guitar, banjo, vocals), John Paine (guitar, vocals) and Richard Foley (guitar, vocals).  They made ‘Marianne’ one of 1960’s biggest hits.  The fraternity brothers were spotted by Dave Brubeck’s manager, Mort Lewis, when they were playing at the famous Hungry I in San Francisco in 1959, a place that played a crucial role in the careers of Lenny Bruce, the Kingston Trio, Woody Allen, Barbra Streisand, the Limeliters, Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters, Shelley Berman and many others.  Mort Lewis later went on to become Simon & Garfunkel’s personal manager for the entire run of the duo’s career together and he was able to secure The Brothers Four a contract with Columbia Records.  The folk-based foursome, were voted America’s ‘Most Promising Group Of 1960’, and they quickly became established as one of the leading lights on the folk revival scene.  The emergence of Bob Dylan and a highly politicized folk movement, coupled with the British beat group invasion of the mid-60s made the Brothers Four’ brand of easy listening folk instantly passé.

Marianne, oh, Marianne, oh, won’t you marry me?
We can have a bamboo hut and brandy in the tea
Leave your fat old mamma home, she never will say yes
If mama don’t know now, she can guess
My, my, yes
All day, all night, Marianne
Down by the sea side siftin’ sand
Even little children love Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand
When she walks along the shore, people pause to greet
White birds fly around her; little fish come to her feet
In her heart is love but I’m the only mortal man
Who’s allowed to kiss my Marianne
Don’t rush me
All day, all night, Marianne
Down by the sea side siftin’ sand
Even little children love Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand
When we marry we will have a time you never saw
I will be so happy I will kiss my mother inlaw
Children by the dozen in and out the bamboo hut
One for every palm tree and coconut
Hurry up now
All day, all night, Marianne
Down by the sea side siftin’ sand
Even little children love Marianne
Down by the seaside siftin’ sand.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s