This song takes place in 1933, during the depth of the Depression in North Alabama. Lamar Hooper, Levi Hooper’s grandfather, was born on Sand Mountain and when he was in his early 30s chose to go south to look for work. He walked to the nearest road and then put up his thumb hoping for a ride.
It wasn’t long before a truck picked him up and brought him all to way to Lowndes County in the central part of the state. However, that night he got into a little trouble in Lowndesboro, a small town on Highway 80.
LOWNDES COUNTY (F.D. Leone, Jr.) Sand Mountain’s where I’m from I was traveling south on my thumb Until I heard a jail door slam In Lowndes County, Alabam’ I’d just been there a week or two What they said I done, I did not do They picked me up Saturday night Charged me for damage and a fight I told them it was self-defense What I said made no difference They held me over for trial, “Be a few days,” they smiled The Judge was deaf to my plea “Son, you look guilty to me” Thirty dollars or thirty days Up to you, it’s all the same” “Thirty dollars I ain’t got I might as well sit in jail and rot” Just came south to look for work Never thought things’d be worse Teenage girl brought me a plate Then sat and watched as I ate A biscuit and slice of ham She even gave me some strawberry jam Slipped the fork back through the bars Said she’d come around after dark If I could get myself free She just might run away with me Sheriff came to check my cell door Said, “One day done, 29 more Get some rest tomorrow you’ll work” I fingered that fork under my shirt They call this place Alabam’ But Hell is surely where I am I forgot why I chose to come Never should’ve left Sand Mountain Don’t know why I chose to come Never should’ve left Sand Mountain © 2020 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.