Monday, January 25, 2010


It was probably in 1990 or 1991. I was driving to the U.C.L.A. campus – where I worked at the time – and I had some oldies station dialed in on my car radio. The disc jockey played the Norman Greenbaum hit ‘SPIRIT IN THE SKY’, which had gone to #3 on the Billboard Pop music charts in 1970. ‘Spirit In The Sky’ is my all-time favorite Rock song. I was crazy about it in ’70 when it was getting played once an hour on KHJ Los Angeles, and I’m no less crazy about it today. My family is under explicit orders to play it at my wake, whenever that time comes that I “Bite The Avocado”.

Back in 2002, my Ma, my Brother, and I were competing with each other in a Baseball Pick-‘Em contest that came down to the World Series. It was the Anaheim Angels versus the San Francisco Giants, and although I desperately wanted the Angels to win the Series, I had selected the Giants because I feared they would top my team of choice. But just before the first pitch of Game One, the Angels did a little tribute to deceased Angel’s owner Gene Autry, and the tribute included the playing of Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit In The Sky’ over the stadium’s sound system. When I heard that on the radio, I nearly got choked up and immediately phoned my Ma and officially changed my pick from the Giants to the Angels. I thought: There’s no way the Angels are going to lose this series after THAT! It was a good move on my part because the Angels did indeed triumph in a 7-game Series. Three cheers for ‘Spirit In The Sky’ and the Rally Monkey!

Well, after the DJ played ‘Spirit In The Sky’ on the radio that day in ’90 or ’91, he made the statement that it was a female who had played that distinctive guitar riff and solo on ‘Spirit.’ This really surprised me, and quite frankly, I was more than a little skeptical. I actually did some research trying to confirm the DJ’s statement; I remember going to the library and to a book store, but I was unable to prove or disprove what the DJ had said. (Don’t forget, this was before the Internet, when libraries and book stores were the best research resources.)

In maybe 2004 or Aught Five, I discovered a way to contact Norman Greenbaum through the Worldwide Web, and so I sent him a brief e-mail, telling him what the DJ had said all those years earlier, and I asked him whether or not there was any truth to it.

Norman responded to me immediately, and he obviously had a great personality to go along with his great hit song. I no longer have a copy of my initial e-mail, so I can’t post it below. But I opened my question with some sort of statement about a person being awakened from the dead, or being reincarnated – something along those lines. I can’t remember what I said now, but it somehow coincided with my inquiry. I am posting below Norman’s response to my question. The first couple of sentences won’t make much sense because he was replying to what I’d said about coming back from the dead, but the rest of his humorous letter speaks for itself. Enjoy the words of a real character (and I mean “character” in a real good way) . . .

Thanks for writing.

Yeah, I don't want them waking me up either. Start all over again? Maybe.

I don't know how all these rumors get started, except I can probably figure this one out a little.

There was a girl in one of my former bands, Dr. West's Medicine Show, to be specific. She sang and played rhythm guitar. On Spirit In The Sky, I played the fuzz guitar and Russell DaShiell played lead. No girl. Just The Stovall Sisters singing in the back. The drummer didn't sing. I did.

These DJ's should get off "the weed". Facts ain't fiction. Then again, I am dead, living in Ohio or running a Harley shop in Vegas and am seen quite often in Sturgess or Paris. And on and on. Like I live in Montana and raise Bison or coach high school football, in Kansas or Florida, am also an attorney or is it an accountant? I sling burgers at a diner and there's a girl in every town I've never been to that have screwed me.

That about poops me out for this E mail. Hope I helped you.
I sound pissed, but I'm not.

Norman Greenbaum


Well, since this Blog is on the subject of Rock ‘N’ Roll these days, let’s move from the greatest Rock song to Rock’s greatest album cover . . .

You’ll recall that last March I posted a Blog Bit titled ‘THE AMERICAN DREAM: TO RUN AWAY FROM HOME & JOIN THE ROCK 'N' ROLL CARNIVAL.’ In that Bit, I mentioned how I believed the photo that I arranged for my buddy Eric to take of me at the Statue Of Liberty in 1983 was subconsciously inspired by the album cover of Nils Lofgren’s first solo LP.

Well, shortly after posting that Blog Bit, I set up a MySpace account solely to contact Mr. Lofgren and ask him what liquor he was drinking straight from the bottle in that classic photo on the ‘Nils Lofgren’ album cover. I never wanted a MySpace account for myself, but it was the only way I could find to reach Nils. (I have since deleted the account.)

I had to ask and reask the question several times because it seems Nils has an associate oversee his MySpace account, and Nils himself doesn’t actually spend much time on it. Here’s the message I sent him on September 12, 2009:

Dear Mr. Lofgren ~
I think that your self-titled debut solo record has the greatest album cover in Rock 'N' Roll history. It's so cool that I believe I unconsciously copied it when I had a friend take a picture of me at the Statue Of Liberty during my first trip to New York in 1983.

I have often wondered what booze it was that you were drinking straight outta the bottle in that photo. It looks to me like it might have been a bottle of Brandy or Cognac. Courvoisier maybe? Can you remember? I’m just curious... and have been for decades.

Love yer music, sir. Thanks for the many hours of musical enjoyment your records have given me.

~ Stephen T. "Lonesome Dogg" McCarthy

After months and months of waiting, I finally did receive an answer directly from Nils Lofgren on December 7, 2009. Here’s what he had to say:

Dear Stephen,
It's a bottle of Grand Marnier I'm drinking from on the "Fat Man" album cover. The great photographer Ed Caraeff (not sure of spelling) was expecting me at his Hollywood hills home for an early, 10 AM photo shoot. Although I have always respected and liked Ed, I'm not a fan of photo shoots so I brought along the bottle of Grand Marnier for medicinal purposes. We had no specific plan but when I showed up in that outfit, the colors brought to mind his antique circus canvas in his backyard and we went from there, getting what we felt was a memorable cover shot. Hope this helps.

best - Nils

In case you were wondering, Nils did indeed spell the photographer’s name correctly. And I’d like to add that his punctuation is quite good for a guy who dropped out of high school to join the Rock ‘N’ Roll Carnival. I replied to his answer with this:

Dear Mr. Lofgren ~
I thank you most sincerely for replying to my question. Yes, it took awhile before your answer came, but I can imagine how busy an artist such as yourself must be. The answer, however, WAS VERY MUCH WORTH THE WAIT! So, again, my sincere gratitude for the response. I have been a fan of your music since my teenage years, and have enjoyed both the solo material and the earlier Grin music.

Also, in closing, I want to tell you that in all truthfulness, I think that "Fat Man" cover (as you referred to it) is unquestionably the greatest Rock 'N' Roll album cover ever produced! Sometimes spontaneous creativity produces magic, eh? And by the way, I understand about "medicinal purposes" perfectly well. Been there, done that . . . more than once. ;o)

Thanks for sharing your God-given gifts with us, and I wish you continued success in your music career. …

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

Nils was drinking Grand Marnier for “medicinal purposes”? Hokey-Smoke! When it came to “hair of the dog” hangover remedies, the boys and I had to be content with the cheapest, lowest kinds of bad beer, like Schaefer (“The Schaefer Club”), or maybe occasionally a Bloody Mary at Jolly Jacks, or one of those ninety-nine cent Margaritas at Azteca Mexican restaurant (“The 99 Cent Club”). Grand Marnier for medicinal purposes? Now THAT’S living!

Ahhh, yes, Grand Marnier – the most diabolically dangerous alcoholic concoction ever concocted. A liqueur of 80 proof (for my teetotalling readers, that means it has a 40% alcohol content). It’s made in France of Cognac and the essence of wild, tropical oranges. Pour it over ice and it quickly chills to a mellowed perfection. And then you sip it slowly, savoring the sweet, unearthly, oxymoronic chilled warm glow that slips over your tongue and slides softly down your throat, caressing your mind, body and spirit. It’s like drinking liquid sunshine, all golden warm and happily chilled. But Grand Marnier on ice is so damned delicious that it’s inevitable you will forget that this is 80 proof stuffs you’re drinking . . .

. . . and then comes the moment when you realize that the documentary you’ve been watching on television isn’t making any sense to you at all, and you feel all warm, joyful, and sleepy, and you decide it’s time to go to bed. But you can’t go there because you can’t stand up. It takes you literally fifteen minutes to get upright and walk 40 feet to your bed because for every three steps you take forward you take two steps in reverse or to one side or the other. And we won’t even discuss the unhappiness that’s going to be in your head come tomorrow morning.

Uhm . . . not that I’m speaking here from firsthand experience or anything like that. I’m merely speculating on what I imagine Grand Marnier has the potential to do to a person who unwittingly drinks too much of that pure, delicious nectar of evil.

The BAD NEWS about Grand Marnier is that it was inspired by the devil with the intent of entrapping and stealing souls. It is a diabolically-devised delicious adult drink; only the devil could come up with something equally perfect and detrimental. So good it’s bad! The GOOD NEWS about Grand Mariner is that only Rock stars can afford it. Otherwise we’d all go to hell.

[Grand Marnier: Devil’s Drink;
Photo by Stephen T. McCarthy]

Well, now that we’ve discussed Rock music’s greatest song and its greatest album cover, let me suggest that y’all visit Norman Greenbaum’s website. His ‘Fan’s Drool’ section, where he responds to dumb questions and statements from his fans is really a hoot. I kid you not, this guy is AT LEAST as much a Mensa-donkey as I am. Very funny stuffs!

Ukulelely Yours,

~ Stephen T. McCarthy



Norman’s ‘Fan’s Drool’

The American Dream: To Run Away From Home & Join The Rock 'N' Roll Carnival [Photo Gallery]

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


We interrupt this Boozy Rock ‘N’ Roll Blog to bring you this special announcement:

I wish to take just a moment to thank all of my friends for their replies to my request for feedback and criticism of my short story ‘The Legend Of Cordes Junction (Version #1)’ – the response has been overwhelmingly underwhelming. I couldn’t have imagined your impressive outpouring of total disregard. As I wrote to one of my friends the other day:

I really and truly and honestly wanted to learn what was wrong with that story – why it didn’t appeal to anyone. If there was some consensus on the problem, I would have known how to correct it, or at least how to avoid it if I ever write another short story. I’m not angry or anything like that, but just a little surprised and disappointed that no one bothered to respond to my request.

I suppose I should point out that I did receive some input from Arlee Bird (after I threatened to sic my 350 pound dog with the cat-o’-nine-tails on him), and so he is hereby exonerated. As for the rest of you . . . Phooey!

I’ll bet y’all were counting on inheriting my 250,000 cases of fine Irish whiskey shortly after my liver finally explodes and kills me, weren’t ya? Well, guess what! Fuhgeddaboutit! Y’all have been written out of my will. Instead, I have decided to bequeath the Irish elixir to the Hardrock Orphanage. (It’ll help take the minds of those po’ kids off-a their troubles.)

And the next time you plead with me to fuhgeddabout the fact that you once stupidly voted for George W. Bush . . . well, you can fuhgeddabout THAT, too! ‘Cause I promise ya I’m gonna remembuhboudit and I’m gonna throw it back in yer face!

So, my friends, to put it all in a nutshell: THANKS FOR NUTTIN’!
[*Father, forgive them, for they know not what they not do.]

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Boozy Rock ‘N’ Roll Blog . . .

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010



So, just sitting here in the "Authentic Vintage 1959 Original"
T-shirt that my sister Bonehead gave me for my 50th birthday last year, and the word "vintage" makes me think of wine, and wine makes me think of this list of 80 Proof Tunes 4 Boozin' 2 that I put together two years ago at a Big Bitchy website that shall remain nameless. And then I thinks to myself: Bring it 2 your Blog, Retard. (Yeah, I don't always speak 2 myself with the utmost respect.) So, that's what I've done below.

[From the STMcC archive; 2008, February 27th.]




It’s been rumored that I took a drink once. This is, of course, untrue and I categorically deny it. I never took A drink ONCE! I am, however, pleased to report that – although I tend to joke about them – my Debilitating Drinking Daze are well behind me. But those battles with bottles were legendary and of epic proportions. (Did I ever tell ya the one about how the sun rose over the city of Los Angeles and found me hanging on the crossbar in the middle of the letter “H” of the “Hollywood” sign with a bottle of whiskey in my fist? Never did figure out how I got up there!)

While I DO NOT recommend that anyone follow in my staggering footsteps, I thought it might be fun to revisit the music I got Liquidated to in my misspent youth. And I’m not referring to Party Music here - one can party to almost anything because you ain’t hearing it much anyhow; it’s just background sounds to mingle and break up fights to. No, I’m talkin’ about music you wanna hear while bonding with a manly drinking buddy or two, or while engaging in solitary reflection – just the bottle and you and an album or two.

What makes a good drinking soundtrack? Well, for one thing, I believe we need lyrics (something for the mind to chew on while the lips suck on the bottle), so although Jazz is my favorite music genre, I think Rock, Blues, and “Classic” Country have better tunes 4 boozin’ 2. Forget The Grateful Dead – that’s music for a doobie, Brothers. Pink Floyd? Nah, save it for the next time you drop acid. We want something a shade raw and earthy, maybe a bit quirky, and humor is always welcome. The Who? Too loud – you wanna be able to hear your drinking buddy and/or your own thoughts. Simon & Garfunkel? I liked 'em, but they're too prissy and meticulously arranged for drinkin' purposes. Nils Lofgren? Ah, this porridge is just right!

by Nils Lofgren

If you’re a teacher of love
Then I just dropped out of school
This ain’t no concert for me
I’m still auditioning you
If I say it, it’s so
If I say it, it’s so”

Back in the day, I drank like a demon and played the hell out of this album! It’s lean and muscular, punchy and punky! Short, catchy songs stripped down to just guitar, bass, drums and a dose of piano - this is one of the best pure Rock 'N' Roll records of the '70s. Bonus: It features Rock music's greatest album cover! IF I SAY IT, IT'S SO!

EXCEDRIN Extra Strength Pain Reliever (Family Size)

Excedrin: Don't leave sobriety without it!

Although I no longer own all of the collections below (as I said, my serious Boozin' Daze be done and Jazz iz my main gig now), following is a list of albums certifiably suitable for boozing to – personally battle-tested by me just for you . . .

by The Babys

At home on the Boulevard
Cheap whiskey and tarot cards
Man, she's outrageous!

The Babys + Redondo Beach, California +
Southern Comfort + Coca-Cola = Hangover Potion #9.

Do you remember that night when we--
Oh, wait a minute. You weren't there.
Neither was I.

by Walter Egan

Return with me to when times were best
We were friends that could pass any test

We're still in my early Southern Comfort & Coca-Cola daze here. My artistic friend Eric (who looked a bit like Tom Petty) and I would park, drink SC & CC while listening to our boy Walter, and then we'd stumble into Westwood Village (UCLA’s night spot) to pick up girls. Being stronger and more athletic, I always managed to pick up more chicks than Eric did.

by David Lindley

I lit up my pipe, we sat by the fire
It was there by the embers I had no desire
To go back to the bar and drink some 'Old Crow'
I left on my smoking jacket, she took off my romeos

This is mostly upbeat music for the happy drunk inside you. I recall hearing 'Mercury Blues' on the radio one day in the alley behind The Pigwalk - The League Of Soul Crusaders’ first hangout. We’d later take up residence at the Bay Street house, which would become the wildest spot West of the Atlantic and East of the Pacific. Yes, I'm now ashamed of myself. (But not really though, huh?)

by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Speedball rang the night clerk
Said, "Send me up a drink."
The night clerk said, "It's Sunday, man.
Wait a minute, let me think…
There's a little place outside of town
That might still have some wine."

Speedball said, "Forget it. Can I have an outside line?"

824 Bay Street in Santa Monica, California: Party Central for THE LEAGUE OF SOUL CRUSADERS (1981-1983). May the street Rest In Peace.

I was painting the house in preparation for our invasion when I heard 'A Woman In Love' on the radio. It was probably the first time this house Rocked and Rolled. There would be more... Oh, MUCH more!

by Bruce Springsteen

Oh, you don't know what they can do to you
Spirits in the night (all night), in the night (all night)
Stand right up now and let them shoot through you

As I recall, this is the music Dean and I were listening to the night we drove around town throwing firecrackers at pimps on Hollywood Boulevard. The Wild, The Innocent, And The Bay Street Shuffle. You could have gone to Africa and Australia and not seen anything as wild as The League Of Soul Crusaders were!

by Van Morrison

You're gonna be out on the road
Out on the back streets, man
Out on the highway
And the colors are gonna run
All of a sudden, don't ya feel sick?
The next gig - you gotta make it
And I said, "Yeah, I feel sick."

These songs were the soundtrack to the road trip Pooh and I took on old Route 66. I’ll never remember that night in Laughlin, nor forget the Morning After, sitting in the dust with a Bloody Mary in a Styrofoam cup, staring at a decrepit fountain and dwelling on that line from 'The Back Room': “Yeah, I feel sick.” No, it wasn’t just a nightmare ‘cause I got pitchurs! Wanna see 'em?

by Robert Johnson

Now, there ain't but the one thing
Makes Mister Johnson drink
I’s worried ‘bout how you treat me, baby
I begin to think
Oh babe, my life don't feel the same
You breaks my heart
When you call me Mr-So-and-So's name

I taught the boys the words to Robert Johnson's 'Love In Vain'
An’ we sang it when we’s feelin’ no pain . . .
Which was most of the time.
As Pooh once famously said:
We drank.
We drank a lot.
We drank more than we did not.

by Jim Croce

So baby, don’t expect to see me with no double martini
In any high-brow society news

'Cause I got them steadily depressin’ low-down mind messin’
'Workin At The Car Wash' Blues

You didn't mess around with Jim, but sadly, this truly tremendous talent left us much, much too soon.

by Dire Straits

And my conductress on the number nineteen
She was a honey
Pink toenails and hands all dirty with money
Greasy hair, easy smile
Made me feel nineteen for a while

When the bars closed, the League Of Soul Crusaders was in dire straits! As Tom Waits sang on 'Bad Liver And A Broken Heart': “I don’t have a drinking problem ‘cept when I can’t get a drink.”

by Van Morrison

If I ventured in the slipstream
Between the viaducts of your dream
Where immobile steel rims crack
And the ditch in the back roads stop
Could you find me?
Would you kiss-a my eyes?
To lay me down
In silence easy
To be born again
To be born again

Moody, mystical, emotionally raw and soul-deep. Alone, I got quietly Liquidated to this album on 101 nights (no, not in a row!) Almost assuredly the ultimate “Just Me ‘N’ My Bottle” recording. [*Don’t forget to tape a note to your door first that reads, “Go away! Soul-searching in progress.”]

by Rickie Lee Jones

Keep a third eye watching behind you
You never know when you’re making a memory
They will wish they were here together again, someday

In my opinion, this was one of the most fully realized, self-assured debut albums of all time. Rickie burst onto the scene with so much aplomb and bravado. Unfortunately, she began at the apex and had nowhere else to go from there. The variety of sonic moods and Rickie’s lack of inhibition makes this a drinker’s classic.

by Rickie Lee Jones

If they give us any flack
If they come up on our ass
We’ll just give ‘em the go-by
The Cadillac pass

Women drove me to drink and I always paid the price. I ponied up for gas, too! (I spent a lot of time alone with Rickie Lee Jones, but I think it was better for me than it was for her.)

by Randy Newman

Look at that bum over there, man,
He's down on his knees

[I call that “Falling down liquored up.”]

Pooh and I liked listening to this one, and when I’d start singing 'I'm Different', he’d say, “Of course you are! You’re relatively sober for the first time in four years.” I didn’t stay DIFFERENT for long, however.

by Bob Seger

She left me here stranded like a dog out in the yard
Charged up a fortune on my credit card
She used my address and my name
Man, that was sure unkind
Sunspot Baby
She sure has a real good time

It’s got a good beat and you can drink to it. But please remember: If you're going to drink, do so responsibly. Also, don't bring it to class unless you've brought enough for everyone, and brought apple wine for teacher.

Once upon a time there was a nightclub right on the Pacific Coast Highway north of Santa Monica where we sure had a real good time. It was called 'The Sunspot', baby.

Lady Liquor:
I abused her, she abused me
But neither one cared
We were getting our share

by The Doors

Woke up this morning and I got myself a beer
The future’s uncertain and the end is always near

Heck, that’s as good an excuse as any for getting loaded at the crack of dawn.

by The Doors

Drivin' down your freeways
Midnight alleys roam
Cops in cars, the topless bars
Never saw a woman
So alone, so alone

Look man, if Jim Morrison could get falling DOWN liquored UP while recording this music, you sure as hell can do the same thing while listening to it!

by Neil Young

Sure enough
They'll be sellin' stuff(s)
When the moon begins to rise
Pretty bad when
You're dealin' with the man
And the light shines in your eyes

I recall an old interview in which ol’ Neil said he and the band had been leaning on the ol’ cactus quite a bit during the making of this record. Funny, it sounded pretty straight to me. But then maybe that’s because I was leaning on the ol’ cactus while listening to it.

by Dexy's Midnight Runners

These people ‘round here wear beaten down eyes
Sunk in, smoke-dried faces
They're so resigned to what their fate is

But not us, no not us,
We are far too young and clever

I can’t hear 'Come On, Eileen' without remembering we Soul Crusaders watching the MTV video and boozin’ it up. We drank like Irishmen to this stuffs, time and time again. (Pssst. Real Irishmen don’t drink green beer!)

by Laura Nyro

Surry down to a stoned soul picnic.
There'll be lots of time and wine.
Red, yellow, honey, sassafras and moonshine

Glenn - the Black former Chicago cop who lived next door to us on Bay Street - used to leave his wife and come over to drink with the Soul Crusaders. He’d take off my Blues records and play his Laura Nyro LPs. Sometimes I had to almost carry him home and pour him into his house. Then his mistress, Laura Nyro, slept with me. Ha!

by Laura Nyro

Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby
Ain't nothin' like the real thing

Well, according to Glenn, Laura Nyro was definitely the real thing.

by Warren Zevon

I was sitting in the Hollywood Hawaiian Hotel
I was staring in my empty coffee cup
I was thinking that the gypsy wasn't lyin'
All the salty margaritas in Los Angeles
I'm gonna drink 'em up

Metropolitan vampires, some cultured and some uncouth, prowl the Los Angeles streets at night seeking blood...
or an El Coyote margarita.

by Warren Zevon

I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a pina colada at Trader Vic's
And his hair was perfect
Werewolves of London
Draw blood

'Werewolves Of London' is one of a handful of absolutely perfect drinking songs. Anybody who digs Warren's stuffs is a real sicko. I dig 'em a lot.

by Bob Dylan

Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
Try hard, get barred
Get back, write braille
Get jailed, jump bail
Join the army if you fail

Man, you gotta down a lot of 80 Proof to understand Bob, but it can be done.

by Bob Dylan

We drove that car as far as we could
Abandoned it out West
Split up on a dark sad night
Both agreeing it was best

This is the one you wanna play when alone and in the mood to reminisce about those girls you loved and lost. But look, Brother, if the wound is still fresh and the heart is still bleeding a bit, avoid this one. Otherwise you will end up slitting your wrists, and that would be a real shame to spill your own blood while there’s still so much alcohol mixed in it. "REAL MEN" DON’T SPILL THEIR BOOZE!

by Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf

I been drinkin' gin like never before
I feel so good, I want you to know
One more drink, I wish you would
It takes a whole lotta lovin' to make me feel good
'Cause I'm ready, ready as anybody can be
Now I'm ready for you, I hope you're ready for me
~ Muddy

Yes, they call me The Rocker

I can rock you all night long
Yes, they call me The Rocker
I can rock you all night long
I can let you down easy
When I think your money's gone
~ Wolf

Oh sure, there are other individual Muddy and Wolf records that I would recommend to the Blues purists, but if you wanna hear both of ‘em rockin’ in the time it takes to drink a 6-pack, crank up MUDDY AND THE WOLF. And remember what I always said: “If you’re only going to have one beer, you might as well make it six Mickey’s" [Big Mouths].

by George Thorogood

So, I stop in the local bar, you know, people
I go to the bar, I ring my coat, I call the bartender
Said, "Look man, come down here.”
He got down there, said, "What you want?"

"I want one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer."

ONE BOURBON, ONE SCOTCH, AND ONE BEER. That’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and a breath mint for the road. (I’m just kidding. Don’t drink and drive, fool! The life you save might be mine!)

by George Thorogood

I met a German girl in England
Who was going to school in France
Said we'd get to Mississippi
At an Alpha Kappa dance

If that isn’t clear to you, then you need another drink. [Someone pour this poor sober sumb#tch a Gin & Tonic!]

by Eddie Money

My memories are happy
And my memories are sad
But I love to take my pictures out
And check the things I had

My friends, my friends
We never got together again but
I really do miss my friends

This one was released in 1982, the height of The Bay Street Days. By coincidence the video for the song “Shakin’” featured Rae’s Diner, a regular League Of Soul Crusaders destination for B.C. (“Breakfast Club”).

by The J. Geils Band

You love her, but she loves him,
And he loves somebody else;
You just can't win.
And so it goes ‘til the day you die;
This thing they call love,
It's gonna make you cry

I've had the blues, the reds and the pinks;
One thing for sure

Ha! Heck yeah, I’ll drink to THAT!

by Waylon Jennings

I've always been different with one foot over the line
Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind
It ain't been so easy but I guess I shouldn't complain
I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane

In his autobiography, Waylon writes of playing at Matt’s Saloon on Whiskey Row in Prescott, Arizona: “It was so crowded in that little bar, you weren’t able to start a fight because you couldn’t draw your hand back.”

Reminds me of “THE TERRIBLE NIGHT” when brother Napoleon and I nearly had a row on The Row with Gunther while drinking our way down that infamous Prescott street. Terrible! ;o)


Night fever, night fever
Ethel knows how to do it!

Ha! Just wanted to see if you had passed out or simply weren’t paying attention. Yeah, alright, you’re OK. Continue . . .

by The Stray Cats

Well, we found a little place that really didn't look half bad
I'll have a whiskey on the rocks and change of a dollar for the jukebox
Well, I put a quarter right into that can, but all it played was disco, man
C'mon, pretty baby, let's get outta here right away

I was a regular at Scott’s Tomcat Lounge. I’d wander in after work and call from the door, “Beam me up, Scotty!” and by the time I reached the place at the bar reserved just for me, there would be a glass of Jim Beam on the rocks waiting for STMcC. Yeah, I used to cat around with all the other strays there.

by Hank Williams Jr.

And I think I know what my father meant
When he sang about a Lost Highway
And old George Jones, I'm glad to see
He's finally getting straight

And Waylon’s staying home
And loving Jessi more these days

And nobody wants to get drunk and get loud
And all my rowdy friends have settled down

Aww! Say it ain’t so!
Yeah, it’s so. Even The League Of Soul Crusaders settled down.

As the bumper sticker says:
“If you ain’t a cowboy, you ain’t sh#t!”
Ha! Love it.

I saw Bocephus play the Greek Theatre in L.A. once. I think he was drunk. Or maybe that was just the superpotent El Coyote margaritas in me - 'cause to be perfectly honest - I thought EVERYONE (except me) was drunk that night. [If 'The Ballad Of Hank Williams' doesn't make you laugh, then you are in "serious" need of a sense of humor!]

by Olivia Newton-John

Whoa, baby, how I love you
Mad as I think you are
Guess you think I’m crazy, too
But mad, mad me, I love you

Mad women were forever plying me with liquor until I was insensibly intoxicated, then while I was in that incapacitated condition - unable to defend myself - they would chew my clothes off and have their way with me unmercifully. Damn, it’s a wonder I cut back on my drinking!
By Maria Muldaur

Now, the doctor came in stinking of gin
And proceeded to lie on the table
He said, “Rocky, you’ve met your match.”
And Rocky said, “Doc, it's only a scratch
And I'll be better, I'll be better, Doc,
As soon as I am able.”

Side Two of The Beatles’ WHITE ALBUM was unequivocally the Soul Crusaders’ music of choice for those nasty Mornings After. We’d crank up 'Martha, My Dear' and have some Hair Of The Dog that bit us, and by the time the needle was tracking 'Julia' we were already well on our way to the next hangover. That’s two in a row and counting...


by The Beatles

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whisky all night long
And die behind the wheel

They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama ‘The Crimson Tide’
Call me ‘Deacon Blues’

Don’t worry, it’s alright, the Dan’s quirkiness more than compensates for all of the stellar musicianship. Put it on and “drink scotch whisky all night long” until you’re “reeling in the room.” (But please don’t “die behind the wheel." I mean, no reason to take this too far. Sheesh! It's just a song!)

by Z Z TOP


Yeah, so what else ya need to know, you beer-drinkers and hell raisers you?

by The Cars

I like the nightlife, baby.

The Cars were too wimpy for my tastes, but Twinkie liked boozin’ to this one, so, what the hey. Speaking of CARS, remember the time Torch, behind the wheel of his ’64 Cadillac, passed Cranium’s Camaro in the emergency lane of the Pacific Coast Highway at 90 miles an hour with the guardrail just inches away? We Soul Crusaders were fearless (read: "stupid").

by Tom Waits

Well, I'm walking on down Virginia Avenue
Trying to find somebody to tell my troubles to
Harold's club is closing and everybody's going on home
What's a poor boy to do?

VIRGINIA is the main street that runs through downtown Reno. Waits mentions “Harold’s Club”, where I had a 'Seven And Seven' to no avail on that Morning After in ’86. My all-time worst hangover! I spent all day and night in bed, staring at the ceiling while Pooh went to the Bucket Of Blood Saloon without me. For me, it was Rock Bottom On The Rocks.

by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Baby, even the losers get lucky sometimes
Even the losers keep a little bit of pride

Back then it was “DAMN THE TORPEDOES!” Now it’s “Damn the grey hair on my head, the arthritis in my joints, and the lemonade in my glass!” (But make no mistake about it: I was a YOUNG drinkin' man once upon a time, and the proof was in the proof!)

by Tom Waits

Smellin’ like a brewery
Lookin’ like a tramp
Ain’t got a quarter
Got a postage stamp

Man, if you can’t drink to Tom Waits then you just can’t drink. Grab yerself a sody pop, stand aside and try not to hurt yerself, rookie.

On July 25, 1988, the house on Bay Street was bulldozed to make way for the condominium that now stands there. We threw one last reunion party and the entire gang showed up. I made some special music tapes for the occasion which included 'Step Right Up' and 'Pasties And A G-String'. We drank a bit, had some fun, and an era came to an end... just like this List has.

Below are four additional albums that I discovered either too early or too late to do any "real" drinking along with them. Nevertheless, I can state with certainty that these discs contain 80 Proof Tunes 4 Boozin' 2:

by Todd Snider

Did you know that there are people who put us down
For no other reason than the simple fact that we get around?

My Generation,
Part two,
Book three,
Verse four,
Jackson Five,
Nikki Sixx

Along with "Rickie Lee Jones" and "God Bless Tiny Tim", Todd Snider's first album ranks as one of the three finest debut shots out of the chute! My buddy The Great L.C. turned me on to it just last year. Excellent stuffs. Todd has a great sense of humor - you can drink to it. As he says on a later recording about trailer park trash: "Take me home, boys; I think I'm drunk."

by Starbuck

Well, I’m underpaid and underslept; ain’t nothin’ new
The ocean calls my name in twenty shades of blue
I need a cold mojito; gotta get away from where I’m at
I can flat do that

Well, I’m lookin’ good and smilin’ big; I got it made
Just wait until the evening sun pulls down its shade
A long tall senorita makin’ a margarita just for me

For all intents and purposes, I discovered Starbuck the night I graduated from high school in 1977. I was standing on that thin invisible line dividing childhood and adulthood. It's a line that's about 15 hours wide.

by The Texas Tornados

Hey, baby, que paso?
No que yo era tu vato?
Hey, baby, que paso?
No me dejes de ese modo

My brother Nappy turned me on to this album maybe ten years ago - long after my serious drinking daze had expired. Thankfully this recording didn't exist in the '70s or the '80s because it would have dangerously increased my cactus consumption. Some of these songs are ridiculously catchy, even in Spanish! I don't know what they're singin' but I sing along in broken Spanglish.

by Louis Prima (w/ Keely Smith; Sam Butera & The Witnesses)

You shouldn't have gone to the airport!

Hey, how 'bout that? I was able to find a truly classic drinking album in the Jazz genre. Two Prima albums on one compact disc. I heard both of the LPs on a regular basis when I was just a little boy because my Pa owned them and played them often. This wild and crazy collection could stack up against anything else on this list when it comes to Music For Your Drinking Pleasure. But please listen responsibly.

And always remember . . . if you're only going to have one beer, you might as well make it six Mickey's.

Ukulelely Yours,

~ Stephen T. [*hick!*] McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome, however, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). Besides, I "sort of do debate martial arts", so there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In other words, don't make me have to come over there - I'm just too tired. Play nice.