Six Songs About Whiskey
The Pogues – “Streams of Whiskey”
I was unexpectedly dumped a few years ago. The person who dumped me remained in the apartment we were sharing for about two weeks after the dumping. In that incredibly short period of time, she started dating other people. Like, five other people. (Probably more!) It was the worst. But this tune, and the wonderfully delicious, life-changing stuff it’s about, saved me. This elated celebration of booze-soaked shenanigans became my life. In short: Had a damn blast! When I finally dragged myself out of the thick whiskey stream one year later, I discovered I’d quit my full-time gig with Catholic Social Services and had become a freelance music journalist. “I am going, I am going, any which way the wind may be blowing! I am going, I am going, where streams of whiskey are flowing!” Thanks, whiskey!
Texas Top Hands – “Whiskey River”
Why settle for streams when you can have a river?
Willie Dixon – “If the Sea was Whiskey”
Why settle for a river when you can have a sea? This if is one of the most devastating ifs of human history. Poor Willie. He so desperately wants it to be so. Such longing!
Lotte Lenya – “Moon of Alabama”
Too bad this song isn’t called “Whiskey Moon,” ’cause then I could write: Why settle for a sea when you can have a moon? Lotte Lenya was the wife of composer Kurt Weill. Kurt and his pal Bertolt Brecht wrote this number, originally used in Mahagonny-Songspiel.
Tex Ritter – “Rye Whiskey”
I first encountered this track on a superb Mississippi Records cassette compilation called Men With Broken Hearts. Tex Ritter, a Texan, was also an actor in many B-movie Westerns. He first sang this great whiskey-yelping tune in the 1936 film Song of the Gringo. It was released as a single in 1946—then 20 years later Tex sang it at the Grand Ole Opry. And nine years after that, Tex’s son, John Ritter, became Jack Tripper, the male roommate on the show Three’s Company.
Eyehategod – “Dixie Whiskey”
The whiskey drinker is a lover of euphoria. And no metal band has been able to express euphoria quite as well as the merry-men of Eyehategod. Upon first listen, you may think the singer’s tone is one of disgust. False. That’s pure joy — the kind that comes from drinking a whole lot of whiskey.