"Where the Devil Don't Stay" as written by and Brad Morgan Earl Hicks....
My Daddy played poker on a stump in the woods back in his younger days
Prohibition was the talk, but the rich folks walked to the woods where my Daddy stayed
Jugs and jars from shiners, these old boys here, they ain't miners
They came from the twenty-niners
It didn't take a hole in the ground to put the bottom in their face

Back in the thirties when the dust bowl dried
And the woods in Alabama didn't see no light
My Daddy played poker by a hard wood fire
Squeezing all his luck from a hot copper wire
Scrap like a wildcat fights till the end
Trap a wildcat and take his skin
Deal from the bottom, put the ace in the hole
One hand on the jug but you never do know

Son come running
You better come quick
This rotgut moonshine is making me sick
Your Mama called the law and they're gonna take me away
Down so far even the Devil won't stay
Where I call to the Lord with all my soul
I can hear him rattling the chains on the door
He couldn't get in I could see he tried
Through the shadows of the cage around the forty watt light

Daddy tell me another story
Tell me about the lows and the highs
Tell me how to tell the difference between what they tell me is the truth or a lie
Tell me why the ones who have so much make the ones who don't go mad
With the same skin stretched over their white bones and the same jug in their hand

My Daddy played poker on a stump in the woods back when the world was gray
Before black and white went and chose up sides and gave a little bit of both their way
The only blood that's any cleaner is the blood that's blue or greener
Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away


Lyrics submitted by TonyRo2

"Where the Devil Don't Stay" as written by John Michael Cooley

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., THE BICYCLE MUSIC COMPANY

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Where the Devil Don't Stay song meanings
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13 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentThere is an element of class warfare in this song. The son doesn't understand why "the ones that have so much make the ones who don't go mad" The disntinctions between class dont make any sense to the son but seem to make all the difference as his father is hauled off to jail. Also the line about blacks and whites choosing up sides is also quite powerful. The interests of the poor blacks and whites were aligned in the South, but divisions were exploited by the upper class in order to maintain control. (See, "The Southern Thing" - "to the fucking rich man all poor poeple look the same") The son sees the absurdity in things around him that turn out to be a matter of life and death...
    augustwest87on April 05, 2011   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationI think the line about "The only blood that's any cleaner is the blood that's blue or greener//Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away" is referring to the fact that only way someone betters themselves is by being born to a higher social class ("blue blood") or by getting money ("green blood"). The "meaner" part has a double meaning in that it's meaner as being mean and meaner as is being "common" (as in "regression to the mean"). Blood always give you away, it proves who you are in several ways: how you act (in the social meaning), who you are (both social and physically (DNA or blood type)), and just how much blood (and sweat) you're willing to put into something (which may be making that "green" by criminal enterprises).

    Just my two cents on a song I love.
    CJBlantonon March 16, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Commenthow badass is that guitar riff?
    tiredgorillaon February 10, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentamazing riff.... amazing lyrics.. love this song.. surprised at the lack of comments!
    bharQon July 11, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentit's quite badass.
    Colosimoon February 02, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentLove this song. This line still baffles me:

    "The only blood that's any cleaner is the blood that's blue or greener
    Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away "
    Tedvion February 26, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song has obvious connections to the moonshine trade in TN and AL. Many people in the '20s and '30s spend significant time away from their families in the hills distilling alcohol in small still camps. It seems this song illstates the hardships on families and the difficult life moonshines often engaged in to produce a product in seclusion. As the feds increased their crackdowns of still, the business became more diffcult and often times more violent. I just as confused about the "blood" line in the lyric posted above. Blue or greener...I'm confused.
    krugeron November 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe blood line is probably referring to the fact that good moonshine is supposed to burn clear blue. Some of the blues probably look green also. So, the only shine thats any better is the pure stuff basicly. And maybe, "Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away" If its not pure, the time you spent making it is wasted, so you will be pissed off with a bad product, that people wont want.
    Jamulisprimeon April 02, 2010   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThanks for the history about the blue/green flame. I didn't understand that, either.

    I had a thought about the next line "Without either you just get meaner and the blood you gave gives you away".

    I was thinking that, and the lines "This rotgut moonshine is making me sick, Your Mama called the law and they're gonna take me away" might be connected. If maybe someone who had gotten sick on bad moonshine had maybe alerted the wife, and she got angry. It may also play as a nod to the women's movement in general, who made Prohibition their biggest platform.

    Anyway, just a thought.
    windupspacedogon February 11, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always relate this song to another reportedly about prohibition "Powderfinger" by Neil Young.

    Actually if you play this song followed by Powderfinger it almost tells a linking story of what happened to the son and the bootleg camp after Mama called the Law.

    Just a coincidence
    adam_777on March 19, 2011   Link

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