Song of the Day #4,507: ‘Decoration Day’ – Drive-By Truckers

I’ve wanted to give Drive-By Truckers a listen ever since I discovered Jason Isbell a few years back. I knew he spent time in the Athens-based Southern rock band before he went solo and released some of the best albums I’ve heard in a long time.

2003’s Decoration Day, the Truckers’ fourth studio album, was Isbell’s first with the band. He replaced a departing guitarist and eventually became one of the principal songwriters. His tenure was short, however, because his drug and alcohol abuse made him impossible, and forced the band to boot him a few years later. Fortunately, he got clean and embarked on an extraordinary solo career.

Isbell wrote only two songs on Decoration Day, including the title track. I’m guessing my fondness for the band would increase with his contributions, so I’ll have to check out their next two albums where he played a larger part.

This one is quite good, better when it tilts toward alt-country/folk rock than more traditional Southern rock. I suspect that is Isbell’s influence, but I don’t want to sell the rest of the band short.

It’s Decoration Day
And I’ve a mind to roll a stone on his grave
But what would he say?
“Keepin’ me down, boy, won’t keep you away.”

It’s Decoration Day
And I knew the Hill boys would put him away
But my Daddy wasn’t afraid
He said we’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day

I never knew how it all got started
A problem with Holland before we were born
And I don’t know the name of the boy we tied down
And beat till he just couldn’t walk anymore

But I know the caliber in Daddy’s chest
I know what Holland Hill drives
The state let him go, but I guess it was best
‘Cause nobody needs all us Lawsons alive

Daddy said one of the boys had come back
The lumber man’s favorite son
He said “Beat him real good, but don’t dare let him die
And if you see Holland Hill, run.”

Well I said, “They ain’t give us trouble before
That we ain’t brought down on ourselves.”
But a chain on my back and my ear to the floor
And I’ll send all the Hill boys to Hell
I’ll send all the Hill boys to Hell

It’s Decoration Day
And I got a family in Mobile Bay
And they’ve never seen my Daddy’s grave
But that don’t bother me, it ain’t marked anyway

‘Cause I got dead brothers in Lauderdale South
And I got dead brothers in East Tennessee
And my Daddy got shot right in front of his house
He had no one to fall on but me

It’s Decoration Day
And I’ve a mind to go spit on his grave
If I was a Hill I’d have put him away
And I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day
I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day
I’d fight till the last Lawson’s last living day

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,507: ‘Decoration Day’ – Drive-By Truckers

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Dead brothers in Lauderdale South? Oh my!

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