Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” — The Charlie Daniels Band (1980)

blgfullmoon“Old Lucias Clay was a greedy old man and that’s all there ever was to it…”

Treachery, murder, and revenge, and it’s all served up ghastly and Southern-fried. Yup, good old Lucius Clay is a miserly, bitter old dude who hides his money in jars in the swamp because of course he does. Naturally word gets out about the greedy hermit, and some thieving local white trash folk get the notion of taking Clay’s money for themselves. But the Swamp holds entirely too many mysteries of its own that can’t be rationalized away by foolish mortals. As the song itself proudly repeats, “There’s some things in this world you just can’t explain…”

What happens next you can probably predict on your own, but it makes for one fine Halloween tune. Say whatever you want about Charlie Daniels, but man oh manishevitz is he a great storyteller. The proof of the pudding is not just the raisins but The Legend of Wooley Swamp, a moonlight, misty, spooky tale of greed, murder, and ghostly retribution set in a steamy southern swamp. You can feel the mist rising, the frogs croakin’, and that pervading sense of supernatural interference gradually unspooling throughout the song.

And on certain nights if the moon is right
And you’re down by the dark footpath
You can hear three young men screaming
And you can hear that old man laugh

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