I love Classic Country Music, or what some refer to as Traditional Country Music.

Article Originally Published on BIZCATALYST360.com

Songs by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Allan Jackson, Randy Travis, Jim Reeves, Charlie Pride, The Judds, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Marty Robbins, Garth Brooks and many more are my favorite kind of country music.

People who know I’m from Jamaica, the island in the Caribbean and home of Reggae music, are puzzled at my love of country music. Their questions reveal that they think my preference would be for more ‘upbeat’ music from the islands.

Barbara Mandrell sang, “I was country, when country wasn’t cool.” That’s my answer!

A friend recently referred to me as an “incurable romantic” who finds romance in everything, even business topics. As a teenager growing up in Jamaica I looked forward to the time-slots when my favorite radio station (there were only two when I was growing up) played country music. Of course, they were referred to as Country and Western songs. Those songs spoke to my romantic spirit and to my heart.

Wall Mural: Nashville's Legends

My Conflict

At 14 years old a friend gave me a Jim Reeves 45 rpm record, and in my 15th year, my brother gave me an LP by Skeeter Davis. In my 17th year, I was introduced to Charlie Pride and shortly thereafter started my collection of LPs. I was hooked, line and sinker.

The music of Motown: Lionel Ritchie, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, and the Pips, plus Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and more of that genre battled with country music until I appreciated they could amicably co-exist in my life.

Classic Country music tells stories. This record tells a story that highlights the power of assumptions.

“What’s Your Mama’s Name Child?”

In 1973 this song was recorded and released by Tanya Tucker. While I could have heard it before, I really started paying attention to the words in the past few years and it has such a ring of truth to it that I believe it’s based on a real story.

The characters are: a man named Buford Wilson, an unnamed woman, a little girl with green eyes, and a town in Memphis that assumed the worse. Here are the lyrics.

What’s Your Mama’s Name?

Tanya Tucker

Thirty some odd years ago a young man came to Memphis
Askin’ ’bout a rose that used to blossom In his world
People never took the time to mind the young man’s questions
Until one day they heard him ask a little green eyed girl

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 Buford Wilson
What’s your mama’s name child? What’s your mama’s name?

Twenty some odd years ago A drunk went down in Memphis
Lost a month of life and labor To the county jail
Just because he asked a little green-eyed girl a question
And offered her a nickel’s worth of candy if she’d tell

A year and some odd days ago An old man died in Memphis
Just another wayward So the county had to claim
Inside the old man’s ragged coat They found a faded letter
It said you have a daughter And her eyes are Wilson green

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 Buford Wilson
What’s your mama’s name child? What’s your mama’s name?

Songwriters: Dallas Frazier / Earl Montgomery

You see while living in New Orleans Buford Wilson met a woman, “a rose who at one time blossomed in his world” and who apparently moved on to live in Memphis. He came to find her in Memphis, but more importantly, his search went even deeper than that.

Everyone ignored him when he tried to find the woman. Apparently, he continued his quest in trying to find her for many years. Then he met a little green-eyed girl. His mistake was that he offered the little green-eyed girl a nickel’s worth of candy to answer his questions about her mother. Individuals in the town heard him and he was thrown in jail for trying to entice a little girl.

He probably never got a chance to tell his story of why he was asking the little girl about her mother and if she’d heard her mom speak of New Orleans. There was something about this little girl that made him wonder if she knew the woman who had blossomed in his world.

He probably became broken-hearted and resorted to drinking because he never really found what he came to Memphis to find.  Or did he find her and lost her immediately? Was this the little girl he was looking for?

Years later Buford Wilson died in prison. In his ragged coat pocket, before being placed in a pauper’s grave, they found a faded letter telling him that he had a little girl in Memphis with eyes that were “Wilson green.”

What if…?

Buford Wilson was arrested for what, to the eyes and ears of the townspeople, was trying to entice a little girl away by giving her candy. Was he given a fair trial? Was he allowed to speak before a judge? Did he even stand a chance since he was not from Memphis and no one knew him there?

He never found his daughter, or may he have found her and lost her immediately? What did his daughter lose? What type of life did she have without a father in her life?

Danger of Assumptions

There is a popular saying that when we make assumptions, we make an ass of you and of me. But there is a lot more danger to assumptions that go beyond just making ourselves look idiotic.

Without taking the time to verify information so we can arrive at appropriate conclusions based on facts, assumptions can, among other things, damage relationships, stifle growth, and create misunderstandings that last for years.

The comments made in this article reprinted in the New York Times revealed some of the false assumptions people make and the negative impact they can have.

Whether this song is just a ballad created in the minds of the two persons who wrote it, or it’s based on real people, we do not know.

What I do know and encourage is… the next time you start to jump to a conclusion or make an assumption about something or someone else, pause and ask yourself, Are these based on facts or are they assumptions based on my imagination?

My Invitation

Rather than assume, if you liked this post and would like to learn more about how I can support you, I invite you to take some time to browse around this blog and click on the Media tab to listen to some of the training topics in interviews. If you’re interested in chatting with me in an easy, relaxed complimentary strategy session, click here to schedule a time to talk.

Thank you for reading,


Yvonne A Jones
Yvonne A Jones

I am Yvonne A Jones, Business, and Life Coach | Relationship Marketing Strategist.

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