FMF Episode #17 – Bourbon / Whiskey

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DJ:  Hello and welcome to another glorious episode of Feel Me Flow!  Today is National Bourbon Day here in the States, so we’re going to turn this Wednesday into a bit of a Saturday night!  We’re celebrating all kinds of pours of whiskey, or whisky, including bourbon, moonshine or white lightnin’, and any other kinds of magic potion based on oak barrel booze.

It’s fitting that the US holds a National Bourbon Day, as it’s a spirit that was invented here.  We haven’t been able to pinpoint exactly who invented bourbon, but the most famous legends refer to Elijah Craig as the man behind the medicine.  He’s credited with introducing the aging of whiskey in charred oak casks, a process that gives the bourbon its reddish color and unique taste.  To qualify as bourbon, the mash bill of a spirit requires a minimum of 51% corn, with the rest being ryewheatmalted barley, singly or in any combination.  In honor of Mr. Craig, or whoever’s creation this fine brown sauce is, we’ll be playing an amalgam of bourbon songs, whiskey songs, booze songs, and just general drinking songs.  By the way, we tried to avoid other liquors as we will have other shows for beer, wine, and whatever else!

Leading the show is Flogging Molly doing “Swagger” from their Drunken Lullabies LP. While not totally instrumental, the song is a great kick-off to our bourbon bash.  Starting set one will be Minneapolis rowdy punks Dillinger Four with “Doublewhiskeycokenoice”; a drink I’ve more than once ordered in an effort to sound cool. Some people feel that Billie Joe Armstrong and Green Day ripped off the intro to this next tune for his own “American Idiot”.  Judge for yourself in this clip.

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DJ:  Guttermouth signed to Nitro Records in the mid-90s and fit in perfectly with the rest of the lineup.  Crunchy punky guitars mixed with an attitude that The Offspring and AFI would exemplify so well; sounds like Nitro.  A music video was actually shot for Guttermouth’s “Whiskey” from their Teri Yakimoto album and the LP made it onto the Billboard Heatseakers chart; their only one to do so.

Before Guttermouth, we played another Minneapolis band, Howler.  After the band broke up in 2017, lead singer Jordan Gatesmith went on to form Wellness.  Wellness has the sneer and attitude of Howler but hasn’t quite hit the energy levels of the band.  We’re looking forward to hearing more from Jordan!

Philly-based piano rock band Low Cut Connie are reported to put on one hell of a live show, both raucous and wild.  Frontman Adam Weiner named his piano “Shondra” after a dancer at the Clermont Lounge in Atlanta.  We played “Boozophilia” from their 2012 effort Call Me Sylvia.  

The Who came roaring by with the John Entwistle jam “Whiskey Man” from 1966’s A Quick One.  Entwistle would pen a few tracks on the album, including his most known song “Boris The Spider”.  The LP cover shows the words “whiskey man” emerging from John’s guitar in the form of an onomatopoeia.

And now, a band who broke up and told the whole world they were breaking up and held a goodbye concert and everything, only to come back just 4 years later with a new full-length album.  Regardless, James Murphy can do no wrong in my book.  Here’s LCD Soundsystem with “Drunk Girls”.

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DJ:  Ted Hawkins spent his life in trouble.  Whether it be in trouble with the law, in trouble with drugs, money troubles, or losing a spouse trouble; the man had troubles.  Ted would spend most of his music career busking in Venice Beach, CA.  We played “Sorry You’re Sick” from his debut 1982 album Watch Your Step, although many tracks were recorded prior to that year.

Before the Bee Gees got all disco-soaked, they released some decent music in the 60s. With 1968’s Idea, the band would find international success with hits “I Started A Joke” and “I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You“, although we decided to feature a deeper track from the LP.  “Indian Gin And Whisky Dry” comes from the album as well, and sounds more like a functioning rock band tune rather than a vocal group with backing members.

The Gits were always incorrectly bundled up with the Olympia, WA riot grrl movement of the early 90s, though their ideals weren’t all that different.  Lead singer Mia Zapata was tragically and horrifically forced into the 27 club in July 1993 when she was brutally raped and murdered.  The case went unsolved for over a decade until DNA sampled were matched with her killer after he was arrested in Florida for burglary.  Just terrible.  From their only LP released while Mia was alive, Frenching The Bully, we heard “Another Shot of Whiskey”.

Dance Hall Crashers were actually formed by Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman after the breakup of Operation Ivy.  The two were looking for a more rocksteady sound than the punky Op Ivy, but soon abandoned DHC for what would become Rancid.  DHC reformed with an almost entirely new lineup and new singer Karina Deniké to record four full length LPs throughout the 90s and early 2000s.  From their third album, Honey, I’m Homely, we heard “Whisky & Gin”.

Let’s jump back to 1969 with a little-known psych band from London, The Open Mind. Their one and only LP fetches over $1000 online, as well as the original pressing of this single.  Acme and Sunbeam Records have repressed the album, though, bringing the experience of a vinyl listen down significantly.  Still, what a score!  Here’s “Magic Potion”.

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DJ:  There was some punk rock sandwiched between garage rock for our third set.  The Pretty Things capped off the last of the set with “Get A Buzz” from their 1965 sophomore album Get The Picture?.  The Pretty Things put out a short movie about themselves featuring live footage and a pseudo-music video for “Can’t Stand The Pain” before the release of Get The Picture?.  The band never officially broke up, releasing music all the way up to 2015 with their twelfth album The Sweet Pretty Things (Are in Bed Now, of Course…).  

In the middle of the set, we played a triple threat of pop-punk/punk rock.  First off, we had FIDLAR yell at us about sobering up with “Sober”.  Out of all of FIDLAR’s catalog, we had about a 20% chance to find a song that was about alcohol of some form, so we went with the sober choice.  Fromm 2015’s Too, that was “Sober”.

Next, a reformed Blink-182 featuring Matt Skiba from Alkaline Trio gave us another “Sober”.  The track comes from their 2016 reunion LP California.  Even though founding member Tom Delonge refused to reunite with the band, their replacement in Matt Skiba proved to pay off well.  The sound of the new album brought long-time fans back to some older sounds while still maintaining a fresh buzz.

NOFX wrapped up the punk block with their ode to “Bob”.  I always imagined that the song was an homage to Bob Stinson from The Replacements, who died in 1995.  Bob was a notorious party guy, and a heavy drinker to boot.  I’ve also heard the song was about NOFX drummer Smelly, but his real name is Erik so I’m not quite sure.  “Bob” comes from NOFX’s fourth album 1992’s White Trash, Two Heebs And A Bean.  

Let’s jump into Set 4 and hear some scores!  We featured New Zealand’s Scared Of Girls on one of our first shows before the Set 4 Score was started.  It’s time to get them their own S4S slot, so here’s Scared of Girls doing “Alcohol”.

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DJ:  John Lee Hooker was an absolute blues legend, no questions asked.  Taking the Delta blues sound and plugging it into an amp, the man would eventually give us blues staples like “Boom Boom” and “Dimples”.  Covered by every blues rock artist imaginable, John would also team up with Canned Heat in 1971 to do Hooker ‘N Heat.  They reworked an old track of John’s on Hooker ‘N Heat called “Whiskey And Wimmen”, but we played the original 1960 Vee-Jay version.

Tom Waits took plenty of cues from old blues singers, right down to having a gravelly voice.  1985’s Rain Dogs is generally considered the middle effort in a trilogy of albums by Tom; the other two being 1983’s Swordfishtrombones and 1987’s Frank’s Wild Years. “Jockey Full Of Bourbon” would be released as the first single from the album, and would go on to be covered by a bunch of different artists, including Rancid’s Tim Armstrong for his Tim Timebomb series.

Speaking of the Bay Area, San Francisco’s Acid Ghost rang in the middle of our set with “Drunk Again” from 2015’s I Want To Hide My Face & Die.  Acid Ghost released Warhol in September of last year and toured in support of it.  We love the sound the band has been putting out, keep it up Ace and Mikey!

Another California band, Viza, played us a cover of an old Bertolt Brecht poem called “Alabama Song (Whisky Bar)”.  99% of us would know the song from The Doors’ self-titled debut, but it was actually written in 1925 and adapted for the play Little Mahagonny in 1927.  Viza has supported System Of A Down’s Serj Tankian on tour and is actually part of his management group.

Well, you can’t have a show about bourbon and not expect a few country songs. Let’s do a bit of a whiskey-country set starting with Ryan Adams and Whiskeytown doing “Drank Like A River”.

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DJ:  “My baby’s gone and I’m so alone” could be the theme to every country song ever written and it still wouldn’t get old.  Ernest Tubb cemented his place in country music when he recorded “Walking The Floor Over You” in 1941, helping Jimmie Rodgers push honky-tonk music into the forefront.  No stranger to booze, Tubb would be arrested in 1957 for walking into the National Life Building in Nashville to shoot producer Jim Denny.  He aimed at the wrong man, missed, and was arrested only to be charged with public drunkenness.  My how times have changed; I’d bet he would’ve been shot doing something like that these days.

Speaking of getting shot, Willie Nelson played us “Whiskey River” from 1973’s Shotgun Willie.  The title track was reportedly written after Willie was pacing his hotel room trying to get creative.  He sat on the toilet and penned the song on an empty envelope from a napkin.  The nickname “Shotgun Willie” comes from an altercation between his daughter Lana and her husband Steve Warren.  Willie threatened to kill Steve if he ever abused Lana again, leading Steve to drive to Willie’s house with a truck full of goons.  After a shootout between parties, Steve’s crew eventually backed down to “Shotgun Willie”.  All that pot and he could still whoop your ass.  Cheers to the red headed stranger!

A country classic from George Jones, “White Lightnin'”, played before Willie.  Written about moonshine, a clear type of corn whiskey, the song exemplifies the nickname given to the clear distillate made in Appalachia.

Portland Americana artists Blitzen Trapper chimed in with a track from their self-titled debut.  Tramping through indie rock, alt-country, folk rock, southern gothic, and a ton of other genres, the band mixes it up whenever they can.  Their 2008 LP Furr is one of the best albums of all time, and a must for anyone venturing into their twenties.

Back to that punk rock now, with Boston legends Dropkick Murphys. Their 1999 LP The Gang’s All Here would actually introduce new members of the band to the public as many had previous left.  Notably, this was lead singer Al Barr’s first LP with the band.  They gained popularity with the track “10 Years Of Service” and their bagpipe cover of “Amazing Grace”, but wouldn’t truly explode onto the scene until the following album, 2001’s Sing Loud, Sing Proud!.  Here’s “Blood And Whiskey”.

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DJ: John McCauley formed Deer Tick after a few years of writing and performing solo tracks.  Once a full band formed, they would go on to release five full-lengths (up to this point) and a few EPs.  After falling into a bit of a depressed, drug-fueled mess, John would climb out of things and get married to Vanessa Carlton, have a baby girl Sidney, and get his life back on track.  John would co-write a couple of tracks on Vanessa’s latest album Liberman.  We played “Let’s All Go To The Bar” from 2011’s Divine Providence.

Krautrockers Can supplied soundtracks to a few films in the late 60s, including the film Deadlock.  After providing the music, the band would compile them on their 1970 album Soundtracks, which we lifted the track “Tango Whiskyman” from.

Before Can, we played a dirty blues track by Bull Moose Jackson called “I Know Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well”.  The song was Bull Moose’s first lead recording and was an answer to his bandleader Lucky Millinder’s track “Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well”.  Bull Moose would make a decent career for himself as a solo artist, releasing songs like “Nosey Joe” and “Big Ten Inch Record”; the latter of which would go on to be recorded by Aerosmith.  The song was a huge innuendo, referring to ten-inch 78 records, a ten-inch harmonica, or whatever else you want to imagine.

Amos Milburn wrote the song we’re all instantly drawn to when the thought of bourbon arrives.  Originally titled “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer”, the song would be covered by blues legend John Lee Hooker in 1966 and renamed to “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”.  George Thorogood would cover it yet again in 1977, exposing a much larger audience to the song.  Amos had all kinds of songs about whiskey, including this one, “Good, Good Whiskey”, “Bad, Bad Whiskey”, and “Let Me Go Home, Whiskey”.  Amos seemed to be quite involved with whiskey.

Well, everyone, that’s gonna wrap up our National Bourbon Day episode.  Go order some whiskey and drown your sorrows, or celebrate the defeat of your foes! Join us next time on Feel Me Flow!

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3 thoughts on “FMF Episode #17 – Bourbon / Whiskey

  1. Hi FMF, glad you liked the Charlie Fish list. The whole list from the novel’s up now & I’m afraid I’ll not be updating the site for a bit – super busy. Will check out your lists & songs, all the best – Pete Davies

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