Monday, September 7, 2009

Climbin' Up

Hey nippy nippers! Welcome back.

Today we're gonna serve you up (well, of course) with a snazzy little sipper that just so happens to be the namesake of this here little 'ol site. Yup, we're climbing up the Barstool Mountain today.

Y'all might remember there was a bit of controversy at the outset of this project over the audacity that we displayed in choosing the name Barstool Mountain. I'm not going to link to the message board involved (you can do some research back in our earlier posts if you care). Suffice to say, some folks thought that Barstool Mountain was a "sacred" name reserved for a certain elite level of drinkers whose pain (ick) and experience us common folks couldn't possibly hope to understand or achieve. Well, fuck 'em. The Barstool Mountain, like all good Country music and taverns, is for all folks who have lived and loved and drunk to the good times and bad.

I've finally found a place where I can take it
all this loneliness you left behind.
On a mountain that's no hill for a climber.
Just one step up, sit back and pour the wine.

I climb up on barstool mountain.
High above your world where there's no pain.
And I'm the king of barstool mountain.
Pretending I don't love you once again.

At closing time I step down off the mountain.
I'm strong enough to make it without you.
I know that I'll be right back here tomorrow.
Too weak to sober up and face the truth

I climb up on barstool mountain.
High above your world where there's no pain.
And I'm the king of barstool mountain.
Pretending I don't love you once again.

We had two reasons for picking this song as our namesake. First, it's one of our favorite drinking songs. Second, well, it was easily convenient as a companion piece to our main site, Big Rock Candy Mountain. I won't insult yr whiskey-soaked brains by pointing out why.

The song itself, then. It's a wistful tune, of sorts, brewed in the moment we've all been in, propped up at the rails, determined towards forgetting and blankness. And, of course, there's a girl or boy. Always a girl or boy . But, to avoid seriousness, it's a revelation in neon, shaken and stirred, a fine vintage, rarely made these days. Getting better with age? Well, yes, but no more mellow.

The song's been done by numerous folks, but we believe the malted mightiest are the Moe Bandy and Johny Paycheck versions. And Moe's might be seminal, and we love Moe dearly (you'll be hearing more from him down the line), but Paycheck's, to our swizzlin' senses, is the finest, with his bourbon-soaked voice and a guitar line that swings you into oblivion. Either way, we're all winners at the Barstool Mountain. Or losers. You decide.

Johnny Paycheck: Barstool Mountain (mp3)

Moe Bandy: Barstool Mountain (mp3)

Please support your local, independent barstool manufacturer.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sittin' In A Honky In Chicago

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me..." Go on, finish it.

Today we're gonna feature a tune that could very well be our theme song 'round these parts, if it weren't for our "title" song, which maybe deserves the next post. It's about time.

It takes a cool cat to carry off a brilliant tune like "Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me". It's a swingin' little boozer about, well, gettin' dumped. And grapes. Yummy yummy grapes. And the song takes us from California to Chicago (hooray!) to Florida (where we used to think "his" baby left a "floater" on the train...don't ask) to Tennessee. But it's all about a guy in the corner, listening to the jukebox and hugging the bottle of vin. It doesn't get much better than that.

We said it takes a cool cat to sing this song. Well, it doesn't get much cooler than our hero, Dean Martin, all laconic slurred fuck-off attitude, and heart-broken self-pity. We've been there, each and every one of us. Far as we're concerned, his is the definitive version. You may disagree.

But then you've got Robert goddam Mitchum, mighty Merle Haggard, Lefty Frizzell, and Charlie Walker adding their cool as ice renditions, and you've got one of the greatest sot-sodden tales of woe and wine ever crafted.

Frankly, the song is a Country song. I can't imagine another scenario where the tune would work. All these artists give it their best drawl'n'twang, and take a so-called novelty and turn it into a classic tavern turned gem of stem and drank.

I'm praying for a rain in California
So the grapes can grow and they can make more wine
And I'm sitting in a honky in Chicago
With a broken heart and a woman on my mind.

I'll ask the man behind the bar for the jukebox
And the music takes me back to Tennessee
And when they ask who's the fool in the corner, crying
I'll say, little old wine drinker, me.

I came here last week from down in Nashville
'Cause my baby left for Florida on a train
I thought I'd get a job and just forget her
But in Chicago a broken heart is still the same.

I'll ask the man behind the bar for the jukebox
And the music takes me back to Tennessee
And when they ask who's the fool in the corner, crying
I'll say, little old wine drinker, me...

Recommended Reading: The Alcoholics by Jim Thompson


Dean Martin: Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me (mp3)

Robert Mitchum: Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me (mp3)

Merle Haggard: Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me (mp3)

Lefty Frizzell: Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me (mp3)

Charlie Walker: Little Ol' Wine Drinker Me (mp3)

Please support your local train station and vinter.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In My Sin

Well now. Here we are. Over a year later. Good gravy, that's one long bender. We aint gonna guarantee daily postings or any of that nonsense, but we figger we can get a least a post or two a week up. Or not.

If you're new here, this is a site all about drinking songs. Nuthin' but carefree boozin'. We hope to reflect the Top 100 Drinking Songs we posted a couple years ago on our parent site, Big Rock Candy Mountain. And since all lists are flawed, and a hundred aint enough, we'll be posting all kinds of tipsy tunes not featured on the Top 100.

Now then,

To get us kick-started again, we've got a nifty little nipper from Louis Jordan. "What's The Use Of Getting Sober(When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again)" is a, ahem, cautionary dialogue between a son and his pappy about the dangers of all day and all night drinking. We think the son wins the argument:

"What's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again
Oh Sam done something fine
When he bought that good whiskey, beer and wine
I love my whiskey and I love my gin
Every time you see me I'm in my sin
So what's the use of getting sober
When you're gonna get drunk again"

Yep, it's a good 'un.

Recommended Reading: A Fan's Notes by Frederick Exley.


Louis Jordan: What's The Use of Gettin' Sober (mp3)

Monday, June 23, 2008


Hey all. We've got a special guest post today, from Ray at the super swell site Testify. He'd like to share with you a modern classic drinking tune. We think Ray's spot-on with his evaluation.

Take it away, Ray:

In his 2002 book Black Vinyl, White Powder, Simon Napier Bell wrote of Underworld:
“Working with keyboards and computers, painting with sound and rhythm, they could create an aural collage that could be considered on a par with the best contemporary art of all sorts. Like all seriously considered art the imagery contained in it was often obsessive and personal.”

In 1996 Young British Artists (YBA’s) were central to a new self confidence in British cultural life, which together with Brit Pop and the promise of a new Labour government, led to a lot excitable chatter about a neo-Swinging London. Though originally released in 1995, as an anonymous b-side Born Slippy (NUXX) achieved prominence when featured on the soundtrack of 1996’s Trainspotting , in the language of the time, a great Brit flick. So, by extension, Born Slippy (NUXX) became a part of the soundtrack of those times, the drinking song du jour of the Hirst’s and Emin’s that Napier Bell was doubtless thinking of when he talked of the “best contemporary art”. It poured out from the bars of newly fashionable Hoxton and Shoreditch as well as everywhere else like the bottles of lager it apparently hymned.

So, yes, it would be easy to mistake Born Slippy (NUXX) for contemporary art but for all its modernist tropes Born Slippy (NUXX) belongs to a much older British Art tradition than the YBA partys it soundtracked. Born Slippy (NUXX) is positively Hogarthian.

Like Hogarth’s Gin Lane or Night, Born Slippy (NUXX) is both reportage and a sneering lampooning of that which it reports on. Karl Hyde's lyrics are often called stream of consciousness, but to me they sound utterly authentic. Hyde isn’t delving into his subconscious rather he, is channeling the life around him, simply repeating the sounds of Britain at play: “Lager, Lager, Lager …shouting…” however his deadpan delivery drains it of life, it implicitly comments on it and ultimately rejects it. As the music changes from sombre piano to pummeling beats it is perhaps possible to hear the city and its playful inhabitants crushed, at least in the febrile imagination of the songs protagonist.

At this point in there career Underworld featured DJ Darren Emerson and were aligned with the rave scene. Since the late eighties Rave, in the UK at least, had been the latest flowering of rock ‘n’ roll’s Dionysian promise of a good time all the time, of one nation under the groove getting down etc etc.

Of course there were dissenters, a disgruntled clubland elite who found a voice in the Boys Own fanzine. As early as 1990 Norman Jay bemoaned in Boys Own, the fact that rave was no longer the preserve of “London’s style and fashion conscious, flat top trendy and clued up clubber” and poured scorn on ‘Joe Public’ who “boogies on down in the raves convinced he’s a trendy (silly cunt)” One assumes those people in New Labour who bestowed an MBE on Jay for "deejaying and services to music" on 12th November 2002 didn’t read Boys Own.

The Boys Own clique despised what they saw as johnny cum lately “acid teds”, that huge section of society that had been turned onto rave not by cool tastemakers such as themselves but rather read about it in the tabloids and wanted a slice of the action.
Boys Own founded their own record label, Junior Boys Own, which included on its roster...Underworld!

Born Slippy (NUXX) turned out to be well named however as it slipped its trendy moorings and found itself at number two in the charts Underworld found themselves no longer simply detached observers of Saturday night excess, they were now an integral part of it, for by then even the least trendy most revolting pub was singing along.

All together now…”Lager, Lager Lager…”

Underworld: Born Slippy (NUXX) (mp3)

Lager is almost as good for you as gin.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Have you got a favorite drinking establishment? A place where the bartender's got your beer and shot ready the moment you crack the door? Where you've got your own stool, the shape of your ass cheeks permanently pushed in the cushion or worn into the wood, and the bar is bowed to accommodate your elbows? A place where, erm, well...everybody knows your name? Well then, my friends, you are a Regular.

In his day, Paul Westerberg was surely a regular himself. He and his band The Replacements, who we consider the greatest American rock'n'roll band of all time (we dare you to prove us wrong), were certainly known for their exceedingly inebriated live shows, all drunken swagger and whiskey rebellion. Some would call these performances a sloppy mess. We prefer to refer to them as the essence of Rawk.

About mid-way through their career, The 'Mats traded in a bit of the loud, fast, and out of control tomfoolery for the occasional turn on reflection. With their song "Here Comes A Regular", which placed at a very pleasing #13 on our Top 100 Drinking Songs, The Replacements (Westerberg alone?) crafted a modern tear-in-your-beer tune to rival those of Mr. Waits and Mr. MacGowan.

A master lyricist, with a genius for a turn of the phrase, Westerberg could break your heart while spitting in your drink behind your back. With "Here Comes A Regular", he found the heart of sadness in the spinning neon bar signs. Suffused with regret and defiance, the song floats on a simple guitar line, Westerberg alone in the dust-moted spotlight on the stool. A good bar has few windows. It's the barest skiffle of a song, with the weight of the glass balanced by the changing of the seasons, viewed from the perch of the pint of no return.

Well a person can work up a mean mean thirst
after a hard day of nothin' much at all
Summer's passed, it's too late to cut the grass
There ain't much to rake anyway in the fall

And sometimes I just ain't in the mood
to take my place in back with the loudmouths
You're like a picture on the fridge that's never stocked with food
I used to live at home, now I stay at the house

And everybody wants to be special here
They call your name out loud and clear
Here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one here today?

Well a drinkin' buddy that's bound to another town
Once the police made you go away
And even if you're in the arms of someone's baby now
I'll take a great big whiskey to ya anyway

Everybody wants to be someone's here
Someone's gonna show up, never fear
'cause here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one who feels ashamed?

Kneeling alongside old Sad Eyes
He says opportunity knocks once then the door slams shut
All I know is I'm sick of everything that my money can buy
The fool who wastes his life, God rest his guts

First the lights, then the collar goes up, and the wind begins to blow
Turn your back on a pay-you-back, last call
First the glass, then the leaves that pass, then comes the snow
Ain't much to rake anyway in the fall

The Replacements: Here Comes A Regular(mp3)

The Replacements: Here Comes A Regular (LIVE)(mp3)

Please support your local "local", ya know.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Blue Ribbon

Ulp...sorry, you caught me taking a quick nip.

One of our biggest regrets in the Top 100 Drinking Songs list was how poorly Mr. Johnny Russell performed, particularly his seminal rendition of Mountain favorite "Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer".

"Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer" is the quintessential working-man's bar tune, a joyous shout out to camaraderie amongst those whose fingernails get a little dirty, and the aches and pains of a day's hard labor are assuaged by the popped top on a cold one, the jukebox, the ball game on tv, and the racked balls on the pool table. No pretense on this one.

It doesn't hurt that Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer is a highly favored brew here at the Mountain.

As a bonus, we've got another fine little drinking tune from Russell, "Drinking a Beer and Singing a Country Song". If you were ever curious about the connection between Country music and the consumption of tasty beverages, this should spell it out for you pretty (ever)clearly. There is no Country without a drink, and there is no drinking without a little sip of the good stuff.

Barstool Mountain approved! 200 proof!

Johnny Russell: Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer (mp3)

Johnny Russell: Drinking a Beer and Singing a Country Song (mp3)

Please support your local "Old Man" Bar.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Down To The Stillhouse

Took a break. We're back now. Lift yr glasses.

The New Lost City Ramblers were part of the big Folk Boom back in the late 50's into the early 60's. While most of that movement, musicians and audiences alike, was made up of white folks playing at authenticity through theft, The 'Ramblers approached the songs and subject matter of their performances and recordings with a reverence and playful spirit. Plenty of banjos, fiddles, kazoos, and whatnot, and an obvious appreciation for the Appalachian culture from which the majority of their material sprung from. They continue to tour sporadically, in various incarnations, to this day, and have served as an influence to much of the Backwoods revivalists we appreciate today.

For our purposes today, we want to take a look at our favorite album of theirs, "American Moonshine and Prohibition Songs". As you can surmise from the title, the record is comprised of drinking songs. Mostly in the moonshine whiskey and bootlegging vein, a fine topic we think. Loves us some moonshine. Every song on this album reels, jigs, and fiddles it's way through a boozy haze of law-breaking and bad behavior. Highly recommended for all you inebriates out there.

The following songs are best heard with a whiskey (preferably of the "homemade" kind) in yr claw.

The New Lost City Ramblers: Goodbye Old Booze (mp3)

The New Lost City Ramblers: The Old Home Brew (mp3)

The New Lost City Ramblers: Down To The Stillhouse To Get A Little Cider (mp3)

The New Lost City Ramblers: Kentucky Bootlegger (mp3)

Please support your local moonshiner and bootlegger. If you don't, who will?