My Yiddishe Mama was the legendary Sophie Tucker's signature song. One she started to rock in 1925 after the death of her own mother. She originally released it in English with a Yiddish version as the B-side and it became a smash hit, despite the heaviness of its lyrics:
"She would have leaped into the fire
and water for her children.
Not cherishing her is certainly the greatest sin."
Every Jewish stereotype of the Jewish mother-child stereotype succinctly captured in just three lines. Brilliant craftsmanship that perhaps has contributed to its longevity. It has been recorded by everyone from Itzhak Perlman to the Barry Sisters... and here are four of our favorites. The original and arguably still the best, by Sophie Tucker. Yossele Rosenblatt, the greatest cantor of his generation lending his signature sobbing sound to the Yiddish. Tom Jones leading Australian singing sensation John Farnham in a duet. Jones was want to introduce the song in concert by saying, "This is a song I learned, from my father, when I was a boy." And then romantic balladeer, the late, great Spaniard Nino Bravo takes it to a new level with his version, My Querida Mama, My Beloved Mama. If you have a favorite, we would love to hear about it.
Tom Jones and John Farnham