BoozeGrass – A David Chernack Playlist

Whether it’s rye whiskey, barroom beer, or that good old Mountain Dew, booze features heavily in bluegrass music. Although these songs usually don’t occur in such rapid succession—usually there’s some God-fearing gospel in there to water ‘em down—this list features drinking songs from Norman Blake, Peter Rowan, Gillian Welch, and more. Enjoy this playlist of boozegrass!

David Chernack

David Chernack is a fiddler, mandolinist, and guitarist from the Hudson Valley. Trained as a classical violist, David found out about bluegrass music in high school and despite his best efforts has been unable to kick the habit in adulthood. He picked up mandolin and guitar in college in Boston, where he studied environmental science and music. While not at his day job or pickin' 'grass, David also enjoys birdwatching and wrenching on cars.

One Response

  • Good theme David!

    Even well before bluegrass got borned, Uncle Dave Macon was recording all kinds of songs protesting the 18th Amendment, yes, Prohibition!!!!! Uncle Dave was plum wrathy about Prohibition!! He was prone to speaking introductions on his recordings, and they often were rants about Prohibition. One in particular went “The liquor business has got so bad a man has to buy enough to get drunk, just to have a drink!” since moonshiners sold their product by the GALLON, you see.

    Many a lament was for “good red liquor”, meaning quality brand name whiskey aged in an oak barrel. Notice the verse in Mountain Dew “if your liquor’s too red, it’ll swell up your head, better stick to that good ol’ mountain dew”. Mountain dew or moonshine never got old enough to age at all, let alone in a barrel. It was water-clear in appearance!

    Another of Uncle Dave’s spoken intros went: Now folks it will never do to be without hope. Why I thought I’d NEVER get another drink of good red liquor. But I was playing my banjo at a swell hotel, and this gentleman introduced himself to me and invited me to his room for a drink. Well I went up, and he got out a nice box, opened it up, pulled out a good bottle of whiskey, a lemon, some sugar, some water and a glass, and he says “Uncle Dave, what’ll you have?” “I says a little water to keep it neat, and he says what else? And I says some sugar to make it sweet! and he says what else? I says some lemon to make it sour, and he says, and the whiskey? and I says fill ‘er to the brim to give her the POWER!!”

    When the 21th Amendment repealed Prohibition, Uncle Dave recorded some celebratory songs!

    One day late in life Uncle Dave was at the Opry and went across the alley to the neighboring bar and he was complaining about his guitar-playing son Dorris drinking beer all the time. The bartender tut-tutted and asked Uncle Dave what he’d have…”Jack Daniels!” said the old man.

    To quote the King, Jimmy Martin, “Drink Up and Go Home!”

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