Day 28. A song you change the words to when you sing it:
“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” — George Thorogood
Today’s song is a bit of a stretch. I don’t really change the words to songs when I sing them. I’m sure there are a couple, but I’ve been trying to think of even one for about a month now in preparation for this post, and I can’t come up with anything.
Which means that the second this is posted and becomes live I’ll say “Of course!” and remember exactly which song I’ve got a full, alternate set of lyrics for. Such is how my brain works.
The closest I could really come was a Christmas song, “Silver Bells,” which my father ruined for me many years ago. He used to sing, “Silver bells, silver bells, it’s Christmastime, and it’s s**tty.” My dad is gone now, but those words live on every Christmas season. His best-remembered Christmas “gift,” I guess.
But I didn’t want to do a holiday song, or a novelty song, so I went searching for something else.
I first heard “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” (to be abbreviated OBOSOB starting after the next mention, because there’s no way I’m typing “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” a bunch of times) courtesy of my brother, who is almost 12 years my senior. I was probably about 16 and to be honest, while he loved the song, it was lost on me. I just didn’t know how to appreciate it at the time.
Fast forward about 20 years, and I start to think about it again. At just about the same time, I started dating Laura, and somehow one night our conversation came around to the song. She really liked it, so I tracked it down on iTunes and started listening to it a little more often. Being older, I could appreciate the flow of the narrative, the humor, and the music much more than my first go-round.
For those not familiar with the song, it’s actually an amalgam of John Lee Hooker’s version of OBOSOB and another Hooker song, “House Rent Blues.” The latter is a story about a guy who loses his job and can’t pay his rent, eventually tricking his landlady out of paying it. Thorogood uses the “House Rent Blues” part as a vehicle to get to the bar which is where the drinking comes in.
As an aside, you should know that Laura and I sort of have a language of our own. Over time we’ve come up with things we’ve laughed at, or talked about, or coined that we use to replace normal, everyday terms, items, or phrases. Parts of OBOSOB fit that bill. Especially the part where George goes to visit his friend and asks if he can stay there a while.
I said, “Look man. I’m outdoors, you know. Can I stay with you maybe a couple o’ days?”
He said, “Uh, lemme go ask my wife.”
He came out of the house. I could see in his face. I knowed [sic] it was “no.”
He said, “I don’t know, man. She kinda funny, y’know.”
I said, “I know. Everybody funny. Now you funny too.”
We latched on to the “Everybody funny. Now you funny too.” part. We’ve replaced “funny” with all kinds of things.
Another aside. I have the facial hair of a 13-year-old. Or an 8-year-old Italian. Beards that most men could grown in week would take me… well, it would take me the rest of my natural life. I would need to start now to have anything respectable for Movember. My “beard” is scraggly and patchy. And that’s being generous. When I don’t shave, Laura describes me as “fuzzy.”
You can probably see where I’m going with this.
Yeah, yeah, I can hear you saying, “well, you don’t really sing that during the song.” Or even, “that part isn’t even singing at all.” Deal with it. I told you up front it was a stretch.
Anyway, back to the song. We’ve mined this one for a bunch of other catchphrases, too.
“What you need?”
“That don’t befront me.”
“I said, ‘But I’m tired!'”
“And she was so nice. Lord, she was lovey-dovey!”
Check it out. Yes, it’s over 8 minutes long. It’s worth the listen.
I know you’re sitting there reading all that and saying, “Yeah? Okay?” But I’m sitting here typing them , smiling and laughing. Such is how my brain works.