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Wednesday, 13 March 2019

State of the Union - Alabama

George writes:

After North Dakota I had to choose a state that would furnish some relevant, and decent, songs a lot more easily. So it’s Alabama.. The Louvin Brothers track Alabama was almost included, and the Mountain Goats, mentioned last week, had three contenders. I chose this one

...then researched what noctifer meant……..nothing rude, it is “evening star”

I suppose for some people Alabama is associated with some, to say the least, controversial people and events. But there is one thing I was very pleased to discover, that wrestling with a bear is a felony offence, and if the USA cop shows I watch are something to go by, you do NOT want to go the federal prison.

I was also interested to discover that it can be a bit hazardous going  to sleep on your couch in Alabama, specifically, Oak Grove, certainly if Ann Hodges’ experience is anything to go by - she was hit by a meteorite whilst doing so.  I bet there was no more couch-napping for Ms Hodges after that episode (she survived, for 18 more years).

Time for a song, and not the usual country or americana offering, but something by Leadbelly, backed by the Golden Gate Quartet:

In my research I came across, and bought, an album I was sure could supply a track, it was called Funeral Songs For George Wallace, by an act called Heavy Water. No suitable song was available.

There’ll be a good reason for the fact that it is illegal in Alabama, and punishable by death, to put table salt on a railway track……don’t know what is though……….and in Alabama it is illegal to sell sex toys, which will get a heftier fine (thousands of dollars) than selling a gun to a child ($500)……..

………..but I don’t think I’ll find anything better than this , though. In Alabama it is illegal to wear a fake moustache that can cause laughter in a church. I did not make that up. Anyone off to Alabama this summer? Go on, pack a fake ‘tache…..go on…...

That’s ten down (Alyson, if you’re still here), forty to go…..

CC writes
When I hear Alabama I think
Drive-By Truckers - The Boys From Alabama


  1. Fascinating stuff about Alabamy ("Alabamy Bound" - Al Jolson) and I've learned a new word: noctifer. I'll definitely be sure never to put salt on an Alabaman rail track, but I am tempted to wear a fake moustache in church.
    The Louvin Brothers track is a wee gem. As someone who was a teen in the 1960's and saw TV footage of the police violence against civil rights marchers, I remember later in life being amazed that there was such a sweet song about Alabama.

    1. ....I hope you are tempted to indulge in a bout of bear-wrestling......

  2. As you say, quite a bit infamous about this state, but when I think of Alabama, Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield and Crimson Tide football are the first to things to pop into my head. Surprised you found a way to stop yourself from going with the Louvin Brothers. Use them whenever you can, sir. Always fun to hear the crazy laws. Keep it up.

  3. Speaking of the "Crimson Tide" reminds me of Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues":

    "Learn to work the saxophone
    I play just what I feel
    Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
    And die behind the wheel
    They got a name for the winners in the world
    I want a name when I lose
    They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
    Call me Deacon Blues..."

  4. Yes still here - My song would have been an obvious one, Sweet Home Alabama by Lynryd Skynyrd (did I get all the letter y's in the right place?).

    Love that someone is tackling this series as a very long one, but each state is the size of a country in our neck of the woods, so each one is so different depending on their latitude, place in history etc. I hope to pick up my journey at some point but just too time-consuming at the moment (George will be exhausted having come up with all these great snippets of research).

    1. Alyson, hardly exhausted, I sit at the farm all day doing this, listening to songs, watching the cat and dogs.....

    2. Thought so, I was being a tad sarcastic - we are all jealous.

  5. Since Alyson mentioned the obvious one (which links to Neil Young - Alabama, but more Southern Man), I'll throw in the other obvious one: Alabama Song by The Doors / David Bowie et al.

    Others worthy of note...

    Tracyanne & Danny - Alabama
    Old Crow Medicine Show - Alabama High-Test
    Frank Sinatra - Stars Fell On Alabama
    Jerry Reed - Alabama Jubilee
    Leadbelly - Alabama Bound
    Robbie Fulks - Alabama At Night
    The Deep Dark Woods - Shores of Alabama

    Special mentions to Alabama 3, Alabama Shakes & The Blind Boys of Alabama.

    We ARE all jealous.