My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink: Five Songs For A Hangover

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Every now and then after a night out, Lonesome, Onry and Mean's head feels like it's been in a fight with some guy who owns a nail gun. While we may no longer be on a regular first-name basis with morning - nor, by way of waiver, are we particularly prone to over-serving ourseves - we are, sadly, familiar with hangovers.

And we are not talking about the movie about to be foisted on us by Hollywood, which you may have heard about.

It saddens LOM to report that we had a Hank Williams moment Tuesday night, which inexplicably led to a lapse of judgment resulting in the downing of several Saison Duponts with Rocks Off Sr., followed by skinny glasses of Fernet and soda with a host of disreputable characters. [Ed. Note: All I can say is this.]

Had Charles Bukowski, Nelson Algren, Sophia Loren and Carla Bruni walked into the confab, LOM doubts anyone would have raised an eyelid unless they were offering to buy a round of the Best Procurable.

We'd set our alarm for noon in order to have our head together for an interview with Jason Isbell, maybe the sharpest crayola in the current deck of Americana songwriters who will matter 25 years from now.

LOM was quite looking forward to asking Isbell about "Tour of Duty," "Codeine" and "Heart on a String," songs from Isbell and his band the 400 Unit's new album Here We Rest that have wormed their way into our psyche (possibly to stay) but still, the alarm was not a welcome addition to our day. And then, after the alarm worked with much too much Nazi precision and we awoke to something less than a field of bluebonnets and breakfast in bed: Isbell cancelled.

Maybe he, too, had a hangover. Like Lonesome Onry and Mean, he probably deserved it.

The effects of a hard day's night aren't necessarily the most popular subjects for songs in the modern era, especially since Nashville decided the soap-buying public doesn't need to hear any more drinking songs except the ones about Mexican beaches, Corona beer, and limes.

LOM's favorite most recently penned hangover line is by Houston's own connoisseur of Coors Light, Mike Stinson, a drinkin' man who wrote this couplet of terse genius and drunkard's clarity: "Can't believe I spent all of my dough/ Just to feel this fuckin' low." Yeah, we won't be hearing that one on mainstream radio anytime soon, eternal truth though it may be.

Anyway, we scratched around inside the soreness of our head and came up with a most excellent Trees Lounge list of songs and lyrics about the morning after that any chronic sufferer should have in the musical medicine cabinet. Five of our favorites:

5. Beat Farmers, "Lost Weekend": Country Dick Montana and his hard-drinkin' band mates knew plenty about the pain of the morning after. Montana was known for prolific binges, but Joey Harris and the other "maggots" in his band knew which end of a bottle to grab too. Here's a little sample from their 1985 album Tales of the New West:

My hands are sore and there's lumps upside my head Some teen-age girl is sleeping in my bed And if I don't lie down quick I believe that I'll get sick Repentance for another lost weekend

I wish somebody'd tell me just who and what I did Why is this ring on my finger and who's that screaming kid?

4. Robbie Fulks, "Barely Human": The wild man of the Chicago roots scene, Fulks can write some downright macabre lyrics. None more so than his chilling examination of a drunkard, "Barely Human", from album Let's Kill Saturday Night Country Love Songs.

A mouth full of teeth and a head full of brains Each morning, the soft rush of blood in my veins The lips taste, the feet walk, a heart pounds within But I'm barely human after one glass of gin.

What footprints are these in the fresh fallen snow? And what kind of creature has hurt my wife so? Who kicked down the front door? I must have been gone... I'm barely human from twilight 'til dawn

3. Jimmy Buffett, "My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink, And I Don't Love Jesus": The world's No. 1 party animal was bound to come down from his buzz eventually, and when he did, the Coral Reefer Dude penned an instant comedic classic. LOM was living in Austin when this one came out, and we doubt there was single student at UT who didn't know the words.

Anyone who ever went to the Split Rail knew this instant Austin cosmic-cowboy anthem.

My head hurts, my feet stink, and I don't love Jesus (oh my lordy) it's that kind of mornin', really was that kind of night Tryin' to tell myself that my condition is improvin' And if I don't die by Thursday I'll be roarin' Friday night

2. Johnny Bond, "Sick, Sober and Sorry": Written by Tex Atkinson and Eddie Hazelwood, this is exactly the kind of drinking song that Bond mastered in his day. Check out his wicked "Ten Little Bottles." "Sick, Sober and Sorry" was also covered by Lefty Frizzell, and Merle and George even took a shot at it, but their take is a bit cornpone and formulaic compared to Bond's swaggering proto-rockabilly take.

I met with a gal in a tavern Oh, what a beautiful dream We had three or four, then had several more And that's when I went off my beam

Oh, sick, sober and sorry Broke, disgusted and sad Sick, sober and sorry But look at the fun that I had

1. Johnny Cash, "Sunday Morning Coming Down": Kris Kristofferson arrived in Nashvegas when partying was truly in full swing. Marshall Chapman chronicled a bit of this hard partying with Willie, Waylon, Bobby Bare, Billy Joe Shaver and other Texicans in her recent book They Came to Nashville.

Oddly enough, goofball novelty-song genius Ray Stevens had an uncharacteristic minor hit with this one, but it was the Man In Black who left us the definitive version.

Well I woke up Sunday morning With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt And the beer I had for breakfast tasted so good I had one more for dessert

Follow Rocks Off on Facebook and on Twitter at @HPRocksOff.

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