“A Woman’s World”: Feminist or Traditionalist?

Teresa Brewer – whose duet with Mickey Mantle, “I Love Mickey,” reached #87 in 1956 – would later record ever so briefly for Shelby Singleton.  June 1968’s “A Woman’s World” was the first of but two singles Brewer recorded for SSS International:

The song initially gives the impression of threatening to challenge the status quo regarding gender roles and division of responsibilities, as the singer sobs over the plight of a homemaker’s isolation and lack of fulfillment.  “The woman’s born to make the man a home,” begins the second verse, “You cook and clean and sew all the time he’s gone.”  But somehow, just the sight of him entering their domicile after a long day’s work is enough to make her forget all about the deep structural inequities of their relationship.

Who wrote this song, I wonder – and was it a man?  I am hoping to obtain the answer to that question without leaving my seat, but alas, the Internet has let me down.  So I go fetch the record, half expecting to see the name “Tom T. Hall” when, lo and behold, it turns out to be Teresa Brewer herself!  Or wait – is it?  According to the songwriting credit on the 1969 Plantation compilation album, Country Gold Volume 1, Brewer is the song’s composer.  But according to the 45 image that I just now retrieved and attached to this blog piece, the tune’s creator is Ben Peters (a man – just as I had suspected).   The truth?

Teresa Brewer 45“A Woman’s World” was paired with “Ride-a-Roo,” a large rubber ball toy that kids bounce upon (also known worldwide as a space hopper, moon hopper, skippyball & hoppity hop).

Ride-a-Roo poster(Also known as a kangaroo jockey ball)

Commercially speaking, “A Woman’s World” did not do well, unfortunately — according to 45Cat, “this record did not chart.”  As one YouTube contributor astutely observes, this song finds Teresa Brewer very much in the Sandy Posey mold.  How interesting to consider that just five years hence we will find Teresa in London embracing the hard rock sound of Oily Rags.

The liner notes for the 2-disc anthology of Shelby Singleton’s Plantation and SSS labels, Plantation Gold, confirm Ben Peters as the tune’s author.

Teresa Brewer & MuppetsTeresa Brewer with Miss Piggy & Kermit – July 1977

 

“Mama Sure Could Swing a Deal”: Teresa Brewer Catches Fire w/ Oily Rags

Teresa Brewer‘s extensive recording career (which encompassed nearly 600 song titles) ran the gamut – from pop and novelty to rhythm & blues to country, musicals and, in the latter part of her career, jazz.  And yes, you can even add rock to that list – as evidenced  by “Mama Sure Could Swing a Deal,” a song from her 1973 album, In London with Oily Rags, on the Flying Dutchman label.

“Mama Sure Could Swing a Deal”     Teresa Brewer     1973

Oily Rags is the stage name for musical duo, Chas Hodges and Dave Peacock, who are joined by a bassist and drummer, two percussionists, three guitarists (including Pete Frampton), an electric keyboardist, and a 6-piece horn section on this track.

Curious to note that in 1973 Teresa Brewer also released 3 singles on the Flying Dutchman label – however, none of those sides duplicated any tracks from her album with Oily Rags.

“Mama Could Swing a Deal” written by Albert Hammond & Mike (not Lee) Hazlewood

Teresa Brewer LP-x