The Dirty South

The Dirty South

Release Date: August 24, 2004 - New West Records
LYRICS    COMMENTARY   CREDITS
This is our best selling album and I think it's aging really well. This one sounds quite different on vinyl and in the best of ways. It almost sounds like different mixes on some songs. It came out on vinyl in the UK a few years back. Their packaging was better than the new reissue, but I think this generation (with mastering by Sterling) sounds a little better. No mp3 inclusion (not my fault) but I still highly recommend this one. Tornadoes, Danko / Manuel and Carl Perkins' Cadillac all sound especially fine.
-Patterson Hood

Due to a recent manufacturing issue many copies of THE DIRTY SOUTH were packaged with DECORATION DAY inserts. If you recently purchased THE DIRTY SOUTH, PLEASE double check the insert that was included with the packaging, if incorrect please email merchandise@musictoday.com and explain that you got the wrong insert for THE DIRTY SOUTH and be sure to include your mailing address and we will send you a correct insert ASAP. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your support!

TRACK LISTING

1. Where The Devil Don't Stay
2. Tornadoes
3. The Day John Henry Died
4. Puttin' People On The Moon
5. Carl Perkins' Cadillac
6. The Sands Of Iwo Jima
7. Danko/Manuel
8. The Boys From Alabama
9. Cottonseed
10. The Buford Stick
11. Daddy's Cup
12. Never Gonna Change
13. Lookout Mountain
14. Goddamn Lonely Love

LYRICS

WHERE THE DEVIL DON'T STAY

My Daddy played poker on a stump in the woods back in his younger days
Prohibition was the talk, but the rich folks walked to the woods where my Daddy stayed
Jugs and jars from shiners, these old boys here, they ain't miners
They came from the twenty-niners
It didn't take a hole in the ground to put the bottom in their face

Back in the thirties when the dust bowl dried
And the woods in Alabama didn't see no light
My Daddy played poker by a hard wood fire
Squeezing all his luck from a hot copper wire
Scrap like a wildcat fights till the end
Trap a wildcat and take his skin
Deal from the bottom, put the ace in the hole
One hand on the jug but you never do know

Son come running
You better come quick
This rotgut moonshine is making me sick
Your Mama called the law and they're gonna take me away
Down so far even the Devil won't stay
Where I call to the Lord with all my soul
I can hear him rattling the chains on the door
He couldn't get in I could see he tried
Through the shadows of the cage around the forty watt light

Daddy tell me another story
Tell me about the lows and the highs
Tell me how to tell the difference between what they tell me is the truth or a lie
Tell me why the ones who have so much make the ones who don't go mad
With the same skin stretched over their white bones and the same jug in their hand

My Daddy played poker on a stump in the woods back when the world was gray
Before black and white went and chose up sides and gave a little bit of both their way
The only blood that's any cleaner is the blood that's blue or greener
Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away

Lyrics by Mike Cooley and Ed Cooley (based on a poem by Ed Cooley) / Music by Drive-By Truckers
© Wayward Johnson's Music (BMI) / The Minor Hill Singers: Jason Isbell, Kimberly Morgan and Shonna Tucker

TORNADOES

The clouds started forming at five o'clock pm
The funnel clouds touched down
five miles north of Russellville
Sirens were blowing, clouds spat rain
and as the things came threw, it sounded like a train

"It came without no warning" said Bobbi Jo McLean
She and husband Nolen always loved to watch the rain
It sucked him out the window, he ain't come home again
All she can remember is "It sounded like a train"

Pieces of that truck stop, litter up the highway, I been told
And I hear that missing trucker ended up in Kansas
(or maybe it was Oz).

The Nightmare Tour ended for my band and me
the night all the shit went down
A homecoming concert, the night the tornadoes hit my hometown.
The few who braved the weather were sucked out of the auditorium
I can still remember the sound of their applause in the rain
as it echoed through them storm clouds, I swear, It sounded like a train.

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers / © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
For Chuck Tremblay / (Originally written for Adam's House Cat - November 1988)
Pianos - Isbell and Hood / Background Vocals - Jason Isbell and Clay Leverett

THE DAY JOHN HENRY DIED

I watched the rain; it settled in. We disappeared for days again.
Most of us were staying in, lazy like the sky.
The letters flew across the wire filtered through a million liars.
The whole world smelled like burning tires the day John Henry died.

We knew about that big machine that ran on human hope and steam.
Bets on John were far between and mostly on the side.
We heard he put up quite a fight. His hands and feet turned snowy white.
That hammer rang out through the night the day John Henry died.

When John Henry was a little bitty baby nobody ever taught him how to read
but he knew the perfect way to hold a hammer was the way the railroad baron held the deed.

It didn't matter if he won, if he lived, or if he'd run.
They changed the way his job was done. Labor costs were high.
That new machine was cheap as hell and only John would work as well,
so they left him laying where he fell the day John Henry died.

John Henry was a steel-driving bastard but John Henry was a bastard just the same.
An engine never thinks about his daddy and an engine never needs to write its name.

So pack your bags, we're headed west and L.A. ain't no place to rest.
You'll need some sleep to pass the test, so get some on the flight
and say your prayers John Henry Ford 'cause we don't need your work no more.
You should have known the final score the day John Henry died.

Jason Isbell © House of Fame Music (BMI)

PUTTIN' PEOPLE ON THE MOON

Mary Alice had a baby and he looked just like I did
We got married on a Monday and I been working ever since
Every week down at the Ford Plant but now they say they're shutting down
Goddamned Reagan in the White House and no one there gives a damn

Double Digit unemployment, TVA be shutting soon
While over there in Huntsville, They puttin' people on the moon

So I took to runnin' numbers for this man I used to know
And I sell a few narcotics and I sell a little blow
I ain't getting rich now but I'm gettin' more than by
It's really tough to make a living but a man just got to try

If I died in Colbert County, Would it make the evening news?
They too busy blowin' rockets, Puttin' people on the moon

Mary Alice quit askin' why I do the things I do
I ain't sayin' that she likes it, but what else I'm gonna do?
If I could solve the world's problems I'd probably start with hers and mine
But they can put a man on the moon
And I'm stuck in Muscle Shoals just barely scraping by

Mary Alice got cancer just like everybody here
Seems everyone I know is gettin' cancer every year
And we can't afford no insurance, I been 10 years unemployed
So she didn't get no chemo so our lives was destroyed
And nothin' ever changes, the cemetery gets more full
And now over there in Huntsville, even NASA's shut down too

Another Joker in the White House, said a change was comin' round
But I'm still workin' at The Wal Mart and Mary Alice, in the ground
And all them politicians, they all lyin' sacks of shit
They say better days upon us but I'm sucking left hind tit
And the preacher on the TV says it ain't too late for me
But I bet he drives a Cadillac and I'm broke with some hungry mouths to feed

I wish I'z still an outlaw, was a better way of life
I could clothe and feed my family still have time to love my pretty wife
And if you say I'm being punished. Ain't he got better things to do?
Turnin' mountains into oceans Puttin' people on the moon

Turnin' mountains into oceans Puttin' people on the moon

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers (I-24E and I-75S Nashville to Atlanta - 11/19/2003) © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Piano - David Barbe

CARL PERKINS' CADILLAC

Life ain't nothing but a blending up of all the ups and downs
Dammit Elvis, don't you know
You made your Mama so proud
Before you ever made that record, before there ever was a Sun
Before you ever lost that Cadillac that Carl Perkins won

Mr. Phillips found old Johnny Cash and he was high
High before he ever took those pills and he's still too proud to die
Mr. Phillips never said anything behind nobody's back
Like "Dammit Elvis, don't he know, he ain't no Johnny Cash"

If Mr. Phillips was the only man that Jerry Lee still would call sir
Then I guess Mr. Phillips did all of Y'all about as good as you deserve
He did just what he said he was gonna do and the money came in sacks
New contracts and Carl Perkins' Cadillac

I got friends in Nashville, or at least they're folks I know
Nashville is where you go to see if what they said is so
Carl drove his brand new Cadillac to Nashville and he went downtown
This time they promised him a Grammy
He turned his Cadillac around

Mr. Phillips never blew enough hot air to need a little gold plated paperweight
He promised him a Cadillac and put the wind in Carl's face
He did just what he said he was gonna do and the money came in sacks
New contracts and Carl Perkins' Cadillac

Dammit Elvis, I swear son I think it's time you came around
Making money you can't spend ain't what being dead's about
You gave me all but one good reason not to do all the things you did
Now Cadillacs are fiberglass, if you were me you'd call it quits

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Wayward Johnson's Music (BMI)
12 String Electric Hagstrom Guitar - Jason Isbell

THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA

George A. was at the movies in December '41
They announced it in the lobby what had just gone on
He drove up from Birmingham back to the family's farm
Thought he'd get him a deferment there's was much work to be done
He was a family man, even in those days
But Uncle Sam decided he was needed anyway
In the South Pacific over half a world away
He believed in God and Country, things was just that way

Just that way.....

When I was just a kid I spent every weekend
On the farm that he grew up on so I guess so did I
And we'd stay up watching movies on the black and white TV
We watched "The Sands of Iwo Jima" starring John Wayne

Every year in June George A. goes to a reunion
Of the men that he served with and their wives and kids and grandkids
My Great Uncle used to take me and I'd watch them recollect
about some things I couldn't comprehend

And I thought about that movie, asked if it was that way
He just shook his head and smiled at me in such a loving way
As he thought about some friends he will never see again
He said "I never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima"

Most of those men are gone now but he goes still every year
And George A's still doing fine, especially for his years
He's still living on that homestead in the house that he was born in
And I sure wish I could go see him today

He never drove a new car though he could easily afford it
He'd just buy one for the family and take whatever no one wanted
He said a shiny car didn't mean much after all the things he'd seen
George A. never saw John Wayne on the sands of Iwo Jima

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers (October 19, 2003) © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Banjos - Mike Cooley / Fender Rhodes - David Barbe / Harmonica - Mike Cooley

DANKO / MANUEL

Let the night air cool you off.
Tilt your head back and try to cough.
Don't say nothing 'bout the things you never saw.
Let the night air cool you off.

I ain't living like I should.
A little rest might do me good.
Got to sinking in the place where I once stood.
Now I ain't living like I should.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.
Maybe I can only hear it in my head.
Fifteen years ago we owned that road
now it's rolling over us instead.

Richard Manuel is dead.

God forbid you call their bluff.
Like the nightmares ain't enough.
Remember when we used to think that we were tough?
God forbid you call their bluff.

First they make you out to be
the only pirate on the sea.
Then they say Danko would have sounded just like me.
"Is that the man you want to be?"

Can you hear that song? It sounds like gold.
Maybe I could make it bigger overseas.
Fifteen years ago we owned this road
now it only gives us somewhere else to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Can you hear that singing? Sounds like gold.
Maybe I can hear poor Richard from the grave
singin' where to reap and when to sow
when you've found another home you have to leave.

Something else you can't believe.

Jason Isbell © House Of Fame Music (BMI)
Mellophones and Fender Rhodes - Jason Isbell

BOYS FROM ALABAMA

Well, they caught you smoking grass and the judge threw the book
I can see a little opportunism in your look
You can take it from me, boy
You can take it from a crook
I got friends on the inside and friends on the outside
They'll sneak up beside you so keep on their good side

I can see you standing there, staring down at your shoes
Thinking about your Mom and Dad and wondering what to do
Well you best look inside yourself, boy, we're all watching you
We got friends in jail who will see you through
Boy, don't forget, no matter what you do

Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
You know they won't let it slide
They might find your body in the Tennessee River
or they might not find you at all
There'll be no place to run and hide
and your family ain't safe at all
Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
We're keeping an eye on you

Keeping an eye on you

Don't piss off the Boys from Alabama
Better take it like a man
Ain't nobody gonna stick anything up your ass
If you remember who your friends are
We got good help down in Franklin County
They'll hunt you like a dog
You can take your fall or lose it all
The choice is up to you

I wouldn't piss off the Boys from Alabama if I was you

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
Wurlitzer - Jason Isbell / B3 - David Barbe / Banjo - Mike Cooley / Auto Parts - The State Line Chain Gang

COTTONSEED

I came to tell my story to all these young and eager minds
To look in their unspoiled faces and their curious bright eyes
Stories of corruption, crime and killing, yes it's true
Greed and fixed elections, guns and drugs and whores and booze

It's been a while since I put on a suit of my own clothes
And even longer since I cast my shadow on a church house door
They say every sin is deadly but I believe they may be wrong
I'm guilty of all seven and I don't feel too bad at all

I used to have a wad of hundred dollar bills in the back pocket of my suit
I had a .45 underneath my coat and another one in my boot
I drove a big ole Cadillac, bought a new one anytime I pleased
And I put more lawmen in the ground than Alabama put cottonseed

I spent a few years on vacation, sanctioned by the state I mentioned
But a man like me don't do no time too hard to come back from
The meanest of the mean, I see you lock away and toss the key
But they're all just loud mouth punks to me, I've scraped meaner off my shoe

Somewhere, I ain't saying, there's a hole that holds a judge
The last one that I dug myself
And I must admit I was sad to lay him in it, but I did the best I could
Once his Honor grows a conscience, well folks, that there just ain't no good

There's a pretty girl out there said "Daddy, you stay cool tonight
All I need from you is to come home and be here by my side
Say what you gotta say to shut their Bibles and their mouths
If they was to tie a noose, they'd have to lay their Bibles down"

I ain't here to save no souls and even if I could
I could never save enough to put back half the ones I took
So if they rest in torment you can't say it's cause of me
They'd long been bought and paid for like that fool's in Tennessee

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Wayward Johnson's Music (BMI)

THE BUFORD STICK (The Legend of Sheriff Buford Pusser)

Now Sheriff Buford Pusser's gotten too big for his britches
With his book reviews and movie deals
Down at the car lot making public appearances
For breaking up our homes and stills
I know he likes to brag how he wrestled a bear
But I knew him from the funeral home
Ask him for a warrant, he'll say "I keep it in my shoe"
That son of a bitch has got to go
That son of a bitch has got to go

Now they lined up around the block to see that movie
And crying for his ambushed wife
Marveling about about shot eight times and stabbed seven
Some folks can't take a hint
They say he didn't take no crap from the State Line Gang
What the hell they talking bout?
I'm just a hard workingman with a family to feed
And he made my daughter cry
Said he made my daughter cry

"Watch out for Buford!" is what they keep on telling me
But to me he's just another crooked lawman up in Tennessee
He gets a new hot car to keep us on our toes
And that ridiculous stick where the press corp. goes
And some big time Hollywood actors playing him on the big screen

"Watch out for Buford! He's shutting down our stills and whores"
But it ain't like he's all that different from what was there before
It wouldn't take my man long to do the job
Just a partially sawed through steering rod
And I wouldn't have to worry about the good Sheriff anymore
Now the funeral's got'em lined up for twenty blocks
No one liked that SOB when he's alive
But the ruckus he began keeps a spreadin' like a wildfire
Not sure if I'm gonna survive

Hit an embankment doing 120 on a straight-away
The Lord works in mysterious ways
They'll probably make another movie, glorifying what he done
But I'll never have to hear them say
I'll never have to hear them say

Watch out for Buford

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Soul Dump Music (BMI)

DADDY'S CUP

Before I could walk, I had a wrench in my hand
I was my Mama's little angel and my Daddy's second chance
He went end over end the first year he went pro
Lost part of his eyesight and he couldn't race no more

But he never lost his touch when he got underneath the hood
He knew how to make them run and he knew one day he would
See his name in victory lane and engraved on that cup
Just like all them other crazy fools with racing in their blood

He would put me on his lap when he'd drive and I'd take the wheel
He'd say "What do you think about that son? How does she feel?
You just wait till them little legs get long enough to reach the gas
Once you put her on the floor one time there ain't no turning back"

Every Saturday, he'd take me out to the garage
He'd take an empty bucket and fill it full of engine parts
He's sit me down and pour em out in front of me on the floor
I'd have to tell him what each one was and what each one was for

We'd jump into the car and go down to the race that night
He'd tell me what each driver was doing wrong and what each one did right
He could always pick the winner before they ever took a curve
#3 might have the car but 43 has got the nerve

Before I turned 18 Daddy said "Now pretty soon
You'll be old enough to drive but I'll leave it up to you
I taught you all about it, taught you everything I know
You gotta have a car to do it and you gotta work and buy your own"

The first one I bought was a Mustang #2
Nobody kept'em any longer than they kept a pair of shoes
They started showing up at every used car lot in town
A V-8 on a go-cart, easy terms, no money down

Me and Daddy and my uncle took her home and tore her down
Checked her out real good, cleaned her up and bored her out
Took out all the seats, pulled the carpet off the floor
Knocked out all the glass and welded up the doors

The first time that I raced my qualifying was a shame
I started out way in the back and came back about the same
I pulled her in the pit, couldn't look my Daddy in the eye
He said "If you quit now son, it's gonna haunt you all your life"

It ain't about the money or even being #1
You gotta know when it's all over you did the best you could've done
Knowing that it's in you and you never let it out
Is worse than blowing any engine or any wreck you'll ever have

Since then I've wrecked a bunch of cars and I've broke a bunch of bones
It's anybody's race out there and I've learned to race my own
I'd shove em in the wall and I'd hit em from behind
I'd let them know that I was there, I'd let them know that track was mine

It's been several years now since my Daddy passed away
But his picture's on my dash every time I go to race
I lost more than I won but I ain't gonna give up
Till they put me in the ground or Daddy's name's on that cup

Mike Cooley / Drive-By Truckers © Wayward Johnson's Music (BMI)

NEVER GONNA CHANGE

Let this be a lesson to you girl: Don't come around where you know you don't belong.
They're riding on the avenue and probably coming after you and they all look mean and strong.
Mean and strong like liquor.
Mean and strong like fear.
Strong like the people from South Alabama and mean like the people from here.
Take it from me... We ain't never gonna change.

Daddy used to empty out his shotgun shells and fill 'em full of black-eyed peas.
He'd aim real low and tear out your ankles or rip right through your knees.
There ain't much traffic on the highway. There ain't much traffic on the lake.
The ATF and the ABI got everything they could take.
Take it from me... They didn't take it from me.

We ain't never gonna change.
We ain't doin' nothin' wrong.
We ain't never gonna change
so shut your mouth and play along.

I thought about going in the army. I thought about going overseas.
I wouldn't have trouble with a piss test; only problem is my bad left knee.
My brother got picked up at Parker's, got him a ride in a new Crown Vic.
They said that he was movin' on a federal level but they couldn't really make it stick.
Take it from me...

We ain't never gonna change.
We ain't doin' nothin' wrong.
We ain't never gonna change
so shut your mouth and play along.

You can throw me in the Colbert County jailhouse.
You can throw me off the Wilson Dam
but there ain't much difference in the man I wanna be and the man I really am.

We ain't never gonna change.

Jason Isbell © House of Fame Music (BMI)

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

If I throw myself off Lookout Mountain
No more for my soul to keep
I wonder who will drive my car
I wonder if my Mom will weep

If I throw myself off Lookout Mountain
No more pain my soul to bare
No more worries about paying taxes
What to eat, what to wear
Who will end up with my records?
Who will end up with my tapes?
Who will pay my credit card bills?
Who's gonna pay for my mistakes?

If I throw myself off Lookout Mountain who will ever hear my songs?
Who's gonna mow the cemetery when all of my family's gone?
Who will Mom and Daddy find to continue the family name?
Who will stand there taking credit, who will lay there passing blame?

Who will lay there passing blame?

Patterson Hood / Drive-By Truckers © Soul Dump Music (BMI) Originally written for Adam's House Cat - Summer 1990.
Backing Vocals - David Barbe and Jason Isbell

GODDAMN LONELY LOVE

I got green and I got blues
and everyday there's a little less difference between the two.
So I belly-up and disappear.
Well I ain't really drowning 'cause I see the beach from here.

I could take a Greyhound home but when I got there it'd be gone
along with everything a home is made up of.
So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take all of what you got
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love.

Sister, listen to what your daddy says.
Don't be ashamed of things that hide behind your dress.
Belly-up and arch your back.
Well I ain't really falling asleep; I'm fading to black.

You could come to me by plane, but that wouldn't be the same
as that old motel room in Texarkana was.
So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take all of what you got
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love.

Stop me if you've heard this one before:
A man walks into a bar and leaves before his ashes hit the floor.
Stop me if I ever get that far.
The sun's a desperate star that burns like every single one before.

And I could find another dream,
one that keeps me warm and clean
but I ain't dreamin' anymore, I'm waking up.
So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take everything you got
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love.

Jason Isbell © House of Fame Music (BMI)
Piano - Patterson Hood / B3 - Jason Isbell

COMMENTARY

The following is a brief rundown of the songs with notes by me (except for where otherwise noted) and a few key lines or verses. - Patterson Hood

WHERE THE DEVIL DON'T STAY
"Tell me why the ones who have so much make the ones who don't go mad
With the same skin stretched over their white bones and the same jug in their hand" *

Mike Cooley wrote this one, based on a poem by his uncle Ed Cooley. Ed got to be there when we recorded it. Think he packed for a long evening of recording, but we'd been playing it live for a year or so and ended up nailing it in one take. Think Ed might have been a little disappointed by that.


TORNADOES
"Pieces of that truck stop, litter up the highway, I been told
And I hear that missing trucker ended up in Kansas
(or maybe it was Oz)." **

I wrote this one back in 1988. It was inspired by two tornadoes, two Music Biz guys from Nashville, one empty theatre, one front-page headline, and "too many goddamned train songs". Way too long a story to go into here. For the really curious, here's a link to the whole dirty story.


THE DAY JOHN HENRY DIED
"That new machine was cheap as hell and only John would work as well,
so they left him laying where he fell the day John Henry died." ***

Jason Isbell: My grandfather used to play and sing to me when I was a kid. "John Henry" was one of our favorites. I was always intrigued by the fact that John beat the steam engine, but didn't live to enjoy his victory.

According to family legend, my grandfather could pick four hundred pounds of cotton in a single day in his prime. When he first heard that men were making money-riding bulls, he hopped on the biggest one he could find and made his brother tie his feet together underneath the animal. Somehow he got loose before he got trampled. He spent years working in a rock wool plant producing the material that was fazed out in favor of the cheaper, safer alternative -- asbestos. He died last year of lung cancer.


PUTTIN' PEOPLE ON THE MOON
"Double Digit unemployment, TVA be shutting soon
While over there in Huntsville, They puttin' people on the moon" **

I wrote this one in the van, shortly before we completed the album. Sort of my latest, and best attempt at a song that I've written and re written at least a dozen times since the mid-80's.
This song deals with "rocket envy", a non-diagnosable psychosis affecting people in an economically depressed community, located just 60 or so miles from The NASA Space and Rocket Center.

To make matters worse, our community is downstream from industry, contributing (surely) to our massive cancer rate.
"Mary Alice got cancer just like everybody here
Seems everyone I know is gettin' cancer every year
And we can't afford no insurance, I been ten years unemployed
So she didn't get no chemo so our lives was destroyed
And nothin' ever changes, the cemetery gets more full
And over there in Huntsville, even NASA's shut down too" **


CARL PERKINS' CADILLAC
Cooley's song about the legendary SUN Records folks and the music industry in general.
It took on an extra poignancy last fall with the back to back passing of Sam Phillips and Johnny Cash.


THE SANDS OF IWO JIMA
As a kid, I spent every weekend at my Great-Uncle's farm (my family's old homestead) where I rode go-carts and acted out my favorite movie scenes in the woods. George A. is an amazing man (still kicking hard at 84) and I have long tried to capture a glimpse of those times in a song.

During World War II he was drafted and ended up on the island Iwo Jima in one of the bloodiest battles of the war. As a curious child, I'd often innocently ask him about all that. One night while watching the old John Wayne movie (The Sands Of Iwo Jima) on TV, he simply said that he "never saw John Wayne over there".

So many of the folks I've written about in this album feel forced into doing terrible things. George A. was no doubt, changed by his experience, but I know him to be easily one of the greatest men I have ever met, thus, making it a much trickier subject to write about.


DANKO / MANUEL
"Got to sinking in the place where I once stood." ***

Jason Isbell: When I started writing this one, I wanted to capture some of Levon Helm's feelings about the deaths (and lives) of Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. The longer I worked on the song, the more impossible that became. I felt like the best I could do was to explain my own attitude toward being a working and traveling musician.

The horn parts came to me in a dream.


THE BOYS FROM ALABAMA
"Don't piss of the Boys from Alabama / Better take it like a man
Ain't nobody gonna stick anything up your ass / If you remember who your friends are" **

TBFA was the first of a series of songs we worked on based (loosely) on some of the folklore surrounding The Redneck Mafia whose exploits have inspired countless books and a few (really bad) movies.
As kids, we all saw some of those movies (the most famous being the original "Walking Tall" from 1973) telling of the good Sheriff Buford Pusser and his battle against the bootleggers.

I never cared for those movies, but there was no denying the cultural phenomenon they became.
It always seemed to me that a far better story lay in "bad guys" point of view.
This year, Hollywood blew its chance to get it right, yet again.
This song could be the opening sequence for the movie I'd like to make about it.


COTTONSEED
"I used to have a wad of hundred dollar bills in the back pocket of my suit
I had a .45 underneath my coat and another one in my boot
I drove a big ole Cadillac, bought a new one anytime I pleased
And I put more lawmen in the ground than Alabama put cottonseed

I spent a few years on vacation, sanctioned by the state I mentioned
But a man like me don't do no time too hard to come back from
The meanest of the mean, I see you lock away and toss the key
But they're all just loud mouth punks to me; I've scraped meaner off my shoe

Somewhere, I ain't saying, there's a hole that holds a judge
The last one that I dug myself
And I must admit I was sad to lay him in it, but I did the best I could
Once his Honor grows a conscience, well folks, that there just ain't no good" *


THE BUFORD STICK
"Hit an embankment doing 120 on a straight-away
The Lord works in mysterious ways" **

This was one last stab at the folklore surrounding Sheriff Buford Pusser from the point of view of a man that would just as soon see him dead. I wrote this one in the studio at FAME right before we wrapped the album. It was originally set to be a country type song, but (producer) David Barbe suggested we put the pedal to the floor on it. We love David Barbe.


DADDY'S CUP
"You just wait till them little legs get long enough to reach the gas
Once you put her on the floor one time their ain't no turning back" *


NEVER GONNA CHANGE
"You can throw me in the Colbert County jailhouse / You can throw me off the Wilson Dam
but there ain't much difference in the man I wanna be and the man I really am

We ain't never gonna change" ***

Jason: This one's pretty self-explanatory. It centers around a North Alabama man who refuses to live in fear. There are quite a few of those.


LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN
"Who's gonna mow the cemetery when all of my family's gone?" **

Cooley and I have been playing various versions of this song since about 1990 (Adam's House Cat).
It has always been one of our favorites to play, but was a last minute addition to this album.
In the mixing stage, we swapped a song called "Goode's Field Road" for it because we wanted a harder rocker for this spot on the album. GFR was one of my favorites on the album but I stand by this as the better call.

A first take from the FAME sessions.


GODDAMN LONELY LOVE
"Stop me if you've heard this one before:
A man walks into a bar and leaves before his ashes hit the floor.
Stop me if I ever get that far.
The sun's a desperate star that burns like every single one before.

And I could find another dream,
one that keeps me warm and clean
but I ain't dreamin' anymore, I'm waking up.

So I'll take two of what you're having and I'll take everything you got
to kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love." ***

Jason Isbell: I tried real hard to come up with a different way of saying this, but it just seemed to fit.
Loneliness can be drowned if you hold it under long enough, but it takes a lot of other things with it.

David Barbe deserves some credit for the way this track turned out. He's a walking encyclopedia of cool old sounds.

* Lyrics by Mike Cooley © Wayward Johnson Music (BMI)
** Lyrics by Patterson Hood © Soul Dump Music (BMI)
*** Lyrics by Jason Isbell © House of Fame Music (BMI)
As always: Turn it up.
Patterson Hood - April 2004 (Athens, GA).

CREDITS

DBT - Mike Cooley, Patterson Hood, Jason Isbell, Brad Morgan and Shonna Tucker

GUESTS - David Barbe, Clay Leverett, The Minor Hill Singers (featuring Kimberly Morgan) and The State Line Chain Gang

Produced and Directed by The Reverend David Barbe
Recorded at Chase Park Transduction in Athens,, GA and
The Legendary Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, AL on sixteen-track / two-inch analog by David Barbe.
Assisted by Marcus Thompson and Jimmy Nutt
Additional Engineering - Daniel Rickard
Mixed by John Agnello and David Barbe at Chase Park Transduction, Athens, GA
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, NYC

PERSONNEL:
Management - Scott Munn and David Barbe at Perfect Pitch Management / DBT, Athens, GA
Agent USA - Frank Riley and Matt Hickey at High Road Touring, Sausalito, CA
Agent Europe - Paul Fenn at Asgard Promotions, London, England
Press and Publicity - Traci Thomas at Grassroots Media / New West Records, Los Angeles, CA
Legal - J. Reid Hunter LLP for Serling, Rooks, and Ferrara, NYC
Web - Jenn Bryant for Knuckle Sammitch
Business Accounting - Sarah L. Beam at Bean Counter Services, Athens, GA
John Agnello managed by Peter Shershin for Breathing Protection
A&R - Peter Jesperson

Road Manager and Mule Wrangler -
Patrick Kerr (The Talent)
Live Sound Engineer - Matt DeFilippis (The Matador)
Lighting and Mule Maintenance - Ryan Dowd
Live Show Documentation - Chris Pennington (CP)
Driver - Jay Michaels

Art Direction - Lilla Hood and Chuck Hermes
Artwork and Paintings - Wes Freed for Willard's Garage
Band Photography - Adam Smith
Collage: "George A. House" - Lilla Hood
(photos courtesy of George A. Johnson and Jan Adams)
Photo: "Buford Pusser Monument" - Patrick Hood
Photo: "George A. House" - Rebecca Hood

DBT would like to thank Ansley and John Ross Cooley, Rebecca Hood, Kimberly Morgan and all of our beloved families and friends.

DBT would like to thank the folks working so hard in our office, the High Road office, our US and European Road Crews and our family of support at home and abroad. We couldn't do anything without you.

DBT would like to thank the incredible folks at New West Records for working so hard for the Rock and treating our music with tender loving care.

DBT would like to thank all of the agents, promoters, studio folks, sound engineers, bartenders, writers,
editors, publishers, drivers, programmers, photographers, artists, graphic designers, and casino pit bosses.

DBT would like to thank you (very much).