Cry-Baby, Cry Till We Cry

Authors: Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy
Artists: Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, Janis Joplin
Album: Single, then Pearl, then Single
Song: Cry Baby

Born in the Bronx, New York City, in November of 1929 to Russian Jewish immigrants, when Bert Berns was a child rheumatic fever damaged his heart and would mark the rest of his life, resulting in an early death.

Turning to music, he found consolance in the sounds of his African American and Latino neighbors. As a young man, Berns danced in mambo nightclubs, and made his way to Havana before the Cuban Revolution.

Jerry Ragovoy on the other hand was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, less than one year later, in September of 1930, the son of a Hungarian-born Jewish optometrist. He entered the music industry at age 23 in 1953 with "My Girl Awaits Me" by the Castelles, the fabulous creators of the so called "Philadelphia Sound" (high tenor lead, one bass, many tenors in close harmony and minimal instrumentation).

Another well-known song by Ragovoy is "Piece of My Heart", also co-written with Berns and recorded originally by Erma Franklin, the elder sister of guess who, and later famously also covered by Janis Joplin. Between 1966 and 1968, Ragovoy was employed as a producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros subsidiary Loma Records. He went on to co-write several more songs that played a role in Joplin's career, including "Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)", "Get it While You Can" and "My Baby". Prior to Joplin's early death, Ragovoy wrote a song especially for her album to come, titled "I'm Gonna Rock My Way to Heaven". The song was never recorded or performed until shortly before Ragovoy's death in July 2011.

In 1963 Berns and Ragovoy wrote "Cry Baby" which was originally recorded by Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters for United Artists. It topped the R&B chart and went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1963 and is believed to have paved the way for soul hits by Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding later in the decade. The third verse was spoken by Mimms until the repeated refrain of the repeated song title.

Joplin recorded the song over the course of September and October 1970 for her album Pearl, posthumously released in 1971. It became a staple in her repertoire for the short rest of her life. Its producer was Paul A. Rothchild. On the single, the B-side was "Mercedes Benz".

Berns, who, as we already have said, had a history of cardiac trouble, died in his New York apartment of heart failure on December 30, 1967, aged 38. Bad universe.

Ragovoy on the other hand soldiered on by himself and died, following a stroke, on July 13, 2011, at the age of 80.

Cry baby

Cry baby, cry baby, cry baby

Honey, welcome back home
I know she told you, honey I know she told you that she loved you
Much more than I did but all I know is that she left you
And you swear that you just don't know why
But you know, honey I'll always, I'll always be around if you ever want me

Come on and cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry baby

Oh honey, welcome back home
Don't you know, honey
Honey ain't nobody ever gonna love you the way I try to do?
Who'll take all your pain, and your heartache, too?
And if you need me you know that I'll always be around
If you ever want me

Come on and cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry baby

Oh Daddy, like you always saying to do
And when you walk around the world, babe
You said you'd try to look for the end of the road
You might find out later that the road'll end in Detroit
Honey, the road'll even end in Kathmandu
You can go all around the world
Trying to find something to do with your life, baby
We only gotta do one thing well
You only gotta do one thing well to make it in this world, babe
You got a woman waiting for you there

All you ever gotta do is be a good man one time to one woman
And that'll be the end of the road, babe
I know you got more tears to share, babe
So come on, come on
Come on, come on, come on
And cry, cry baby, cry baby, cry
And if you ever feel a little lonely, dear
I want you to come on, come on to your mama now
And if you ever want a little love of a woman
Come on and baby, baby, baby, babe, babe, baby now
Cry baby, yeah

last updated: 15.03.18 06:58

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