Time to take a seat in the old way-back machine. This time? To 1970. AM Radio ruled and all the pop was as sweet and clean as 'pretend' America insisted it be. Vests and bellbottoms and shirts with puff sleeves were worn by both sexes, while hippy staches gave way to porn staches. Mini skirts with maxi coats. Beads and feathers and military surplus were everywhere. The colors; as bright as the sound coming from the speakers in your Dad's car.
Mama Told Me Not To Come was inspired by the L.A. music scene during the mid-60's. Written from the POV of a sheltered, button-down youth, the song tells the tale of his first party in the city,. He is awed (and a bit taken aback) by all the pot smoking, whiskey drinking, and rock n' roll music; hence the chorus, wherein he states that his "Mama told (him) not to come" and how he really should have listened to her.
Initially cut by Eric Burdon & The Animals, the record company got cold feet and yanked the single from release in September of 1966. The group's version eventually saw the light of day when it was included on their 1967 album, Eric Is Here.
In 1970, Newman decided to try his own hand at it, including it in his 12 Songs album, released that same year. His version features the venerable Ry Cooder on slide guitar.
Also in 1970, Three Dog Night, who always had their ears perked looking for fresh material, released their version - now titled: Mama Told Me (Not to Come) - on their It Ain't Easy album. Cory Wells, assuming one of his goofier voices, sings lead, while, who is that in the background? Why it's none other than an uncredited Donna Summer doing back-up vocals.