The Devil and Shade Wallen (New single)
Larry Cordle (615) 830-4765
12. The Devil and Shade Wallen
Songwriter(s): Larry Cordle/Larry Shell
Publisher(s): Wandachord Music, BMI
Not Her Money Music, BMI
This song idea came from my grandmother, Polly Mandy Bishop Cordle. She used to tell it to my brother and I. It
scared us to death. Later, after my grandmother passed in 1977, I heard my uncle Jr. also tell the story. He was
with mamaw on the night the story happened. When thinking of the detail that both of them went into, when telling the story, I
always figured it would be too hard to make a song from but what the heck, Shell and I decided to try anyway.
I did change the names around not to offend anyone who might be his descendants.
According to mamaw & my uncle Jr
the fellow in the song was a very wicked ungodly man, who took the Lord’s name in vain all the time, made moonshine
whiskey, was mean to his wife and family, was a drunken nere-do-well, that gambled frequently. She would say, ‘why
honey his poor old wife begged him to confess his sins after he became sick beyond any hope of getting well and even
had the preacher come by to try to talk to him about his soul.’ She said, ‘he was so mean that he threatened him, run
him off and told him he didn’t need his damn prayers or concerns. Of course mamaw didn’t say damn.
Well, on the night of his passing, as was custom among Appalachia hill folk, his neighbors and family gathered at his
bedside, for the vigil of his journey, to the next world. The were praying fervently for any sign that he might confess his sins, call upon the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved …. but ….. he never did.
They would tell of how it was so cold outside, that it made the timber crack & pop and how at the ‘dead hour of midnight,’
unbelievably, they heard frogs hollering everywhere, just like it was springtime. I can hear her saying, every one that was
there on that awful night will confirm what I’m telling you.
She said, ‘the horses all broke their tethers somehow and ran off through the hills and even his old hounds under the porch tore out of there and ran off too.’ She would say ‘honey, don’t you ever doubt what mamaw is telling you,
the old devil came and got him that very night, just as soon as he took his last breath’.