She lived on the curve of the road,
In an old, tar-paper shack
On the south side of the town,
On the wrong side of the tracks

Sometimes on the way into town we'd say:
"Mama, can we stop and give her a ride?"
Sometimes we did,
But her hands flew from her side
Wild eyed, crazy Mary

Down a long dirt road, past the Parson's place
That old blue car we used to race
Little country store
With a sign tacked to the side
Said 'No L-O-I-T-E-are-I-N-G Allowed'

Underneath that sign
Always congregated quite a crowd
Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around
Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around
Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around

One night thunder cracked,
Mercy backed outside her window sill
Dreamed I was flying high above the trees,
Over the hills
Looked down into the house of Mary
Bare bulb hung, newspaper-covered walls,
And Mary rising above it all

Next morning on the way into town
Saw some skid marks and followed them around
Over the curve, through the fields,
Into the house of Mary

That what you fear the most,
Could meet you halfway
That what you fear the most,
Could meet you halfway

Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around
Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around
Take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around



Lyrics submitted by ShiverForMe, edited by stringray

"Crazy Mary" as written by Victoria Ann Williams

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Crazy Mary song meanings
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23 Comments

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  • +4
    General Comment:In my humble opinion, I agree with Matzy to a degree. Here's where my interpretation differs:

    The narrator isn't dreaming of Mary dying in the storm only to find that she died when a car ran into her house. In fact, his "dream" is actually fractured memories of his drunken stupor, and he's the one driving the car that killed Mary because he was driving drunk. Possibly driving that same "old blue car we used to race?"
    pete4windson July 02, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Comment:i see what everyone's saying, but here are some differences i see:

    "that what you fear the most, could meet you halfway"
    -this i believe is talking about death, and if mary was middle aged, then death met her half way, through life.

    after that, the narrator continues the chorus, saying "take a bottle, drink it down, pass it around", as if a last toast to mary.

    just a few opinions.
    Backspaceron August 02, 2009   Link
  • +1
    My Interpretation:My two cents – I think this tale/song is told from the perspective of a man reflecting back on a traumatic event from younger years in his life. In the first verse he is telling of his adolescent years when he was about 10 or 11 years old. He and his family were poor and they lived outside a small town on an old dirt road. To drive into town they had to pass an old, rundown shack that a poor, old, crazy woman named Mary lived in. (They all lived on the wrong side of the tracks) As a young boy, the narrator was fascinated with Mary because she was such a character….with her wild eyes, flailing arm gestures.

    In the second verse I think the narrator is an older teenager, about 17 or 18. There is nothing to do in this small, boring town, so everyone just hangs out outside the corner store and drinks beer. To get to the corner store from his home he has to drive his old blue car past Mary’s shack and past the Parson’s place. The Parson’s are another family that live off that same old, rural dirt road. One night the narrator is particularly drunk. He is driving home on a big, beer high. Even though there is a rainstorm and he can’t see well, he is speeding along and he feels like he is “flying high above the trees and over the hills”.

    The next day on the way into town as he approaches old Mary’s house he sees skid marks in the road and suddenly his world comes crashing in around him. He realizes that the dream he had of Mary’s newspaper covered walls wasn’t a dream at all…it was his fuzzy, disjointed, hung-over recollection of the events of the night before. He had crashed through Mary’s shack driving home.

    When he says, “that which you fear the most can meet you halfway” he is talking about death. Death met him halfway…he didn’t die, but he took another life with his drunk driving from the night before. As a grown man, he will never get over this…and we realize the tragedy of the song/story.
    Taylor410on November 04, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Crazy Mary is an old poor woman who lives in a run down shack. She spends her day loitering next to a convienent store drinking with her friends. The narrator of the song is facinated by her and even dreams that Mary is killed one night during a storm. The next morning the narrator confirms his fears when he investigates Mary's house and finds an our of control car has crashed through her house in the storm and killed Mary.
    Matzy94on January 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:nice story. *reminds me of 8th grade(when this song came out)*

    sweet relief album, right
    SurferJapon June 09, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Mary was a drugged out drunken lady who was passing through life, wild and crazy and worthless, but the fear of becoming her gave meaning to this person.
    seaked1on June 11, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:This song reminds me of Bruce Sprinsteen songs. It uses a character named Mary, takes about car racing, and makes daily events look like folk-lore. It seems to be writen in the same style as alot of Springsteen songs aswell.
    BarbedWireSockoon October 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:Yep this is off of Sweet Relief...a Victoria Williams song.

    Mary would never accept a ride in a car, and it was a car that killed her, even though she tried to keep them away from her.

    "That which you fear the most can meet you half way"

    It is kind of like not being able to escape your fate in a way. It is captured through the narrative of an onlooker who sets the stage for the car issue, by telling us about the drinking and racing.
    Bellyfull of Swanson January 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:I'm with Bellyfull on this one completely. I think the narrator was the driver. It shows irony. I rather this song on the Live at the Garden DVD, mainly because it doesn't have those horrible backing vocals. Also, Boom's solo is great.
    tapandslapon February 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment:who sings the back up vocals?
    illiniwek05on February 10, 2005   Link

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