Search This Blog

Monday, 6 April 2015

Ronnie and Neil - a History Lesson

The Drive-By Truckers ambitious 2006 double album Southern Rock Opera  covers a number of topics pertinent to the South through the context of legendary Southern band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
One such topic is the reaction in the South to Neil Young's Southern Man.
One can almost visualise Erik Bartlam sitting on his front porch, bourbon in hand surveying a pile of burning Neil Young albums.
So here are the DBTs (and in particular Patterson Hood) explaining the story, the offending song, Lynyrd Skynyrd's reposte and some further historical context.
Erik, I suspect, will be delighted that my copy of Sweet Home Alabama is from a picture disc featuring the Confederate flag.

Drive-By Truckers - Ronnie and Neil

Neil Young -Southern Man

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama

Drive-By Truckers - The Three Great Alabama Icons


  1. Ha! That particular song, from the Canadian, is a nasty piece of work but I wouldn't burn his records like that...'cause we don't have a front porch. :)

    That is one, admittedly severe, drawback for an otherwise lovely abode.

    I was off Friday and me and the Boy rode over to the Grand Gulf Battlefield Park. It's right on the Mississippi River...where two small Confederate batteries from Brookhaven, MS. held off seven U.S. gunships, disabling one. Sadly the valiant wasn't enough to keep them burning the town down and finding some other place to land down river.

    Anyway...on the way there Sweet Home Alabama came on the radio and the Boy went mad for it. He's always loved Skynrd...and, despite being loved in a way, I think they're criminally underrated.

    Thanks for the link.

  2. Such an interesting selection, CC. 'Southern Man' was written in very turbulent times, and I'll say no more. It's not hard to understand why my fellow Canadian wouldn't have had the welcome mat rolled out for him in Alabama, but death threats? I had a hard time making out the lyrics of 'Ronnie and Neil', but 'The Three Great Alabama Icons' is compelling! Thanks for introducing me to it. (The landscape of Alabama is beautiful, by the way.)

    1. Death threats...I don't know. They're pretty easy to issue but, thankfully a little tougher to carry out. That song is nasty though...especially when he gets to the part about reparations and Southerners finally paying the price. What universe was he on when he wrote that? The South is the only place that has ever paid a price...a brutal price.

      Forget about Young though...a different Canadian...a far more thoughtful and, by my estimation, more talented Canadian will be making an honored appearance on my slab later today.

  3. I haven't heard that album since the 'early 70s and his lyrics, for me, are still hard to decipher. Trying to guess who you'll be posting today.