Music

Story Behind the Song: A Bad Night Out Inspired Ray Wylie Hubbard's 'Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother'

Ray Wylie Hubbard got an early career boost when fellow Texan Jerry Jeff Walker included a cover of Hubbard's "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" on seminal live album Viva Terlingua.

According to Hubbard, the tale Walker told in his famous live performance from Luckenbach is a true one from a time before Willie Nelson taught rednecks and hippies how to get along.

The story begins with Hubbard making a beer run in Red River, New Mexico at the local redneck joint D-Bar-D.

"I walked in and there were thirty or forty people drinking, including one old woman," he told Texas Monthly. "The jukebox stopped and they all turned and looked at me."

While Hubbard waited for the bartender to fetch a case of beer, the old woman and her son confronted Hubbard about his long hair.

"You want me to beat him up?," the son asked before Hubbard grabbed his case of beer and ran from the scene. In the parking lot, he spotted the pickup truck with a gun rack and a novelty bumper sticker that made it into the song.

Read More: Austin Legend and 'Mr. Bojangles' Writer Jerry Jeff Walker Dies at 78

Walker made a habit throughout his career of cutting songs by his Texas songwriter peers (i.e. Gary P. Nunn's "London Homesick Blues" and Guy Clark's "Desperados Waiting For a Train" and "L.A. Freeway"). Walker benefited from covers, too, considering the number of new ears pointed to "Mr. Bojangles" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Others followed Walker's lead in the '70s by shouting Hubbard's true story from the tin roofs of country music (Bobby Bare) and hippie (The Story New Riders of the Purple Sage) bars.

"Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother" Lyrics

He was born in Oklahoma
His wife's name's Betty Lou Thelma Liz
He's not responsible for what he's doing
'Cause his mother made him what he is

And it's up against the wall, Redneck Mother
Mother, who has raised her son so well
He's thirty four and drinking in a honky tonk
Just kicking hippies' asses and raising hell

Sure does like his Falstaff beer
He likes to chase it down with that Wild Turkey liquor
He drives a fifty seven GMC pickup truck
Got a gun rack, 'Goat roper needs love too' sticker

And it's up against the wall, Redneck Mother
Mother, who has raised her son so well
He's thirty four and drinkin' in a honky tonk
Just kicking hippies' asses and raising hell, oh baby

M is for the mud flaps you give me for my pickup truck
O is for the oil I put on my hair
T is for T-bird, H is for Haggard
E is for eggs and R is for Redneck

Up against the wall, Redneck Mother
Mother, who has raised her son so well
He's thirty four and drinkin' in a honky tonk
Kicking hippies' asses and raising hell

He's up against the wall, Redneck Mother
Mother, who has raised her son so well
He's thirty four and drinkin' in a honky tonk
Just kicking hippies' asses and raising hell

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Story Behind the Song: A Bad Night Out Inspired Ray Wylie Hubbard's 'Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother'