PRE-INTRO INTRO (Or, REAL EARLY STUFFS)
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.]
"I NEVER DRANK TO FORGET NOR FORGOT TO DRINK."
INTRO (Or, EARLY STUFFS)
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 . . .
THE BABYS / BROKEN HEART
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!
GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK, N.J.
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?
THE KING OF THE DELTA BLUES SINGERS; VOL. 2
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 a lot.
We drank more than we did not.
PHOTOGRAPHS & MEMORIES: HIS GREATEST HITS
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.”]
RICKIE LEE JONES
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.)
TROUBLE IN PARADISE
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
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.
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!
TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT
by Neil Young
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!)
ELI AND THE 13TH CONFESSION
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!
GONNA TAKE A MIRACLE
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.
A QUIET, NORMAL LIFE
by Warren Zevon
I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a pina colada at Trader Vic's
And his hair was perfect
Werewolves of London
'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.
BRINGING IT ALL BACK HOME
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.
BLOOD ON THE TRACKS
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!
MUDDY & THE WOLF
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
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
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].
GEORGE THOROGOOD AND THE DESTROYERS
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!)
MOVE IT ON OVER
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!
WAYLON'S GREATEST HITS
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)
THE ETHEL MERMAN DISCO ALBUM
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 . . .
BUILT FOR SPEED
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.
THE PRESSURE IS ON
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...
A DECADE OF STEELY DAN
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!)
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN'S GREATEST HITS
by Z Z TOP
A-HOWW, HOWW, HOWW, HOWW!
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.
DAMN THE TORPEDOES
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.
ADDENDUM (Or, BONUS TRACKS)
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:
SONGS FOR THE DAILY PLANET
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?
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."
THE OFFICIAL STARBUCK COMPACT DISC
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.
LOS TEXAS TORNADOS
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.
THE CALL OF THE WILDEST /
THE WILDEST SHOW AT TAHOE
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.
~ 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.