The Legend of Wooley Swamp
|"The Legend Of Wooley Swamp"|
|Single by Charlie Daniels|
|from the album Full Moon|
|Released||August 11, 1980|
|Genre||Southern rock, country|
James W. Marshall
|Charlie Daniels singles chronology|
"The Legend Of Wooley Swamp" is a song written, composed, and recorded by the Charlie Daniels Band. It was released in August 1980 as the second single from the album Full Moon, which was later certified platinum.
The song tells a mythical ghost story, with the first verse relating the life of Lucius Clay, an elderly and greedy recluse who lives in a backwoods area of Wooley Swamp called Booger Woods. Clay cares about nothing except his money, which he keeps buried in Mason jars around the shack where he lives. According to the lyrics, Clay digs up his money "on certain nights if the moon is right" just to run his fingers through it.
The second (and longer) verse introduces the antagonists, the Cable Boys who live in nearby Carver's Creek; three young brothers described as mean and belligerent white trash. Jealous of Lucius Clay, the brothers plot to kill him, feed his corpse to the alligators and steal his money. Late one night, they sneak up on Clay in Booger Woods, who has just dug up "thirteen rusty mason jars" filled with money. The Cables then mercilessly beat him to death and joyously dump his body in the swamp. But when they grab the money from Clay's shack and attempt to escape they become trapped in quicksand. The boys scream for help and struggle to free themselves, but to no avail. Just before they meet their own doom, they hear Clay himself "laughin' in a voice as loud as thunder."
The final stanza of the second verse wraps up the story saying that, though the myth is fifty years old, on full moon nights "you can hear three young men screaming" while "you can hear one old man laugh."
Success and reception
Although the song only went to number 80 on the Billboard country charts, it was major crossover hit on the U.S. pop charts as it entered the Top 40 on September 27, 1980 and later peaked at number 31. It receives occasional airplay to this day, and has become one of Daniels' signature songs.
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||80|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||31|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||57|