Country Throwback: Alabama Performs Joyous Version of ‘Dixieland Delight’ in 1998

by Clayton Edwards
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“Dixieland Delight” is one of Alabama’s biggest hits. The band originally released the track in 1983 and remains one of the band’s most memorable singles in a catalog that includes dozens of number-one hit singles. It’s one of those songs that you just can’t help singing along to. In this performance, from the Las Vegas Hilton, you can see the effect the song and frontman Randy Owen has on the crowd.

From the opening notes of the song, the crowd is all-in. Their steady clapping could have taken the place of the drummer. Alabama plays the song like a well-oiled machine. They never miss a note.

The biggest crowd reaction comes from a quiet moment before the tempo change. Owen gives the audience some stomping and clapping instruction and they go wild. Their cheers reach a fever pitch as Jeff Cook tears into a blistering fiddle break.

The song was over ten years old and the boys were thousands of miles from Dixieland. Despite that, it seems that the crowd was eagerly anticipating this song. Even today, country music fans around the nation can’t help but turn up the volume when “Dixieland Delight” plays. This track and Alabama have some serious staying power.

The Story of Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight”

The song has mass appeal because it speaks on nearly universal topics. The main character in the song is looking forward to a weekend getaway with his lover after a long work week. He has a week’s pay in his pocket and is ready to kick his weekend off right. While that may relatable to a wide audience, the imagery it conjures speaks directly to those in small towns and rural communities. The lyrics talk about being parked in a holler, enjoying the mountain moonlight, and watching wildlife.

Though the band is from Alabama, in this song they sing about Tennessee. With the rural imagery, you’re sure not thinking about Nashville, though. There’s a good reason for this. The song was inspired by a little blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town in east Tennessee called Rutledge. As the story goes, songwriter Ronnie Rogers was driving down State Highway 11W in Rutledge when the idea for the story in the song hit him.

“Dixieland Delight” is still fresh today. From the concept and lyrics to the great musicianship, the song was built to last.

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