Friday, March 03, 2006

DBT Lyrics Tour - Ode to Cooley

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Check out the e-card from New West. Email it to your friends!

Rednecks like to go fast. So they put a rocket makin' factory in Huntsville, Al, brought over some German rocket scientist for "rehabilitation", then, blamo, we went to the moon. Here's to Cooley!

Space City....with a little bit of Patterson

The Birthplace of Alabama

Pioneer John Hunt, for whom the city is named, occupied a cabin alongside a spring here in 1805. A town soon flourished and was the largest in the Alabama Territory by 1819. That year the leaders of the Alabama Territory met here to petition the U.S. Congress to grant Alabama statehood. The recreated 1819 Alabama Constitution Village, a block from the courthouse square, commemorates the historic events through tours given by costumed guides.

Huntsville was the cotton trading center of the Tennessee Valley during the 1840s and '50s when planters and merchants originally from Virginia and the Carolinas built impressive town homes.

Space City's one hour up the road from me.
Its one hour away from as close to the moon as anybody down here is ever gonna be.
(I'm assuming Cooley is referencing the drive from Tuscumbia to Huntsville and not his current home of Birmingham to Huntsville):

Time was when Huntsville was content to be the "Watercress Capital of the World"; the great leap forward came after World War II, when the army consolidated its rocket and missile research efforts in the city. Spearheading the project were Dr Wernher von Braun and 118 other German scientists, who came to Huntsville after a token period of rehabilitation. Von Braun's contribution of the V-2 ballistic missile to the Nazi war effort is ignored by the city, which prefers to laud his later space-age achievements, such as Explorer I, the nation's first satellite, and the mighty Saturn V.

The giant USSpace and Rocket Center, five miles west of downtown on Hwy-20, off I-65 (summer daily 9am–6pm; $15), contains a mind-boggling array of technological exhibits, hands-on displays and weightlessness simulators, as well as a giant IMAX cinema. Outdoors, in the surreal Rocket and Space Shuttle parks, redundant rockets protrude skywards in the blazing Alabama sunshine; the 120-yard, four-story Saturn V rocket is laid on its side to emphasize its immensity.

Remember Space Camp?

"While over there in Huntsville, They puttin' people on the moon..."

"While over there in Huntsville, even NASA shut down, too"

The following are some pics I snapped of the recently cut cotton fields in north Alabama over Thanksgiving last year. When you learn about Alabama history in junior high school there is an enevitable conversation about King Cotton. My granddad and grandmom use to tell me stories of being sharecroppers and going out into the fields to pick cotton. Brutal, brutal work:


The Cotton Plantation State: Cotton production in Alabama was a major influence in the growth and culture of the state. In fact, Alabama'a farm economy was ruled by "King Cotton" at one time. When crops were poor or prices were down, Alabama farmers suffered. Conversely, when prices were up, Alabama's farmer prospered. In the early 1900s, Alabama farmers suffered extensively due to massive cotton crop failures.
And I put more lawmen in the ground...

The Cotton State: For reasons given above, Alabama was called the Cotton State. While many southern states were referred to as Cotton Plantation States, Alabama was singled out as THE Cotton State because of its central location in the Cotton Belt. Cotton is Alabama's leading crop and Alabama is considered a leading cotton producer.
...than Alabama put cottonseed

The Southern Thing
Ain't about no cotton fields.....

....or cotton picking lies

Uncle Frank lived in a cabin down on Cedar Creek...
Actual pic of Cedar Creek:

Pin Hits the Shell
Cooley makes a reference to racing trains from 2nd street to Avalon in the song Pin Hits the Shell. 2nd street and Avalon are 2 roads located in Colbert County. 2nd street is in Sheffield and Avalon runs through Muscle Shoals and maybe Tuscumbia.

Living on the other side of the river, (in gentile Lauderdale County) we never concerned ourselves with such low-brow endeavors as racing trains. We were too busy studying gravity's effect on the bovine post sunset and whether alcohol, orally administered (to us not the bovine), increased the hilarity quotient. Trust me when I say Gravity's NOT Gone.

Now, I'm guessing at the route Cooley and Co. use to take when they raced the trains. Take a look at the map below. If you extend the purple line past the "end" to George Wallace Blvd (gotta love that) you'll see where you had to go to beat the train on Avalon. When I took these pics we were lucky enough to have train running on the track and, yes we did beat it!

Pin Hits the Shell - racing trains from 2nd Street...

Here is the train as it ran along 2nd St. Avalon.

This is the Avalon crossing

And there is the train comin' on through.

And Finally:

Cooley's favorite place in the world. Wayne's Package Store. Listen to Patterson tell the tale before "Sink Hole":


AAW said...

Oh, I believe ya, Jenn! They whole Shoals area twernt nothin' but a big opportunity to get in trouble when you are in your youth. "Having fun used to be so damned easy...."

Anonymous said...

Wayne's.. Think i've been there before...

AAW said...

C- I got the Sierra and you got the Blue something or the other. Good times, good times.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff as usual!! Love the dedication and detail you put into all the blogspots. Love that last pic!! Wayne's!!! I've spent many a dollar there! I'm surprised I haven't seen Cooley there. I live just south of that's the place to be...WAYNE'S Package!

Rich from Cullman

AAW said...

Thanks, Rich! If Wayne's was smart they'd get a life size cut out of Cooley , prop it up by the door and run the following promotion:

"Get your picture taken with Cooley when you buy a case of PBR".

They'd have folks coming from all over!

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the shoals area was a blast. Growing uo with Cooley as your cousin was even more fun! What memories this blog brought back!