The Lyrical Wisdom of Mike Cooley

Drive-By Truckers week continues on The Boggs Blog with a retrospective of some of Mike Cooley's rock and roll truisms.

Well my Daddy didn't pull out, but he never apologized.
Rock and roll means well, but it can't help tellin' young boys lies.

- Marry Me, Decoration Day

So it is graphically obvious that the singer was conceived out of wedlock. If I were to venture a guess, I would say in the backseat of a Camaro in a Dairy Queen parking lot. He proceeds to accidentally father a child with his girlfriend later in the song - hence the requests to "marry me" throughout the chorus.

I tried to consider the many lies has rock and roll told me, but really couldn't nail down anything concrete. I think I am more a victim of mass conspiracy.

Livin' in fear is just another way of dying before your time.

- Shut Up And Get Up On The Plane, Southern Rock Opera

This song re-creates the scene on the tarmac before Skynard boards the plane on their ill-fated trip to Baton Rouge. Seems like this philosophical nugget should be on a t-shirt or in a fortune cookie or something.

I know the bottle ain't to blame and I ain't tryin' to.
It don't make you do a thing, it just lets you.

- Women Without Whiskey, Southern Rock Opera

Ernie Bridges, my 8th grade health teacher, tried to explain to our class how alcohol causes one to lower their inhibitions, but no one ever got it. He should have just played this tune.

If you were supposed to watch your mouth all the time
I doubt your eyes would be above it.

- Gravity's Gone, A Blessing And A Curse

While I acknowledge that there is truth to the argument, I would be remiss if I did not state that my grandmother would whole-heartedly disagree.

Saw you standing in the hallway, red plastic cup, and one of those big long cigarettes.
You asked me if I could play you some Dylan.
I said “Dylan who?” you told me to kiss your ass.

- Panties In Your Purse, Gangstabilly

Love the Dylan reference, love the "big long cigarettes", and love that Cooley wrote a song called "Panties In Your Purse" and that the Truckers put it on an album called "Gangstabilly".

Keep your drawers on, girl, it ain't worth the fight.
By the time you drop them I'll be gone,
And you'll be right where they fall the rest of your life.

- Zip City, Southern Rock Opera

Zip City is supposedly semi-autobiographical. It tells the story of a randy teenage boy's unsuccessful "pursuit" of a daddy's girl raised in the Salem Church of Christ. It is Mike Cooley's best, in my opinion:

I've got 350 heads on a 305 engine.
I get 10 miles to the gallon.
I ain't got no good intentions.