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ELDER MUSIC: Drinking Songs 3

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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It's time to pull the cork on another bottle of wine, or if you're in Australia, time to unscrew the Stelvin cap. It comes as no surprise to me how many drinking songs there are - indeed, how many good ones.

As you can see from the title there have been two other columns previously and I'm far from exhausting this treasure trove of music. On with the motley.

FLANDERS AND SWANN were Michael Flanders and Donald Swann.

Flanders & Swann

Michael was an actor, singer and raconteur of the first order; Donald was a composer, pianist and songwriter and they formed a musical comedy team who where huge in the fifties and sixties. They were erudite, funny and entertaining. No one these days can match what they did. From one of their live albums we have Madeira M'Dear.

♫ Flanders & Swann - Madeira M'Dear

Within Australia, COLD CHISEL was far and away the most popular rock band ever. Internationally, AC-DC were a lot more successful.

Cold Chisel

It's the Chisels who have a song for us today called Cheap Wine, which was a successful single in Oz, from possibly their most successful album, "East".

♫ Cold Chisel - Cheap Wine

MATRACA BERG is best known, if she's known at all outside the world of music obsessives like me, as a songwriter.

Matraca Berg

However, she has several albums under her belt and what a fine singer she is. The song on the topic today is You and Tequila. Fellow obsessives, and others who are interested in good music, can find several terrific live versions on YouTube.

♫ Matraca Berg - You and Tequila

THE CHAMPS were an instrumental band who were big in the fifties.

The Champs

I'm sure that most of you will know their biggest hit, Tequila. Indeed I know that every one who has heard this tune can sing the lyrics.

♫ Champs - Tequila

There are quite a few versions of this next song. The one that I like best is by JERRY LEE LEWIS.

Jerry Lee Lewis

Jerry Lee laments that What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me).

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)

It's good to see that someone is advocating for moderation, at least to an extent. That person is JENNIFER SALISBURY with some help from JAMES MUSTAFA.

Jennifer Salisbury

Jen and James lead a big band, well, biggish: it's a seven piece. They call Melbourne home, and that's very sensible of them. They perform My Middle Name Is Moderation.

♫ Jennifer Salisbury - My Middle Name Is Moderation

It's probably no surprise that WILLIE NELSON is present today.

Willie Nelson

Willie, of course, has written songs about every topic under the sun and sung even more of those. He sings about Yesterday’s Wine. Some might object to that but I've found if it's really fine wine, it can be better the next day. I hope that's so for Willie.

♫ Willie Nelson - Yesterday's Wine

TRACY NELSON is not related to Willie, but they have performed together. Not today though.

Tracy Nelson

Tracy is a terrific blues singer and she can also hold her own performing country music as well. Today she's in blues mode when she asks What Good Can Drinking Do. Well, I can answer that but I won't.

♫ Tracy Nelson - What Good Can Drinking Do

It wouldn't be a true drinking column without GARY STEWART making an appearance.

Gary Stewart

Indeed I once thought of a whole column devoted to his drinking songs, but Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, said that that was just a bit too much Gazza. Especially one devoted to a single topic.

He was difficult to categorize which I think is a good thing: he was too rock & roll for country, too country for rock & roll, too honky tonk for both. He was the master of the lyin', cheatin', drinkin' song as will be demonstrated in She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles).

♫ Gary Stewart - She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)

Even this topic can have a moment of couth, and we'll end with it. LUDWIG BEETHOVEN was known to enjoy a drop. He also wrote music about that.


Ludwig set dozens, scores of songs from all over the British Isles to music. This is one from Ireland and I'm not going to make a joke of that considering the topic today.

The song he set to music is called Put Round the Bright Wine. The singer is DANIEL SCHREIBER.

Daniel Schreiber

♫ Beethoven - Put round the bright wine


Wonderful drinking songs for a Sunday morning! Jerry Lee Lewis, Willy Nelson, and others.
I loved them.

My now departed husband, Bud Foote, loved the song " Madeira M'Dear" He never missed a chance to sing it (with a very well-practiced lear) ... especially after a few beers.

Thank you for bringing back that memory. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my lips.

I will need to revisit your previous posts about drinking songs, but I one I dearly love to sing when deep in me cups is the Irish Rovers, "Drunken Sailor" - so fun to sing! (and my lovely Irish accent with a Texas accent)

And who can not love Chris Stapleton's version of "Tennessee Whiskey"

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