Thursday, May 24, 2007

Leaching On

Thanks to all who stopped by to visit The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs. The list has moved over to Barstool Mountain, where you can find the full list in it's entirety. We'll be covering all the bases over there, from the Top 100, the Top 286, and anything and everything else drinking song-related in between. Check it out. Should be fun.

Now that that's over, let's cover some other great tunes.

We're real keen on Tom's over here. Tom Waits, Tom T. Hall, Tom House (who we covered way back when), Tom of Tom and Jerry fame, Rev. Tom Frost, and today's cover star, Tom Leach.

Tom Leach mines some pretty dark territory, and does so with a kudzu-ravaged throat and kitchen sink production. A sense of late-night loneliness permeates his songs, the last to leave the bar at night and the first to arrive at opening time. He'll tell you all the reasons she done him wrong, and he'll tell you why he still shows up at her doorstep day after day, court order be damned.

It's been 9 years between Leach's last album and his newest offering, Seven Song Tape/Thank You For The Coffee. In the in between years, his previous album, "Tom Leach" was never far from my record player. Both albums are a gospel of sorrow and desperation, with obvious nods to Cash, Lefty, and Merle at their most down and out, the gospel of downtrodden.

Leach is a masterful songwriter in a minor key, plundering the Country lexicon, throwing out the sentimental, and turning the expected phrase into something all his own.

"Doris Days", which you can find below, is a particular favorite here at the Mountain, with a swell little twist on the title and the namesake, delivered in a bittersweet melody of melancholy.

Tom Leach: Doris Days (mp3)

Tom Leach: Yesterday's News (mp3)

Tom Leach: At The Bottom Of A Barroom On a Hill In Tennessee (mp3)

Please support your local, independent record store.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Last Call For Alcohol

Here we go.

We are proud to present the top 10 of our Top 100 Drinking Songs.

We couldn't have done this without the hundreds of suggestions that poured in from all y'all back in January. And we certainly couldn't have done this without the help and expertise of our panel of judges. Please, once again, raise a toast to Kip, Sean, Kyle, Andy, and Rev. Frost.

For the record, and for your edification, the following songs, in no particular order, scored the number one slot in each of the ballots.

"Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, And Loud, Loud Music (Various/Vern Gosdin)
"There's A Tear In My Beer" (Hank Williams)- 2 votes
"Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" (various)
"The Wild Rover" (Traditional)
"Sally MacLennane" (The Pogues)

I was particularly pleasantly pleased and surprised by numbers 10 and 8 making it so high up on the list. Both artists are favorites of mine, and have a strong catalogue of great drinking songs. One has moved on to different, and perhaps stronger, themes, while the other we still say a silent prayer for every night.

Wynonie Harris (numbers 6 and 7)issued a strong smackdown to the competition for best shout/jump Blues belter.

Number 9 was the top Country weeper, and number 5 makes its case for the moonshine still in Americana culture/myth.

Congratulations to Ireland (numbers 8 and 3). These songs are not so much a validation of a stereotype, but more a testament to the Emerald Isle's gift for song and storytelling.

Number 4 was the clear winner 'til the last ballots came in. You know the song, and everyone has their favorite version of it. The Mountain's personal preference is The Lightnin' Hopkins version.

Number 2 was another surprise, and a very good one. The ultimate teetotaler's lament to their wayward partner.

And number 1. The only song to receive votes from every judge, it placed in 3 top 10's, 2 top 20's, and 1 top 30. It covers all the bases, and I think very deserving of it's prime position. Having been covered exhaustively, with the title switched around and the lyrics altered in some cases, it's one of the few drinking songs that can boast versions in the widest amount of genres. Everyone has their favorite rendition, but we recommend the Milburn version. Just happens to be our favorite.

So. Thanks for joining us. The list will move over to it's new home at Barstool Mountain on Monday. We'll get a proper, easily downloadable version of the Top 100 up over there. And every song on the list will get, eventually, it's own personal post. If you've been holding off on calling us out about the songs we missed, now is your chance. Hell, give us your personal Top 100. We'll post it. Music taste is malleable and subjective, so we want to know what you think.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 10

10. "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me)" - Tom Waits

9. "There Stands the Glass" - Various/Webb Pierce

8. "Streams of Whiskey" - The Pogues (mp3)

7. "Quiet Whiskey" - Wynonie Harris

6. "Don't Take My Whiskey Away From Me" - Wynonie Harris (mp3)

5. "White Lightning" - George Jones (mp3)

4. "Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" - Various Artists

3. "Whiskey In the Jar" - Traditional/The Dubliners

2. "Don't Come Home A Drinkin'(With Lovin' On Your Mind)" - Loretta Lynn (mp3)

1. "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" - Amos Milburn (plus every other musician in the world)(mp3)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Grape Wine In A Mason Jar

We're down to the next to the last round of The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs.

Don't forget to stop by the future home of The Top 100 (and so much more), Barstool Mountain for fun and games.

Enough about me. I'm lazy today. Let's get right to it. Anybody want to guess what the Top 10 are?

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 9

20. "I Aint Drunk" - Jimmy Liggins
(No, sir. I aint drunk at all...)

19. "What's the Use of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)" - Louis Jordan
(Mr. Jordan makes a good case here. Pun intended)

18. "I Gotta Get Drunk" - Willie Nelson
(Willie gives a good reason why our paycheck might suffer, booze-wise. Doesn't seem to be having too many regrets, though)

17. "There's A Tear in My Beer" - Hank Williams
(This was my pick for #1. I'm going to hold off and give it a full post on Barstool Mountain. )

16. "One More For My Baby (And One More For the Road)" -Frank Sinatra (mp3)
(The second loneliest song on the list. We love Frank. Give him a great big hug.)

15. "The Bottle" - Gil Scott Heron
(Is it a cautionary tale? Maybe so, but it still makes us wanna drink. Heron was a poet. A true poet in a time when we throw that word out too much.)

14. "Barstool Mountain" - Moe Bandy/Johnny Paycheck
(The theme song for our other site. Like the Hank Williams song, you'll have to wait for a longer post over there.)

13. "Here Comes A Regular" - The Replacements (mp3)
(Andy, one of the judges, had this to say: "Of gutter poetry and Grain Belt, losers and lonesome corner bars, unloving towns and unforgiving time. A Westerberg-penned classic that's about as sad as drinking songs come. Someone’s gonna show up, never fear.)

12. "Chug A Lug" - Roger Miller (mp3)
(Remember your first time? Miller nails my dim memories. Plus, Miller's a genius, a denotation we don't give out very often here at the Mountain)

11. "Little Ole Wine Drinker Me" - Various/Dean Martin (mp3)
(Ah, Dean. 'Course, I'm biased since I've been in that "honky in Chicago." There are a million versions of this song, but Dino's version is miles above the rest. It's something about that voice...)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Pass The Booze

Good gravy, here we go. The Top 30 of The Top 100 Drinking Songs starts here. Show me the way to go home.

Is that Wynonie Harris in the list below? Wonder if we'll see him again further down the line?

What do you y'all think so far? Are you holding off 'til we get to the end? Get your cocktail napkins ready and start scribbling. We want to hear what you think. A list is nothing more than an effort in subjectivity.

The Top 100 will move to Barstool Mountain on Monday. Stop by now to see what we've got going on currently.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 8

30. "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" - Merle Haggard
(When your best friend is a bottle, and even that leaves you standing alone)

29. "Gin and Juice" - Snoop Dogg/The Gourds
(Our lone hip hop entry. I know we've gotta be missing some great ones, but this 'un is a classic, all lazy afternoon drawl and swagger. The Gourds version is dead-on genius.)

28. "A Six Pack To Go" - Hank Thompson
(The Mountain is certain Mr. Thompson is walking home, or getting a ride. One of the ultimate binge drinking songs, where the evil "Blue Laws" threaten to ruin Thompson's Sunday morning.)

27. "Rye Whiskey" - Various/Tex Ritter
(Rye whiskey is a nasty concoction. And if we don't get it, we surely will die)

26. "Intoxicated Man" - Serge Gainsbourg
(Gainsbourg sounds drunk...Wait, he sounds like that all the time. "I drink/With too strong amount/I see/Pink elephants/Spiders on the drill plate..." That's a horribly loose translation, but methinks some one's got the dt's or stumbled onto a bottle of Absinthe.)

25. "Bubbles In My Beer" - Bob Wills
(More lonesome barstool lament. Bubbles...we like bubbles. Pretty bubbles....)

24. "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)" - Jerry Lee Lewis
(I get quite a few emails from our friends in Milwaukee. There must be something in water over thataways. Can I believe anything they say? Mr. Lewis makes his case.)

23. "Bloodshot Eyes" - Various/Wynonie Harris/Hank Penny
(One of those songs that translates perfectly as a Honky Tonk song, a Blues song, a Western Swing song, and a Jump Blues song.)

22. "Pass The Booze" - Ernest Tubb
(Sometimes a bartender is the best friend you've got.)

21. "Tequila" - The Champs
(Greasy, stripper horns take you straight to Tequila heaven. Don't drink the water.)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Of Women And Whiskey
And What They Can Do

I've got that "Drink, Drink, Drink" song from the Student Prince going through my head.

Thanks for stumbling back to Big Rock Candy Mountain's Top 100 Drinking Songs list. Be sure to check out Barstool Mountain for the supplemental list. Barstool Mountain will become the official home of the List starting next week, and eventually we'll have posts on every song from The Top 100, and more. Fun and prizes!

It's becoming increasingly harder to choose which 2-3 songs to share on each post here at the Mountain. Initially, they were chosen at random. Some have wondered why I don't "share" every song on the list. Truth be told, my bandwidth couldn't handle it, rapidhare sucks and is reviled, and yousendit only allows so many downloads. And god knows how many C&D letters I'd end up getting. We're a respectable blog here, if not respectful. And to continue flogging a drunk horse, I'll keep pimping Barstool Mountain, where, as time goes by, you'll get all the list and more. Bear with us.

You'll notice, particularly as we start getting closer to #1, that several songs are by "Traditional" or "Various" followed by a slash, followed by an artist. This is probably self-explanatory, but just in case...the musician listed after the slash is who we would recommend as having the defining version of the song. In some instances there may be more than one.

Wasn't that entertaining and informative? Tomorrow, as we stagger and swagger into the Top 30, I'll cut the rambling and talk a little about the actual songs, though most of them can probably speak for themselves.

As ever, let us know what we're missing, what egregious errors we have committed.


The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 7

40. "Bloody Mary Morning" - Willie Nelson

39. "Whiskey You're the Devil" - Traditional

38. "Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In the Rear)" - Various/Dave Bartholomew

37. "Rhythm and Booze" - Corky Jones (aka Buck Owens)

36. "Let Me Go Home Whiskey" - Various/Amos Milburn

35. "Gin House Blues" - Nina Simone

34. "Hey Bartender" - Floyd Dixon

33. "Cigareets and Whiskey and Wild Wild Women" - Various/Buck Owens

32. "In Heaven There Is No Beer" - Traditional

31. "Drunk" - Jimmy Liggins

Monday, May 07, 2007

Some Weasel Took The Cork
Out Of My Lunch

Welcome to week two of the Prohibition-busting Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs list. We'll be counting down from 50 to 1 over the next five days, a veritable bender. If you don't like what you see here, crawl over to Barstool Mountain for a list of all the tunes that got votes but didn't make the Top 100. Maybe you'll find your favorite song over there. You can tell us how we must've been drunk not to include it. Every song will eventually get it's own personal post over at the Barstool.

I'll keep the exposition short today, 'cuz nobody's here for my befuddled rantings. You're here for the tunes.

This post is lovingly dedicated to The Puritans and weekend Zima and wine spritzer sippers.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 6

50. "Who Threw the Whiskey In The Well" - Wynonie Harris

49. "Wine Women and Whiskey" - Papa Lightfoot

48. "Whiskey Do Your Stuff" - Louis Jordan

47. "I Like Beer" - Tom T. Hall

46. "I Got Juiced" - Jimmy McCracklin

45. "Sally MacLennane" - The Pogues

44. "Sloppy Drunk" - Jimmy Rogers

43. "Fifteen Beers" - Johnny Paycheck

42. "One Mint Julep" - Traditional/Sarah Vaughan

41. "If Drinking Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)" - George Jones

Friday, May 04, 2007

Swinging Doors

Today we're proud to present you with the Merle Haggard portion of The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs.

In my very humble estimation, Haggard, the working man's poet, may be one of the most important artists of the last 50 years. Hag could veer with ease from a hard "fuck you" persona to a troubadour of heartbreak, often in the same song. Beloved by punks and honkytonk purists alike, his massive body of recorded work reads like a travelogue through the American landscape, the fears and hopes, loves and losses, trials and tribulations of the common man. A proud and often contradictory performer, Haggard mapped the template of great Country music, great American music, and is owed a large debt by any and all "alt" Country performers slogging the misery and gin circuit today. And that voice. Haggard's voice, a perfectly twanged baritone, has cracked over the years, but, like Tom Waits, in the ageing has found a deeper resonance. I've often committed the heresy in public of placing Haggard in the same importance as Johnny Cash (let the flogging and howling begin).

Of all the artists in the Top 100 Drinking Songs, Haggard received the most individual votes. Only one artist placed as many songs on the list as Haggard. It's a testament to Merle's skills as songwriter, the laureate of barstool philosophy. Haggard knows where a man needs to be, what helps him through the lonely nights, or eases the aches of a long working day, where all his friends are strangers and they're the best friends he's got.

We're not done with Haggard, of course. There's a good chance he'll pop up next week as we finish the final 50. So come on back, we'll have a shot and a bracer waiting for you, and some keen surprises. And don't forget to visit Barstool Mountain for a continuing look at all songs drinking. It's a testament to the world's second greatest pastime.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 5

60. "Misery And Gin" - Merle Haggard

59. "I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink" - Merle Haggard

58. "Bad Bad Whiskey" - Amos Wilburn

57. "Mountain Dew" - Traditional

56. "Whiskey River" - Willie Nelson

55. "Two Six Packs Away" - Dave Dudley

54. "Wine Wine Wine" - Floyd Dixon (mp3)

53. "On Tap, In The Can, Or In The Bottle" - Hank Thompson

52. "Let's Go Get Stoned" - Ray Charles

51. "Swinging Doors" - Merle Haggard

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Smelling Like A Brewery,
Looking Like A Tramp

Thanks for returning to the Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs. We're reeling along here, and I hope we're not dragging this out too long. Nah, a little anticipation is a good thing. It builds up a powerful thirst.

For those concerned, and for your convenience, once we're done here we're gonna have an easy reference page with the whole list listed in one lump sum. You can print the page up and share it with friends and family. Something for the kids to look forward too. Of course, the official home for this list will move to Barstool Mountain, which is currently gathering up the stray dogs. You should check it out. It's a fun place to visit, and will really pick up steam once we're all finished here.

I'll keep this short today.

Recommended reading: A while back Locust Street featured a massive project called The Seven Drinks of Mankind. It's some of the best writing and research I've ever read on the world wide interwebs. For your edification, The Mountain highly recommends you check out his brilliant posts on beer, wine, and spirits.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 4

70. "Day Drinking" - Tom T. Hall and Dave Dudley

69. "The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter" - Laura Cantrell

68. "Give Me A Red Hot Mama And An Ice Cold Beer" - Smiley Maxedon

67. "Booze Party" - 3 Aces and a Joker

66. "Whiskey Heaven" - Fats Domino

65. "She Said" - Hasil Adkins

64. "Six Pack" - Black Flag

63. "Roadhouse Blues" - The Doors

62. "Pabst Blue Ribbon" - Untamed Youth

61. "Pop A Top" - Jim Ed Brown

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Here At Home 'Til Closing Time

Howdy, cowpokes. Belly on up to the bar, and we'll serve you up some fine cocktails. It's Day 3 of The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs List.

As we move on up the list, you'll start to notice a pattern of sorts. Or, more accurately, you'll see certain genres asserting their dominance over the world of drinking songs. I'm not entirely surprised, but it could lend the list a certain "cry foul" factor from the peanut gallery. It should be disclosed, to those who may be new here, that my primary focus at this here blog is on Country music, with the occasional Blues, pre-rock R&B, and Trash/Garage entries popping up from time to time. I also think Tom Waits and the Pogues are the cat's meow. My personal focus on these genres is preciseley the reason I enlisted a panel of judges, to help keep the list from being only my long gone lonesome voice. They did a bang up job, and kept the list much more honest in breadth than I could have accomplished left to my own devices.

That said, Country and Blues still managed a pretty sizable smackdown over the rest of the field. I'm not surprised. Punk made a decent showing, as did a couple of classic lounge songs. And Ireland did itself proud, naturally. Indie/Alternative music was the big loser, with Hard Rock/Heavy Metal struggling to get enough votes to save face. Hip Hop managed only one entry, but it's a corker, and you're gonna be happy to see it (a twangy cover version of the song has certainly helped it out amongst the flannel and boots crowd).

I have some observations about why I think Country, Blues, and Punk made such a strong showing, and why others did not. I'm not writing a thesis paper here, so bear with me. If you've got a 100-page paper sitting around on the sociological aspects of the drinking song, and are dying to get it out there, we'd be more than happy to find a way to accomodate you.

I think the strength of the drinking song lies in it's "jukebox factor". What songs can achieve the maximum amount of folks singing along or toasting their friends when played on the jukebox of your local tavern? Some of this is based on familiarity, which favors Country and Blues, as they are some of the older genres of popular American music, jumping on the burgeoning radio and singles market of the early 20th century. Country and Blues, in the American tradition, have existed as long as porches, as long as barn raisings, as long as folks returned from a long day in the fields and had to entertain themselves. Having both come from a rural tradition, this was music that aimed for the most populist of themes, speaking directly to the "common man", whoever that is. They aimed at a reflection of daily life, and then danced your cares away. Barn Dances and Juke Joints. Back yards and tiny cold water apartments. But back to the original point. If you walked into a random bar with a random selection of individuals, and played a Crooked Fingers song followed by a Merle Haggard song, which song would have a bigger effect, if at all?

Indie rock has a kind of insular, misanthropic take on drinking. When Johnny Paycheck or Champion Jack Dupree sing about drinking alone, they're inviting you to drink alone with them, no matter what separation by years or distance. Indie rock wants you to fuck right off and leave them alone, cuz you don't understand their pain, man. Hank and Wynonie understand, and they want you to understand too.

I could be wrong about all this, of course. What do you think? Make a case for your favorite song.

Of course, the rest of the list is not all Blues and Country. Far from it. So don't be afraid. I think most of you will be pretty happy with the range we've got coming up. As ever, hop on over to Barstool Mountain for a continuing countdown of all the songs that didn't make the Top 100, with random mp3's included. It'll be the permanent home for The Top 100, and a continuing forum for all songs drinking.

Thanks for visiting.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 3

80. "Last Night" - The Mar-Keys

79. "Gonna Drink Milwaukee Dry" - Charlie Walker

78. "Jack Daniels If You Please" - David Allen Coe

77. "I'm At Home Getting Hammered (While She's Out Getting Nailed)" - Banjo And Sullivan

76. "Whiskey Bottle" - Uncle Tupelo

75. "She's Acting Single, I'm Drinking Doubles" - Gary Stewart

74. "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)" - various

73. "When I'm Drinkin" - Champion Jack Dupree

72. "Rum and Coke" - Professor Longhair

71. "Margaritaville" - Jimmy Buffet

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I'll Drink A Great Big Whiskey To Ya Anyway

Tra la la...

Sorry, I was practicing my imitation of Morrissey imitating Kermit the Frog. Erm...

Welcome back to day 2 of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs. We hope your enjoy our little attempt at presenting only the finest vintages of boozers, weepers, and winos.

And remember, if you don't like the list, if you're outraged that your favorite song didn't make the cut, you can make your case over at our new site, Barstool Mountain, the future home to The Top 100 and current home to all the songs that received votes but didn't make the final list. Leave a comment or shoot me an email (, and you can write your very own post. How fun is that?

I promised a sneak peek today at the artists who placed the most songs on the Top 100. Here you go:


Come back tomorrow for part 3, and some thoughts on why certain genres fared better than others.

And, as always, the drinks are on the house here at The Mountain.

The Big Rock Candy Mountain Top 100 Drinking Songs, Part 2

90. "It Was The Whiskey Talking (Not Me) - Jerry Lee Lewis

89. "What A Way To Die" - The Pleasure Seekers

88. "I Got Loaded" - Peppermint Harris
(Ah, yes. A muted jump blues number.)

87. "The King Is Gone" - George Jones

86. "One Shot" - The Mono Men

85. "Hangover Tavern" - Hank Thompson
(Hank's one of our favorites here at the Mountain. Herein lies a tale. The hair of the dog, the morning after, the cure for regret.)

84. "Let's Get Drunk Again" - Bo Carter

83. "Good Old Mountain Dew" - Grandpa Jones

82. "My Baby Got Drunk" - Paul "Wine" Jones
(I was pleased to see this song rank in the top 100. A recent(ish) recording from a feller who should have enjoyed more popularity before his untimely demise. Proof that the "drunk call" can occur across genres. Greasy, nasty Blues at it's finest)

81. "Looped" - Calvin Bose