Cissy Moan

Cissy Moan is a song about a roughneck woman obsessed with southern writers.

Here are the real parts: The writer Larry Brown was a great influence on me. He wrote me a kind note once even though we had never met. He was a fire captain in Oxford, Mississippi, home of William Faulkner and the famous Square Books bookstore. The song references three of Larry Brown’s books and also a novel by the famous Oxford writer Barry Hannah. Lemuria is a terrific bookstore in Jackson, Mississippi. The Ray Nagin reference came from my brother’s experience helping clean up after Hurricane Katrina. My brother met Mayor Ray, and it did not go well.

The rest of the song (Cissy included) is straight-up fiction.

Michael Perry: Lead vocals, harmonies, acoustic guitar.

Justin Vernon: Harmonies, all additional instrumentation.

Jaime Hansen: Recording/Mixing.

Click here to listen to a streaming mp3: cissy-moan-book-tour-version

Digital download (mp3) (75 cents): Buy Now


I’m rollin’ out of Jackson on a Sunday afternoon
I couldn’t leave too fast, I couldn’t leave too soon
Cissy took to drinkin’, Cissy took to talkin’ mean
Cissy when she’s drinkin, do beat all you ever seen

Over there in Oxford lived a man named Larry Brown
Larry had a big bad love and he wrote that bad boy down
Cigarettes and whiskey and a fire in his eye
Cissy loved Larry but Larry up and died

And Cissy moans…

I am not a southern boy I’m Yankee born and raised
I cut for Mississippi when the last levee caved
I was lookin’ for employment paying hard cold cash
There was rumors of such business haulin’ Mayor Nagin’s trash

I run into Cissy on my way down 55
She was reading Joe in some all-night dive
I said I know Barry Hannah and she said you are my man
I said Yonder Stands Your Orphan and she jumped right in my van.

And Cissy moans…

We lost a week in a Super 8 outside of Picayune
Livin’ off each other and a needle and a spoon
Cissy read me Dirty Work between the liquor runs
We burned the time up doin’ things we shouldn’t oughta done

Cissy learned to read in the Rankin County jail
Got busted in Lemuria, she orders books by mail
She says she dreams of Tula as if it was her home
She says she dreams of Larry typing all alone.

And Cissy moans…

Paging Mayor Ray
I’ll come another day
Cissy’s up in smoke
For Rowan Oak

Don’t never love a woman who’s loved a man of fire
You’ll be easy in the evening she’ll be hummin’ like a wire
Cissy what you doin’ here, Jackson is your home
Cissy’s in the graveyard diggin’ William Faulkner’s bones

And Cissy moans…

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