Saturday, May 7, 2011
Since it's Mother's Day, here's "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother." In case you've forgotten, back in the late sixties and early seventies there was a war going on--no, not Nam--a war between the freaks and the rednecks. In any rural area, showing up with longhair could get you into a mess of trouble. Let me give a shout-out to Shane Riley and Michael K. for backing me up one summer night in a tavern full of pool-playing rednecks in North Plains. Nowadays that tavern is a fancy fern bar for foodies and there is no trace of our battle, no brass plaque commemorating that hot night in 1974, just an upscale hamburger kitchen for yuppies. The parking lot is no longer full of rusty olf pickups, now it's a fleet of shiny SUVs with baby-seats in the back. The rednecks are gone, dead of emphysema and alcoholism, and the hippies vanished into thin air like the Sioux Nation. But back then it was different. That night we left with our teeth, and even showed some courage (dumb courage, the common variety) when a score of rednecks in T-shirts surrounded us with pool cues and started thumping our chests. We took off, but on our own time--which is where the dumb courage came in. We should have left immediately and not argued with the stupid bastards, but hey, you live and learn.
Back then, there was probably no worse a place to be a longhaired hippie freak than in the Lone Star State. Texas was cowboy country through and through, but even there--in the heart of the heartland-- the counterculture grew in the shade of the saguaros, fuled by loco weed and the outlaw country music of Willie Nelson, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kris Kristofferson, Gary P. Nunn and Waylon Jennings. While bucking broncs and longhorn steer were shit-kicker mascots, the freaks were represented by that tough little tank crossing theTexas highway, the armadillo. There was even an Armadillo World Headquarters--and plenty of Texadelic posters by Jim Franklin. This was before the big truce, before everyone liked Willie, and the mood was still tense. This is when you still picked up longhaired hitch-hikers and still flashed the peace sign at any like-minded soul you spied on the macadam. This song says it all.
And it's up against the wall Redneck Mother,
Mother, who has raised her son so well.
He's thirty-four and drinking in a honky tonk.
Just kicking hippies asses and raising hell.
M is for the mudflaps you give me for my pickup truck
O is for the Oil I put on my hair
T is for T-bird
H is for Haggard
E is for eggs, and
R is for REDNECK!
The clip (above) was recorded in the thick of it, back in 1974 at Willie Nelson's 2nd Annual 4th Of July Picnic in College Station, Texas. Up on stage is Ray Wiley Hubbard, Jerry Jeff Walker, and the Lost Gonzo Band. That was a time!
Years later, Ray Wylie Hubbard tells the story of his inspiration behind "Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother". This clip filmed at Jerry Jeff walker's Birthday Bash at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. "I made this story a lot better since the last time you heard it," says Ray to Jerry Jeff.