whitren

This is a song I remember hearing on the radio back in 1973, when I was 15. It doesn’t appear to have made the charts, however.  It comes from the album Raw but Tender, a classic singer songwriter album. Astonishingly, Jaki Whitren was only 19 years old herself at the time, though I don’t think you’d ever guess that from the voice, which is deep and rich and full of experience. I’d say this is mostly a country song, with elements of folk, rock and the blues in there as well. The finger picking guitar style played by Whitren herself is the primary accompaniment, re-enforced slightly by oboe and strings beneath.  The subject – the self-sacrifice of a single parent who expresses her future hopes for her children in a lullaby – might well have been sentimental, but it just isn’t.  The melodic verse and strong chorus build slowly over their course of the story song in a perfectly judged performance.  In that wilderness of information access before the Internet it was hard to find any details at all about this song (or the very strong album from which it comes). Now it’s available again as a CD and in numerous places online, where a few more recent songs can be found as well. Intriguingly, Whitren appears to have deliberately decided not to develop her career as a solo artist, but has kept making music in conjunction with her partner John Cartwright.

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