“Go-Go Boots,” The Drive-By Truckers

“Go-Go Boots” from The Drive-By Truckers eleventh album, also titled Go-Go Boots, was inspired by real-life events. Songwriter Patterson Hood says he remembers the gritty murder in Tuscumbia, Alabama, some three miles down the road from Muscle Shoals, taking place around Easter in 1998. “Tuscumbia is right next to the town I grew up in so it was all over the local papers,” says Hood. “Preacher hired these thugs to kill his wife, they botched the job so he finished her off with a fireplace poker. One of the guys was recently executed and the other one is still on death row in ‘Bama. The preacher ended up dead a few days later. Turns out his earlier wife died mysteriously also.”

Hood took his first stab at writing about the event in “The Fireplace Poker,” which was written much earlier but also released on 2011’s Go-Go Boots. Hood says he abandoned that song for many years, fearing it was too long at the time. The story has also captured his imagination for a screenplay and a novel all based on the same murder. “I followed the story in the paper plus I worked a job where I knew a bunch of cops so I heard some inside scoop along the way. One of the cops inspired ‘Used To Be A Cop’ so this album draws heavily on that time of my life.”

By the time Hood sat down to write “Go-Go Boots,” he says the song came out quickly and very few changes were made. “It was like hearing the song in my head and writing it down as fast as I could. I originally had the line ‘Your mistress wore them Go-Go Boots’ and when we were recording it, Cooley said I should say ‘Missy wore them Go-Go Boots.’ As usual, he was right and it made it a better song. It’s the little details that make a song and Cooley is a master at that.”

On Go-Go Boots, the band most fully embraces the Southern soul and country sound of Muscle Shoals – even covering two songs by the mysterious soul legend Eddie Hinton – and many of the songs tell dark stories. “It could be argued that I see everything through a noir lens,” says Hood. “I don’t know what it is about the South that seems to bring that out in our writers, but there does seem to be something. Maybe it’s the heat, the horrific violent history, the oppression of The Bible Belt, the wrong-headed political environment of our region. Maybe all of the above. Or maybe I’m just a little crazy.”

“Go-Go Boots”

He packed a big-ass church out near Rogersville
He drove the Cadillac, she drove the Oldsmobile
Every Friday he shacked up with his mistress
Doing things that he’d never do with the Mrs.
Who was back at home cooking dinner for him

They had a son who never had the calling
He went all over town drinking and balling
Got some girl pregnant when he was still a teen
Working at McDonald’s and pumping gasoline
Driving that Camaro fast with all his friends

Daddy’s been preaching the word ever since he was twelve
All about a merciful savior and the fires of Hell
I know he meant it, so what’s a little straying
He got everybody singing and a praying
“That devil better not come back down here again”

Missy wore them go-go boots; it did something for him
Made him think his wife back home was homely and boring
He met these guys who didn’t mind getting dirty
He was a pillar and his alibi was sturdy
It only took a little bit of cash and the deed was done

Stained glass windows, Jesus looking down
Organs playing music to the middle-aged crowd
His wife’s in the ground, the devil’s in his head
Them go-go boots are underneath the bed

But it’s a small town and word gets around
Gossip is a-flying and his son starts to thinking
He sees his Daddy’s new wife driving around in a Lincoln
There’s a lot he’d like to ask if he could get the chance
But he’s scared he might have to kill the old man
He wonders what the Lord will say when he weighs it all out
It’s a small town. Go-Go Boots.

Written by Patterson Hood