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Songs: Ring Your Mother

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<a href="http://mjhibbett.bandcamp.com/track/ring-your-mother">Ring Your Mother by MJ Hibbett &amp; The Validators</a>
No-one seems to need her anymore
Left behind at closing time when the landlord locks the door
You used to see her every day, but now you never call
No-one seems to need her anymore

No-one seems to want her anymore
Discarded like a gift-shop bracelet at midnight on the shore
Like a single shoe on a garden wall or the shirt you never wore
No-one seems to need her anymore

And you might say she's being foolish
I don't know
But you should see her point of view
And you should treat her better
You may be gone but you're not forgotten
You don't have to say you love her
But you ought to ring your mother

Cos she doesn't think you need her anymore
Now that you know how to clean your own bedroom floor
You can see where she gets her ideas from, you should put her straight
She doesn't think you love her anymore

Ring your mother
She doesn't think you love her anymore


Published by Wipe Out Music Publishing

The first thing to say about this song, which I've JUST remembered, is that it started out not being about "your mother" feeling sad and unwanted, no. It started out as being about ME feeling sad and unwanted! Of course it did! As we are discovering, MOST of these songs are about that!

Before just now I hadn't listened to this song for YEARS, during which time it had taken on MYTHIC status as The Validators Song That Must Not Be Heard. I don't think Tim and Rob thought much to it at the time, and I KNOW the Durham Ox singers didn't like it - Sorted Supremo Dave Dixey openely SNEERED at it after we'd recorded it, which is MOST unlike him, and various Validators have, over the years, "threatened" to bring it into the setlist, as a fate worse than DOOM. Actually though, it doesn't sound too bad - as I say, it's the first listen in YEARS because last night (it's now January 13th, 2005, by the way) Rob gave me a CD with the final few songs on, and he too said it wasn't as awful as he'd remembered it. HIGH PRAISE!

As far as I vaguely recall, it started out as being about ME in one of my MOONLIT SONGWRITING SESSIONS i.e. when I'd got back from the pub one night, hence the rather PURPLE nature of some of the METAPHORS, and at some point it MORPHED into being about someone losing touch with their children - in my old notes I said it was a Song From The Shows (like a song called "Wonderfully Brilliantly You", which was how I imagined it might be to MEET someone...), the sort of song I occasionally wrote for an imaginary MUSICAL that meant i could just make stuff UP. Some of it's about my Great-Auntie, whose son ran away and never got in touch again, but as I say, a lot of it's just about me.

We tried to record it in all sorts of different ways, but we never quite got it right. The Durham Ox Singers bit in the middle (which uses the music from the middle section of a song called "Special Needs", the VERSES of which were reused for I'VE GOT WHAT YOU NEED started out as Girl Group style backing vocals, and then became like a GREEK CHORUS sort of thing - originally they were supposed to appear gradually throughout the first couple of verses on Backing Vocals, come to the front in the middle section, and then TAKE OVER the whole song for the rest of it, but it never really happened. They didn't much like the song and I couldn't be bothered to push them into it - this was ONE of the things, in fact, that made me RESOLUTE about NOT giving up on getting what I was after when we recorded "This Is Not A Library", and ESPECIALLY when we recorded "One Last Party".

Anyway, we tried lots of different ways of playing it, including a Wedding Present-style version (I know! Us sounding like The Wedding Present, hard to imagine isn't it?) with a HUGE ORCHESTRAL CODA, but it was only when we were messing about and doing a country and western version of it that suddenly it sounded RIGHT. At the time Mr Reverb said "It's not going to shake up Nashville is it?", and I've got to give him that, but it does sound pretty good to me - listen to Rob GO on mouth organ AND twangy guitar! NICE!

It got recorded during the mammoth "Say It With Words" but fell foul of The Focus Group, who didn't think much to it EITHER, and so lay around unwanted for a bit, much like, in fact, a single shoe on a garden wall or the shirt you never wore... but I saw a CHANCE for it when we came to put together our split single with Johnny Domino. My CUNNING PLAN was that we'd have a SINGLE out a month or so before the album, to build up some publicity and get the shops interested. I therefore PERSUADED Johnny Domino that they should do it with us, as their album "Players" was coming out on the same day as "Say It With Words", and they'd be doing some gigs with us, and pretty much TOLD Tom at Reveal Records that he would be putting it out. Reveal Records is the Independent Record Shop in Derby, the one that various people in bands always work at, and that The Kids always go to first, like Left Legged Pineapple in Loughborough or Rockaboom in Leicester or, I'm sure, MANY others across this great nation of ours. Tom had been watching AAS and SOMEHOW had got the idea that this might be a MONEY SPINNING opportunity. GOODNESS knows how he got that idea, but he set up his own record label, and I MAGNANIMOUSLY offered him "Payday" and THIS as our side of a split single. He accepted, and my PLAN began to fall into place...

... then fell OUT of place. Tom thought it was a waste of money "giving away" copies (I had to BUY some copies to give to the band!), so hardly sent any out to anyone, so nobody really knew it had been released. Shops took it on good faith though, and pretty much ALL ended up with loads unsold, and thus did NOT look particularly kindly on the idea of taking a whole ALBUM of stuff by EITHER band when they came out. Oops. THUS this song has been looked away out of hearing for YEARS, known only as a LEGENDARILY BAD IDEA which, in the cold light of day, is actually quite nice. Welcome back, SONG!


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