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The CHIRP Blog

Lady Amelia writesSláinte! Great Music to Pair With Your Whiskey

by Amelia Hruby

With St. Patrick's Day a week away and the remnants of the third snowiest February in Chicago history still on the sidewalks, we imbibing Chicagoans surely have whiskey on the brain. In honor of the upcoming holiday and the one time each year the Chicago River is as green as a bottle of Jameson, we've dug through our archives for our favorite songs about whiskey. There's a track here for your first shot, the height of the party and that nice little cry you might have after. Cheers!

Beck, "Whiskey Be Your Lover" from Don't Get Bent Out of Shape (1988)

Primitive Beck at his best. This track is off his first cassette and showcases Beck's early minimal-folk aesthetic with a twangy accordion thrown in for good measure. It sings like a ballad, so you'll be joining in with the chorus by the final verse: "Whiskey be your lover, but who's gonna be your man?"

Cat Power, "Moonshiner" from Moon Pix (1998)

This traditional folk song has been recorded by so many great artists, perhaps most famously by Bob Dylan. Cat Power's version from 1998's Moon Pix is my favorite and a special treat for all those whiskey-loving ladies out there. I highly suggest it for the quieter moments of whiskey drinking, great for sipping your favorite whiskey on the rocks and watching the snow fall.

The Doors, "Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)" from The Doors (1967)

This whiskey classic has a rather strange history. Originally written by Bertolt Brecht in 1925 for the German opera Mahagonny, it was set to music by Kurt Weill two years later, and seems to have been performed most famously in the US forty years later by The Doors (although Nina Simone has a great live version, as well). As campy as it is fun, I tend to put this one on somewhere between my first and third shots.

Big Bill Broonzy, "Whiskey and Good Time Blues" (c. 1935)

Any CHIRP list has to pay tribute to our own Chicago greats, and Big Bill Broonzy was a pioneer of the Chicago blues style in the 1930s and '40s. This track's about all the fun parts of whiskey drinking. Always great for a party.

Mandolin Orange, "Waltz About Whiskey" from This Side of Jordan (2013)

One of my favorite contemporary whiskey songs, this track is a beautiful duet on mandolin and guitar. It's made especially sweet when Emily Frantz lends her voice on the chorus. This one goes out to all you lovers and all those loves lost out there.

Elliott Smith, "Miss Misery" from XO (1998)

Perhaps the most famous opening lines in indie-rock history, Elliott Smith makes the list for his tribute to scotch (and the great song, of course): "I'll fake it through the day with some help from Johnny Walker Red."

Tex Ritter, "Rye Whiskey" (1948)

And finally, you can't have a list of whiskey songs without this classic. Raise your glasses and sing along: "It's a whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry. If I don't get rye whiskey, well, I think I will die."

What's your favorite whiskey song, CHIRP listeners?





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