Month: February 2020

February 26, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 4: Thrash Unreal by Against Me

For anybody who is a little bit older than 30, you can probably think back drinking in a college bar or young adult and seeing someone that long overstayed his or her stay.  Ben Fold’s song Silver Street is a nice example of the male version of this person who can’t seem to transition into adulthood.  While that song is mildly depressing, Thrash Unreal by Against Me is a darker version of this phenomena with a female taking on the “over the hill” role. Sure, the heroine of the song is probably on now on heroin, but at it’s a heart I think the song is about the dark side of the bar and party scene that starts with drinking. It’s a drinkin’ song in spirit. It also feature a lyric that I often find best describes what I’ve found repeatedly I my research : “Sometimes the party takes you places you never really planned on going.” 

I was lucky enough to see Against Me singer and guitarist, Laura Jane Grace (at the time still Tom Gable) perform this song solo at the Casbah, San Diego’s landmark alt music watering hole.  Laura was part of the Revival Tour and the alt-star lineup featured Ben Nichols (Lucero), Tim Barry,  and Chuck Ragan. This song was the highlight of the night.  You can hear it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NT_ZRHQayg4.

Here are the lyrics:

If she wants to dance and drink all night
Well, there’s no one that can stop her
She’s going till the house lights come up or her stomach spills onto the floor
This night is gonna end when we’re damn well ready for it to be over
Worked all week long, now the music is playing on our time
Yeah, we do what we do to get by, and then we need a release

You get mixed up with the wrong guys
You get messed up on the wrong drugs
Sometimes the party takes you places that you didn’t really plan on going
When people see the track marks on her arm, she knows what they’re thinking
She keeps on working for that minimum
As if a high school education gave you any other options, you know

They don’t know nothing about redemption
They don’t know nothing about recovery
Some people just aren’t the type for marriage and family

No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to sleep alone

She’s out of step with the style
She don’t know where the action’s happening
You know the downtown club scene ain’t nothing like it used to be
You reach a point where there’s not a lie in the world
That you could use to make the boys believe you’re still in your twenties
But they keep getting younger, don’t they, baby?

She’s not waiting for someone to come over and ask for the privilege
She can still here that rebel yell just as loud as it was in 1983, you know
There ain’t no Johnny coming home to share a bed with her, and she doesn’t care

No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to sleep alone
No mother ever dreams that her daughter’s gonna grow up to be a junkie
And if she had to live it all over again, you know she wouldn’t change anything for the world

February 17, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 3: Drink Till We’re Gone by Lucero

This week’s Drinkin’ Song is Drink Till We’re Gone by Lucero. This Memphis-based band is one of my personal favorite groups!  Equal parts alt-county, rock and roll, punk and whiskey, this band puts on a great live show if you ever get to see them (I’ve lost count of the number of Lucero shows I’ve seen!). In my humble opinion, Lucero has recorded some of the best drinkin’ songs out there.  This crowd favorite appeared on their self-titled album, Lucero in 2005 and again on their 2014 live album, Lucero Live From Atlanta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjlHWrfnqak.

To hear the original album version of the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlMtDt9mz6A .

Here are the lyrics:

Life is short
In spite of your plans
So, tell the girls they’re pretty while you can
One day they’re gone
And all you got left is
Some empty bottles and an old country song
That plays on and on

I wasted my time with these cigarettes
And these ashes all I’ve got left
Wash this old town
Nothings left for me
Washed down stream into the sea
This big ol’ river will kill us in time
’til then we’ll drink it’s weight
In cheap beer and wine
We can drink just as fast as the river is strong
And we’ll drink ’til we’re gone
We’ll drink ’til we’re gone

Life is short
In spite of your plans
So, tell the girls they’re pretty while you can
One day they’re gone
And all you got left is 
Some empty bottles and an old country song
This big ol’ river will kill us in time
’til then we’ll drink it’s weight
In cheap beer and wine
We can drink just as fast as the river is strong
And we’ll drink ’til we’re gone
We’ll drink ’til we’re gone

Source: https://genius.com/Lucero-drink-till-were-gone-lyrics

Live version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5iufTIfqkk

February 1, 2020

Drinkin’ Songs 2: Moonshiner by Bob Dylan

Recorded by Bob Dylan in 1963, Moonshiner has been recorded by numerous other artists over the years and there is some dispute over whether the song is an American or Irish folk song of unknown authorship.  Indeed, you can find versions of the song performed by the likes of folk legends The Clancy Brothers and others. Interestingly, the lyrics of Moonshiner can vary widely depending on the version and the artist.  The meaning of the song is pretty self-evident and requires little interpretation.  My favorite lyrics are the Dylan version and my favorite performance of the song  is the Uncle Tupelo version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppiol9oetOk, followed by the Redbird version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ_W3l6uHFA.

Here are the lyrics from the Uncle Tupelo version: 

I’ve been a moonshiner
For seventeen long years
I’ve spent all my money 
On whiskey and beer

I go to some hollow
And sit at my still 
And if whiskey don’t kill me
Then I don’t know what will

I go to some barroom
And drink with my friends
Where the women can’t follow 
And see what I spend

God bless them pretty women
I wish they was mine
Their breath is as sweet
The dew on the vine

Let me eat when I am hungry
Let me drink when I am dry 
A dollar when I am hard-up 
Religion when I die

The whole world’s a bottle
And life’s but a dram
When the bottle gets empty
It sure ain’t worth a damn

(Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Jay Stuart Farrar / Jeff Tweedy

Moonshiner lyrics © BMG Rights Management)

Other versions come from Cat Power (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lx120yg_JDk) and Elliot Smith (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiQnwl51E9s).

Take a listen, tip a libation of your choice, pick your favorite version and let us know what you think!

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