Started Feeling Low a Beer Ago…
Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Dr Frank Weakly Reader, wherein I have, as usual, summarized, illustrated, annotated, and expanded the contents of the week’s Dr Frank O’Sphere so it may be found in future. (Just enter “medium.com” “frank portman” “[search term]” in a google box — it works.) So here’s the weak that was.
But first, some songs about drinking, and learning to tell time…
CAN THEY DO THE THING?
But it occurred to me to wonder if there were other songs that used drinks to tell time in this way. Measuring time by the ounce, in other words.
It seems like there must be — country songs especially. I mean, it’s a pretty obvious conceit, and I can’t be the only guy to think of doing it. But while there are a whole lot of drinking songs, songs that precisely do the thing, i.e., the “started feeling low a beer ago” thing, don’t seem to be as common as I’d thought, even though people talk that way all the time and it’s quite fertile ground for this sort of songwriting.
It did turn up some great drinking songs though.
“This one is way better than yours, let’s just admit it,” says one guy by means of introducing Johnny Paycheck’s “Fifteen Beers.”
No argument there from me, but it doesn’t do the time-reckoning thing in any direct way as far as I can see. Still, worth it.
Tracy Bird’s “Ten Rounds with Jose Cuervo” comes pretty close, and is a great one I’d never heard before (so thanks a lot, Matt!)
This George Thorogood song was also new to me and its conceit, while not “the thing,” is solid. Like Tracy Bird and his rounds with Jose, George is drinking alone with his buddy Wiser, Jack Daniels, and Jimmy Beam, etc.
Now, George… You’d think there’d at least be a song in the George Jones catalog that fits the category, and maybe there is. But if so I can’t identify one, despite a good bit of familiarity with that stuff, and the hive mind of my (admittedly small) internet presence wasn’t able to turn one up either.
I love all the George Jones drinking songs, of course, and also of course the classic era ones are the classic ones, but having said that I have a great fondness for “The Lone Ranger”:
It doesn’t do the thing. It doesn’t need to do the thing. It does another thing. (All I want is some kind of thing, something to grab on to. The more things out there the better.)
I like this Ernest Tubb song a lot — it doesn’t quite do “the thing” but it arguably edges into thing territory:
Lots more out there, I know, but this is the winner so far, the Deaf Pedestrians with “15 Beers Ago,” via FB buddy James Overstreet, also new to me:
That does do the thing. And I dig it. (It may not seem like all that much to ask for, but a song that sticks to its topic the whole way through is quite rare to find these days, so I salute this one.)
And even though it doesn’t do the thing, here’s a relatively recent song about beer that I also quite like:
— RAD-014–7: the Sounds Radical re-issue of the “Alternative Is Here to Stay” / “New Girlfriend” seven inch, that is. They exist, and the mailing is happening. Mine hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ve seen pics and they look great:
That’s the “dibs” only special limited red and smoke vinyl copy on the left; the second pressing, for the rabble, is on the right. Go here for ordering info.
— Merry Christmas from MTX Island: Sounds Radical is doing its usual Christmas thing, with an MTXMAS discount and a new Christmas ornament and shirt, designed by our good friend our man Klode (Malloon.)
And Merry Christmas in advance, everybody.
MTX WUZ HEAR
— The way how we used to advertise things like… at left.
By our man Klode. More to come, I shouldn’t wonder, just stay tuned.
(King Dork Approximately the Album is still available by the way.)
— ODIN: Songs for Odin posts rarely show up as FB “memories” because they filter out YouTube links, but this one made it through because the YouTube previewing wasn’t working so I used a screen shot instead of the preview, and FB thinks it’s an image post rather than a video post.
The “minor secrets” on this one are a doozy, if doozy is the word I want.
Similarly: Last year in Dallas, Tanner Leaser and Matt Morris (the rhythm section of the band 41 Gorgeous Blocks) joined MTX to play the not-often-played song “Checkers Speech.” This came up as a “memory” on Tanner’s timeline, which reminded me of this video of our quick unplugged rehearsal in the upstairs office at the club:
And finally, this week’s Song for Odin, the MTX of 1998 covering the Primitives’ song “Crash” at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago:
The “minor secrets” are here.
Songs for Odin playlist here.
— … and, finally, your Friday morning “Together Tonight” from our pals the Thorazines out of Melbourne, Oz, on bandcamp.
The original is here, in case you don’t know it, and here it is in Odin form as well:
And the “minor secrets”!
THE DR FRANKENING
— King Dork: the way how I sign books sometimes, inset left (via FB “memory” from Colleen Moore.)
Or there’s this one, quoting Steve Miller, also without attribution.
— That time when I sang “Ba Ba Ba Ba Ba” with Joel at the book release party show in NYC for King Dork Approximately: just a brief FB video.
OTHER PEOPLE’S MUSIC
— Good morning world: The Honeycombs — “Have I the Right?”
— Roman calendar: Saint Crispina of Thagora; Saint Nicholas slapping Arius, by Giovanni Gasparro; Saint Ambrose; the Immaculate Conception by Crivelli, 1492; the crypt of Saint Leocadia; Eulaia of Mérida by John William Waterhouse; Our Lady, Queen of Angels, in a gorgeous painting by William Adolphe-Bouguereau…
— It’s Christmas: Christmas with Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet; the Colonel’s Holiday Three-way; Hendrixmas; Pamela Tiffin [RIP — see below IN THE NEWS — ed.]; be your own Santa; symbol of joy or blazing death torch?; all lit up, with antlers…
— NSFW: a redhead.
IN THE NEWS
— Peter Campbell McNeish, 1955–2018: they unveiled a historical sites plaque on the wall of Pete Shelley’s childhood home in Leigh, Greater Manchester:
And here she is in her most famous scene, dancing on the diving board in front of Paul Newman and Robert Wagner.
— Literally Hitler: Politician named Adolf Hitler wins election in Namibia.
Which will, finally, wrap it up for the Weakly Reader. But for those who’ve made it this far down the page, here’s some candy canes, ca. 1972:
See you next week.