"A Wedding In Cherokee County" as written by and Randy Newman....
There she is sitting there
Out behind the smoke house in her rocking chair
She don't do nothin'
She don't say nothin'
She don't feel nothin'
She don't know nothin'
Maybe she's crazy I don't know
But maybe that's why I love her so

Her papa was a midget
Her mama was a whore
Her grandad was a newsboy 'til he was eighty four
What a slimy old bastard he was
Man don't you think I know she hates me
Man don't you think I know that she's no good
If she knew how she'd be unfaithful to me
I think she'd kill me if she could
Maybe she's crazy I don't know
But maybe that's why I love her so

I'm not afraid of the grey wolf
Who stalks through our forest at dawn
As long as I have her beside me
I have the strength to carry on

Today we will be married
And all the freaks that she knows will be there
And all the people from the village will be there
To congratulate us
I will carry her across the threshold
I will make dim the light
I will attempt to spend my love within her
But though I try with all my might
She will laugh at my mighty sword
She will laugh at my mighty sword
Why must everybody laugh at my mighty sword?
Lord, hep me if you will
Maybe we're both crazy, I don't know
Maybe that's why I love her so


Lyrics submitted by archmastermind

"A Wedding in Cherokee County" as written by Randy Newman

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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3 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentWow...I can't believe no one has commentds on this song! I have always wanted to talk with Mr Newman concerning his lyrics, and this is the first one I would talk about.
    Any ideas, beyond the obvious ones? This is just the greatest set of lyrics ever. I love this song, Maybe I'm crazy...I don't know.........
    taterson January 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationA Wedding In Cherokee County

    This is a fantastic song and also a very dark one. Everything I write here is just my opinion... I believe this is the story of a man living in a very backwoods, rural area of the south. There are Cherokee Counties in many southern states: Alabama, Georgia, North/South Carolina and Texas to name just a few. I suppose the exact location of this tale is up to the listener's imagination (it is my personal opinion that Randy was thinking of Alabama). Let's begin by focusing on a particularly glaring aspect of this story. It appears that the narrator is about to marry a woman who has an unspecified form of mental retardation. This can be inferred from the way the narrater describes his bride to be at the very beginning of the song: "She don't do nothin' She don't say nothin' She don't feel nothin' She don't know nothin' Maybe she's crazy I don't know...". To me this is an uneducated man's description of someone with a mental illness. In the very next verse the evidence is only bolstered by the lines: Man, don't you think I know she hates me, man don't you think I know that she's no good, if she knew how she'd be unfaithful to be. I think she'd kill me if she could...". This is obviously not a consensual marriage arrangment. He knows the woman does not even enjoy his presence and the fact that he uses the words "if she knew how" and "if she could" shows the woman is incapable of doing anything about it.
    When we think of mental illness in a setting such as this we often jump to the conclusion that it is a result of family inter-breeding. Think Deliverance. You can hear the banjo already can't you? I believe this is precisely the kind of picture Randy wants to paint us. After all, this song comes from the album "Good Old Boys" which is a loose concept album on the south, including the "less than charming" aspects. Though the true cause of her condition is beside the point, it helps to create a more detailed portrait the situation. We find out about the woman's roots in the following lines "…Her papa was a midget, her mama was a whore, her grandad was a newsboy till he was 84 what a slimy old bastard he was…". While it's not likely her parents were siblings, based on the description of her "kinfolks" is it so outrageous to think that there was interbreeding somewhere down the family line? As a final piece of evidence to support my mental illness claim I want to examine the following line. "Today we will be married, And all the freaks that she knows will be there, And all the people from the village will be there to congratulate us". Based on everything stated up until this point I almost want to say that this woman is employed as a circus "freak". Based on what we know about her parents this could be completely plausible. For all we know her father (the midget) could have been a circus performer himself.

    So now let's examine the narrator and what kind of person he is. He is obviously somewhat of a social outcast. We know he is marrying a mentally disabled woman who he suspects hates him and would even kill him if she actually could. We also know he is impotent from the lines about his "mighty sword". I find him to be a very funny character and just a pitifully awkward guy. For all of what we know about the situation, he seems to have only good intentions. He genuinely cares about his bride to be and says he is even a braver, more complete person with her by his side.
    JockOMoon October 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI read an interview with Randy in which he said this was intended as a love song set amongst people of whom he knew little. It started out being about Albania and then got shifted to rural Georgia, hillbilly country. I imagine the couple living in rough shacks up in the woods, probably being cousins. It kinda makes me think about the film 'Deliverance' and its milieu.
    pconlon March 24, 2008   Link

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