Charlie Daniels’ “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” Doesn’t Get The Love It Deserves

Charlie Daniels country music

Okay, okay… before you yell at me and say that “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” is one of The Charlie Daniels Band’s most popular songs, it is.

It is very popular. I can admit that.

But when ask you people what their favorite song is, let’s be honest, most are going to say “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” or “Long Haired Country Boy” or even “Uneasy Rider.”

“The Legend of Wooley Swamp” is not the same level of iconic, and all I’m saying is that it should be. Yes, it should be as iconic as “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

I’ll admit that maybe I just love a good murder ballad, and this song has one of the absolute best murder stories in all of country music.

The song starts with our singer warning us not to go to Wooley Swamp at night because there are things that go bump in the night that will scare you, in particular, the ghost of Lucius Clay.

That’s right, this song is a good ole fashion ghost story. It literally feels like you’re sitting around the campfire at the beginning of a horror movie.

Complete with a first-hand account and warning from the singer.

Of course, like with any murder ballad though, the actual murder story is pretty dark.

Lucius Clay is an odd fella around town. He lives out by Wooley Swamp where he stuffs all of his money into Mason jars and bury the jars around the swamp to hide it.

Well, one evening, the Crayton boys decide that they’re going to get rid of Lucius by beating him to death and feeding him to the alligators, so they could get his money.

As you can probably guess, since this is a ghost story the boys unfortunately succeed. But with any good murder ghost story, revenge comes quick, and Lucius wastes no time getting back at these boys:

“They were running in quicksand
And they struggled and screamed but they couldn’t get away
Then just before they went under
They could hear that old man laughing
In a voice that was loud as thunder”

To round out the song, the singer leaves us with one final warning. If we ever decide to walk down by Wooley Swamp at night, we’ll hear the screaming of three boys and the laughter of old Lucius Clay.

The Charlie Daniels Band knows how to make you have a good time while listening to one of their songs, and nothing screams “good time” quite like a great ghost story.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock