Burning Down the House

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Down Drinking at the Bar

If you've ever sung in out-of-tune joy or wallowed in silent sorrow while country songs poured out of the jukebox in some dive bar, here's a link for you.

Go on over to
The Big Rock Candy Mountain for a (must... resist ... saying ... 'intoxicating' - avoiding cliches takes as much willpower as fighting an impulse to drunk-dial) selection of the Top 100 drinking songs - the soundtrack to a bender, a lost weekend's worth and then some.

(For further study, there's a list of nearly 200 more songs readers suggested for Frank's labor of lush at his complimentary site Barstool Mountain.)

Frank's list is heavy on country and blues, naturally - Amos Milburn and Merle Haggard make multiple appearances, f'rinstance - all very fitting for the subject matter and his taste for classic sounds. He introduced me to James Hand last year, a modern retro stylist with a classic-to-be: 'In the Corner, At the Table, By the Jukebox' (kinda says it all, eh?)

None of the following made the main list far as I can tell, but here is what I recommended to Frank when he sent out the call ... some of my faves from a misspent adulthood of record collecting, fandom and of course drinking. Go check out the Barstool Mountain list to see how under the influence he was ...

2 by Loudon Wainwright III --
Down Drinking at the Bar (on 'A Live One' 1980) and
Drinks Before Dinner (on 'T-Shirt' 1976)

Glory Days -- Bruce Springsteen (there's drinking in every verse, even the
demo-version verse about his dad!!)
and then for singalongs in bars, maybe Sherry Darling or Out in the Street
-- both a little more celebratory...

Bottom of the Glass -- Moon Mullican, 1948; covered by Whiskeytown on
'Straight Outta Boone County,' Bloodshot, 1997

Wreck (Crash) on the Highway -- Roy Acuff, or as covered by Mortal Combine

Moonshiner -- as recorded by Uncle Tupelo... Dylan's is OK and all.

Drunk and Fucked Up (Like the Twilight) -- Ryan Adams

Parallel Bars -- Robbie Fulks with Kelly Willis (it's on 'Couples in
Trouble', I think...)
Robbie has a lot more...

Love is the Drug -- Roxy Music

Melt Show -- Old 97's (a stomping balls-out rocker with a great line in the
chorus: "Will you sober up and let me down?")

Old Country Waltz and Too Far Gone -- Neil Young!! (the former is from "American Stars N' Bars" ... greatest LP cover art EVER. - it's by Robert Dean Stockwell, btw)

and a couple I remember from a bar jukebox in Dallas many years ago...

? > Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music
Hank Williams Jr. : Family Tradition

These are all off the top of my head. I was a rock / entertainment critic at a daily for a number of years and I always loved to foist such thematic exercises on the public ... Top 5 Postmodern Westerns, Top 10 Songs that Break My Heart, that kind of thing ...

The Moon Mullican song is a nice argument against drinking; but as we all know, Ryan Adams is still fucked up. Moonshiner and the Acuff also fit the temperance theme and also are outstanding songs.

And I can't wait to hear what you think might be BETTER than ol' James Hand...

PS possible challenge: Have fewer than three George Thorogood songs...

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