10 Great Drinking Songs
I was listening to the radio a little while ago, and I heard one of my all-time favorite drinking songs. This got me thinking about other great alcohol related songs that I know. There are wonderful songs about drinking, from every genre. Some of my favorites are well-known, others not so much. Some are fun party songs. Some are sad, crying in your beer songs, some are mellow, kicking back songs.
Being part of the "Baby Boomer" generation, the music I love tends to be older. However, not everything here is from back in the day. In fact, I would be very surprised to meet a person who knows all of these songs.
George Thorogood – One Burbon One Scotch One Beer
This is the song that inspired this article, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” It is a blues song that was written by Rudy Toombs. George Thorogood and the Destroyers recorded the popular version of it that I know and love. It was on their first album, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, released in 1977. Another great drinking song Thorogood does, that I love, is “I Drink Alone.”
David Bromberg – Sloppy Drunk
A multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter, Bromberg plays a variety of music including bluegrass, blues, folk, jazz, country and western, and rock and roll. He is known for his humorous lyrics, and his ability to play rhythm and lead guitar at the same time.
Bromberg has played with many famous musicians, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan and George Harrison.
He has been enjoying some success with his latest album The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing but the Blues, released on October 14, 2016.
He says he don't drink no more.
I know for sure, he don't drink no less.— David Bromberg
Jackie Greene – Freeport Boulevard
For me, Jackie Greene is practically a hometown boy. He grew up in and around Sacramento, California. I've been following his career since I first saw him at the SPCA Blues and Barbecue at the fairgrounds in Auburn, CA. I think he was 21 years old, but he looked like he was about 14. What a talented young man he was. In addition to singing, he was comfortable playing piano, guitar, banjo or harmonica, and he wrote the most incredible songs.
This prolific composer has released many albums since then. His musical style has evolved and expanded from rock ballads and Americana to rock and blues.
In 2012 Greene went on tour with Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. They called themselves the Weir, Robinson, Greene trio, or WRG for short.
Greene was also part of the final lineup of the Black Crowes. He replaced Luther Dickinson as lead guitarist, and played with the band until their break-up in 2015.
He has recently been based on the east coast, pursuing his solo career.
This song is early Jackie Greene, off his first album, , released in 2002. The album won the California Music Award for the Best Blues/Roots Album in 2003 and remained on the national Americana charts for over a year. Gone Wanderin'
Sometimes we drink whiskey, sometimes we drink wine. As long as we're drinking, we're feelin' just fine.— Jackie Greene
Mary Gauthier – "I Drink"
We all know that there is a dark side to drinking. Here is poignant song about dysfunction, addiction, and that dark side. It is a song by Mary Gauthier, who live through addiction, and came out the other side. She says she was never able to complete a song until she got sober. She didn’t begin her musical career until she was 35 years old. This song is from her 2005 major label debut album, Mercy Now.
Mary Gauthier - "I Drink"
Emmylou Harris – Two More Bottles of Wine
Emmylou Harris rose to the top of the country charts in 1978 with this song. It was the first single from her album Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.
The song was written by Delbert McClinton, a talented songwriter, and an underappreciated performer in his own right. He likes to tell the story about how he came to write this song after coming to California with a woman he was in love with. She left him, and although she broke his heart, she did inspire this great song.
This song has also been covered by Martina McBride on her 1995 album Wild Angels and by Teri Clark on her album Classic, released in 2012.
Kris Kristofferson – Sunday Morning Coming Down
This is a "morning after" song by Kris Kristofferson. Although Kristofferson wrote the song, it was a hit for Ray Stevens, who first recorded it in 1969, and also for Johnny Cash in 1970.
Kristofferson has said that this is the song that allowed him to quit working for a living. I kind of love hearing him sing it.
Willie Nelson – Bloody Mary Morning
Willie Nelson, wrote and sang many great drinking songs. This is one of my favorites, although not the most famous."Bloody Mary Morning" was included on Nelson's 1972 album Phases and Stages.
The album became one of the first concept albums in country music. The album tells the story of divorce from both sides. The first side is the woman’s point of view. Side two is the man’s perspective, and it begins with "Bloody Mary Morning."
Elvin Bishop – Party Till the Cows Come Home
Best known for his 1976 single, "Fooled Around and Fell in Love", Elvin Bishop has been playing music since the early 60s, being part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band before going off on his own. This early Elvin Bishop number is a great party song about drinking and having fun.
Jimmy Buffet – God's Own Drunk
Jimmy Buffet is, of course, best know for his song "Margaritaville." However, I consider this to be a superior drinking song. "God's Own Drunk" is based on a spoken word monologue by Lord Buckley. Various musicians have recorded adaptations of it in song. Jimmy Buffett, first recorded this rendition of the song for his album, . Living and Dying in ¾ Time
It became a concert staple for Buffet long before "Margaritaville's" popularity. He had to stop playing the song in 1983 when Buckley's son, Dick Buckley Jr., sued him for for copyright infringement.
The outcome of the court case has not been made public, but Buffett has occasionally included the song in his lineup since 1988, releasing it as a single in 2011.
Bob Frank – Memphis Jail
This is definitely the most obscure song in this list. This song got some airplay on the radio when it was new. There are several other songs on this album about drinking and being down and out.
Bob Frank made an album (also called Bob Frank) on Vanguard back in 1972, and then he disappeared for 30 years. Another song on the record that had a cult following was "She Pawned Her Diamond for Some Gold." It was a rare vinyl record for decades, but now that original album has been re-released, and is available on Amazon!
A once promising singer and songwriter, Bob had burned his bridges with the recording company, so he got a regular job and raised a family. Now retired, he's gone back to making music.
Along with many of Bob Frank's other fans, I always wondered what happened to him. I was pleased to find out that he is alive and well.
© 2017 Sherry Hewins