"Pistol Packin' Mama" is a 1943 song with the words written by Al Dexter, who adapted the melody from "Boil Them Cabbage Down." The song is notable in that it was the first number one on the Juke Box Folk Records chart, which was later known as the Hot Country Songs chart.
Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters recorded the song on September 27, 1943 for Decca Records and it was the first number on the Juke Box Folk records charts followed by the original version (recorded March 18, 1942) performed by Al Dexter and His Troopers released on Okeh 6708. The Bing Crosby recording of, "Pistol Packin' Mama" peaked at #3 on the Harlem Hit Parade chart.
The B-side of the Al Dexter version of "Pistol Packin' Mama," a song entitled "Rosalita," hit number one on the same chart later in the year. As with the Bing Crosby recording, the Al Dexter version charted on the Harlem Hit Parade chart, peaking at #5.
The Irving Berlin song "You Can't Get a Man with a Gun" contains the lyric: "A man's love is mighty, he'll even buy a nightie, for a gal who he thinks is fun. But they don't buy pajamas for pistol packin' mamas."
It is also continually referenced in Spike Milligan's Goodbye Soldier (1986), which is part of his memoirs of World War II and just after it. In it he states that as Mussolini did not like jazz, after he was defeated the Italians were getting into jazz, and as this song was popular at the time, this was one of the songs Milligan and his group was often asked to sing. He also states that this is one of the main songs sung by Italian jazz bands (in fact he states that some bands only ever sang this song).
There is also a version of the song on an album titled A.P.C. Presents: The Unreleasable Tapes, with Bryan Adams being credited with the lead vocals.
A B17-G Flying Fortress named "Pistol Packin' Mama" was lost on July 20, 1944 on a mission to Leipzig.
In episode #151 of Hee Haw, the whole Hee Haw Gang, led by Buck Owens, performed the song in front of the haystack.
"Sunday, Monday or Always"
by Bing Crosby and the Ken Darby Singers
|The Billboard National Best Selling Retail Records number-one single
(Al Dexter and His Troopers version)
October 30, 1943 (one week)
"Paper Doll" by the Mills Brothers
|New chart||The Billboard Most Played Juke Box Folk Records number-one single
(Combined figures of multiple versions)
January 8 - February 19, 1944 (seven weeks)
by Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five