SLS — Mama Can’t Help You by Doyle Bramhall II

song lyric sunday

doyle sitting

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Jim Adams continues as the host for Song Lyric Sunday, filling in while Helen Vahdati takes a well-deserved rest. Jim says:

Di at pensitivity101 suggested the prompt of “No”, and even though “no” stands for nitric oxide which I think would be hard to find songs about, we are using this two letter tiny one syllable word “no” that means something negative.

My choice for today comes from the endlessly talented singer, songwriter, producer, and guitarist, Doyle Bramhall II. “Mama Can’t Help You” is the first track on Doyle’s 2016 album, “Rich Man”, which consists of 12 originals and a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hear My Train A Comin”. Doyle has also released a 2018 album, “Shades” (which I haven’t heard yet!).

From wiki: Bramhall is notable as one of the few guitarists who plays with his instrument strung upside-down. He plays left-handed, but the instrument is strung upside-down with the high E on the top. This unusual arrangement of the strings gives his playing a unique sound, because he bends the strings by pulling them downwards rather than upwards, the customary approach. Others who have bent strings in this direction include Albert King, Eric Gales, Otis Rush, Barbara Lynn, Coco Montoya and the late blues guitarist Jeff Healey, who played with his instrument flat on his lap for stability and increased string flexibility.

There are two versions here because they are both good. In the first version Doyle sings the lyrics as written in the liner notes of the CD. In the second version you get to hear Doyle speak briefly before the song and what he says will stick with you.

Yo’ mama can’t help you no more
Believe it

Well, well, well, baby
Oh, yeah
I’m sorry that I looked your way
Didn’t know what I was getting into
And everything I had to lose
To get small enough to fit in your life
So I got to sit down and think about it’
Cause you’re taking me out
I lost myself
Nothing left to lose
I don’t want no more shit now
And I’m tired of living this way
And you’re causing

Oh, Yo’ mama can’t help you no more
Oh, you’re alone now
Yo mama can’t help you no more
And she’s lonely just like you

I’m not into living this way
And I ain’t playing, baby
I’ve got to make a move
With my heart in the dirt and my toes on the yard
Oh I can’t see past your knee
Your jealousy and greed now
You take everything
And I’m out on the street

So why you still stirring up shit now?
Are you tired of being this way?

Oh! Yo mama can’t help you no more
Can’t do it, babe
Oh, who are you gonna blame?
You’re making a mess of me
Using up everything
Yo mama can’t help you no more
It’s time to grow up
You’re making a mess of me
Using up everything

The street beats sharing yo’ shelter
Too cold and too small for two
Only ever made room for you
You need your greed and your jealousy
I wanna get with it
I’m getting right with me
Come on lady, get right with yourself

Don’t matter how hard you hit now
I’m so much stronger
And I can’t hear you
Oh, break it down

Can’t help you no more
No, can’t help you no more
You’re making a mess of me
Using up everything
No, yo’ mama can’t help you no more
Oh, baby
You’re making a mess of me
Using up everything

Yeah, Oh, that man don’t fit no more
I can’t help you with that no more
I gotta a new life
I got my whole stuff back

But I ain’t got my watch
Ain’t that cold?

18 Comments Add yours

  1. Haven’t heard this before, will listen later. I do know though, that this guy is a smoking-hot guitar player

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      yes he is. I first saw him in the video, “Roger Waters: In The Flesh, Live” where he was one of the two lead guitars for the huge concert. From there I decided to learn more.


      1. I saw him there too! Can’t think of another guitarist who plays the strings upside down apart from him either… Different sound

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I was, and still am, mesmerized by him in that video. If I had a time machine, I’d go back there and stand in the front row…. There is a list in the text of players who do play that way, check it out. Not many, that’s for sure.


          1. Oh yes? Thanks will do.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never heard of Doyle Bramhall II before, but I just read that he has played with Eric Clapton and Roger Waters. I liked the song and it has a nice beat. How long have you been following this guy?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Since 2006, when Roger Waters came out with his DVD from his 3 year tour of “Roger Waters: Live, in the Flesh”. He is one of the two leads on that tour and he played and sang the Gilmour parts of Pink Floyd. Great DVD if you ever get a chance to see it. I haven’t heard the song he plays with EC yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mary B says:

    I had heard his name before, but hadn’t really paid much attention. After viewing/listening to these videos, I am thinking I should pay more attention!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Good to hear. Glad you like his music.


  4. A.C. Melody says:

    New artist for me, thanks for sharing! Both versions are good, but I liked what he said about everything being rhythmic and vibrational, music definitely connects people from everywhere. Great song & videos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad you connected with what he said.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love THIS! What a great artist and song!

    Doyle is new-to-me, but love his style and sound. Browsing Spotify for him! 👍👍

    And those lyrics! A writer’s dream!

    “And everything I had to lose
    To get small enough to fit in your life”

    Love it!

    Many thanks for the introduction and a great SLS post! 💯💯💯

    P.S. The drummer is killing me! 😂😂😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      So happy you connected with his music. Yes, didn’t think of the lyrics in terms of poetry but you’re right it is poetry! P.S. Yes that drummer is a trip isn’t he.


  6. J-Dub says:

    Yaaassss!! B asked me “what are you doing?” and I told him “getting my groove on!!” new to me and really loving it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      He is one to get a groove on to isn’t he 😉 Glad you grooved to him this morning.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. pvcann says:

    Love this guy, thanks for the wonderful poem too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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