My Grandmother: Hit Songwriter

A forgotten “rockabilly classic”

Terry Barr
The Riff
Published in
10 min readFeb 20, 2024

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The song’s author really is Inez Barr (Image Courtesy of eBay)

When your grandmother tells you that she’s written a song called “I Want Your Lovin,’” how should you respond? She’s in her 60’s and you’re 12.

When she proves it by showing you the 7-inch 45 rpm single, b/w “Waitin’,” and then proceeds to sing both songs for you, should you feel proud? Intrigued? Horrified?

Why “horrified,” you might ask?

I know, I’m jumping ahead of the story, but what kind of lovin’ does my grandmother want, and why do I need to hear about it in early adolescence? My parents barely kiss, and I’m appropriately wondering under what circumstances I ever will. That kissing and loving should involve my grandmother at all, much less that she’s trying to prove that once upon a time she could have been a pop star, are worlds too far and wide for my mind to traverse, or my heart to embrace.

It’s been fifty years since that evening at her apartment when she played both sides of the record — rendered by a band called Abby Lee & the Jesters — on her portable phonograph, a machine my father gave her when he purchased a Magnavox Hi-Fi console for us. 200 full seasons since she danced around arrhythmically as the music played, swaying her hips. For me. It felt so strange and uncomfortable then, and how does it feel now, this almost…

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Terry Barr
The Riff

I write about music, culture, equality, and my Alabama past in The Riff, The Memoirist, Prism and Pen, Counter Arts, and am an editor for Plethora of Pop.