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Drive-By Truckers – Cottonseed lyrics

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

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  • h
    At a Cooley solo show last year, he explained that the man who's telling the story in Cottonseed actually spoke at a church camp that Cooley attended when he was kid. This fellow had not found religion, but wanted some kind of redemption and was very nervous about speaking at a church related event. The girl in the song was actually the man's daughter who was reassuring him that "if they was to tie a noose they'd have to lay their Bibles down." Cooley and Hood have great stories about growing up in north Alabama! Cottonseed is one of the best about the Dirty South.
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  • grendel53
    One of Mike Cooley's contributions to Drive By Truckers "The Dirty South", definitely one of my favorite albums. This song is part of a 3 song suite along w/ Boys From Alabama and Buford Stick. All touch on the crime, corruption and dirty dealins in the dirty South. This piece tells the story of an Alabama badass, a gangster, robber, shooter. He knows where the bodies are buried and exudes an aura of menace. Do not fuck with this guy. He's done some time, but it didn't phase him none. Now he's out, got his moll and is giving talks to "unspoiled faces and curious bright eyes". Maybe the JUCO lecture circuit, maybe shopping his manuscript, maybe probation requirement, maybe he got religion (probably not). His girl urges him to say what he's gonna say and come on home to her. He's a bad old man.
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