One Short of a Six-Pack: Five Great Beer Songs Written By Texans
Beer has nothing to prove to you. The sudsy stuff has been around nearly 10,000 years by some estimates, and has played a critical role in building civilizations and maintaining life itself, according to various historians and scientists.
Still, like an honors student aiming for valedictorian and a Dartmouth scholarship, beer keeps working hard to make us proud. This is especially evident in Houston, where the beer scene has erupted with award-winning microbreweries, classy beer bars and informed beer snobs.
Deservedly so, this nectar of the inebriated gods has enjoyed its share of poems and odes since that first creative fellow caught a slight buzz. This strummed and sung appreciation of the most-ordered alcoholic beverage in the world has not been lost on Texas songwriters. A bottle short of a six-pack, here are five of the best-crafted beer songs by folks who know and love it -- Texans.
5. Reverend Horton Heat, "Beer Holder" Some fans of the Dallas-based group would go with "Beer: 30," mostly because of the wild-man scream at the song's onset and ensuing instructions to "party, get naked, buy us beer" (probably not in that order). But "Beer Holder" is less rockabilly bluster and a more honest selection.
Whether you're boot-shuffling on a dancehall floor or downing backwash in your recliner, you can relate, since "Beer Holder" is about the gut that grows as the cerveza flows. That's right, the beer holder in this instance is one's liquid-engorged stomach. Songs may be entertaining, but nothing's a better recognition of one's loyalty to barley, wheat and hops than an impressive beer belly.
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4. Floyd Dixon, "Hey Bartender" Marshall, Texas-born Dixon penned this ditty, which was famously covered by The Blues Brothers. Dixon's jump-blues version is slower burning than Jake and Elwood's take, and his clear, sober delivery seems a little out of place for a song about drinking beer all night long.
Dixon found success on the West Coast, but never left the Piney Woods and their glories behind. One of his best-known songs is actually called "Baby, Let's Go Down to the Woods," which ain't about beer-drinking. Maybe what comes next, you know, after the beer drinking. But that's another list.
3. The Sidewalk Slammers, "Drinkin' Beer" Better known selections are being squeezed from this list for this public service announcement and appeal. Not enough new beer songs are being created to one day displace the classics from lists like these.
What would Spec's look like if no one ever sipped from a Budweiser and thought, "Not bad, but I can do better"? Katy's own The Sidewalk Slammers accepted the challenge two years ago with this call-and-response folk-punk paean to the act itself. Nearly the whole song, penned by front man Freddie Boatright, is either "Drinking beer... drink, drink, drink beer" or "Smoking weed,...smoke, 'moke, 'moke weed."
In my experience, a lot of kids in Katy know a bit about both activities (okay, kids everywhere, to be fair). Few seem more qualified to sing on the subject than these guys, as their band name suggests (see Urban Dictionary). It's a fun song that can turn even the surliest drunk into a giggling, beer-soaked, knee-slapper.
2. ZZ Top, "Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers" This contribution is from the Tres Hombres days, released a full decade before Eliminator. Not an endorsement, but the song reminds us that beer is sometimes the entrée on a supper menu ("my can of dinner") and that folks doing this type of dining at certain establishments ("my favorite honky-tonk") are prone to fights and being louder than the band.
It also may be the only song to ever compare beer-quaffing borrachos to a "house congressional." While the hellions in this song are trouble, they are also considered "experimental" and "professional," admirable traits in any pursuit.
1. Asylum Street Spankers, "Beer" "I've tried 'em all, and it might sound queer, but my favorite drug is an ice cold beer," sings Wammo, on one of the dearly departed Austin band's signature tunes. "Beer" features an easy-to-sing-along chorus culminating in the truism "we love beer."
And it's educational, taking listeners through a litany of intoxicants and their adverse side effects. Besides maybe Dee Dee Ramone, could anyone have guessed sniffing airplane glue caused sneezing? Does tripping on acid really make you flaccid? Who knows? Not us. We're beer drinkers.
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