Ths year, I was granted the honor and privilege of being one of the judges of the Inquirer's Fourth Annual Brewvitational, the results of which will be revealed in Thursday's food section.
Along with that great responsibility, I was charged with a task: To make a beer drinking music mix that would be a soundtrack for sipping, mulling and scoring the 49 local brews placed before the palates of Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan, his six esteemed expert panelists, and me, the IPA-quaffing regular schmoe.
We listened to this 36 song list while we drank and judged. The title of the case and a half worth of tunes, Drinkin' Thing, is taken from the 1974 hit by late country great Gary Stewart, a master of the genre who's also represented with "She's Actin' Single (I'm Drinkin' Doubles)," a song which carries on a barroom conversation with Emmylou Harris' "Feelin' Single - Drinkin' Doubles."
The mix kicks off with the sound of a beer can opening on Jim Ed Brown's "Pop A Top" and concludes with Frank Sinatra's "One For My Baby." Along the way it includes Tom Waits, The Pogues, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Beck, Black Flag, and many more.
Read on for the song list, and click the widget below to listen via Spotify. (You need to sign in to Spotify to play it. Only eight songs are visible, but there are 36 in total.)
1. "Pop A Top," Jim Ed Brown. 1967 #1 country hit, later covered by Alan Jackson. "Pop a top again / I've only got time for one more round..."
2. "Let's Go Get Stoned," Ray Charles. A 1966 #1 R & B hit for Charles, written by Nicholas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, with Josephne Armstead.
3: "Hey Bartender," Floyd Dixon. The original call out of "I drink one, I drink two, I drink three, four bottles of beer," by R&B piano playing "Mr. Magnificent." Later covered by the Blues Brothers.
4. "How High Am I," Louis Jordan. A musical question, from the jump blues bandleader.
5. "Barstool Blues," Neil Young. "I saw you in my nightmares, now I'll see you in my dreams / And I might live a thousand years, before I know what that means." Belly to the bar philosophizing from my favorite Neil album, 1975's Zuma, with Crazy Horse.
6. "Drinkin' Thing," Gary Stewart. From the Southern rock influenced coal miner's son's 1975 album Out Of Hand.
7. "What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made A Loser Out Of Me)," Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer, drowning his sorrows.
8. "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)," George Jones. Maybe the greatest of many great Jones' drinking songs. "With the blood from my body, I could start my own still..."
9: "Warm Beer and Cold Women," Tom Waits. Down and out schtick from the boozy gutter poet,from 1975 semi-live album Nighthawks at the Diner.
10. "Six Pack," JEFF the Brotherhood. Rousing summertime Southern garage rock from Nashville bros Jake and Jamin Orrall's 20012 album Hypnotic Nights.
11. "Sherry Darling," Bruce Springsteen. The Boss has some beer, and the highway's free.
12. "Passenger Side," Wilco. "You're gonna make me spill my beer, if you don't learn how to steer." From A.M. Wilco's 1995 debut.
13. "I Love This Bar," Toby Keith. Love him or hate him, give it up to the cocky Texan for this excellently wrought ode to his favorite watering hole.
14: "There Stands The Glass," Webb Pierce. Perhaps the greatest existential country drinking song of all time. A #1 hit from 1953.
15: "My Bucket's Got A Hole In It," Hank Williams. The Hillbilly Shakespeare in a pickle: "Can't buy no beer."
16. "Feelin' Single - Seein' Double," Emmylou Harris. Vintage Emmylou, plagued by double vision on 1975's Elite Hotel.
17: "She's Actin' Single, I'm Drinking Doubles," Gary Stewart. The unheralded Gary Stewart again, master of the drinking song.
16. "I Think I'll Just Stay Here And Drink," Merle Haggard. Country great considers how difficult it would be to "quit doin' wrong, start doin' right." Decides on the alternative.
19. "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)," Loretta Lynn. #1 country hit for coal miner's daughter, not a woman to be messed with.
20. "Sunday Morning Coming Down," Johnny Cash. Hangover classic, penned by Kris Kristofferson.
21. "Six Pack," Black Flag. Punk rock binge drinking, by Henry Rollins' now reunited band.
22. "One Beer," MF Doom. Hip hip surrealism, from underground rapper's 2004 album Mm ... Food. Samples Ethel Merman and quotes Cole Porter.
23. "Brass Monkey," Beastie Boys. New York rappers ode to a cocktail of Olde English 800 malt liquor and OJ (in one recipe). Off of 1986's License To Ill.
24. "Gin and Juice," Snoop Doggy Dogg. Off beer for the moment, with Snoop "with my mind on my money and my money on my mind" from 1993's Doggystyle.
25. "Born Slippy," Underworld. English electronic band's breakout hit from Trainspotting, included for ecstatic chants of "Lager, lager, lager, lager!"
26. "Sally MacLennane," The Pogues. A song named after a beer - a stout to be precise - by the Shane MacGowan's rowdy Irish crew, off of 1985's Rum, Sodomy & the Lash.
27. "Sunny Afternoon," The Kinks. Ray Davies, sipping on his ice cold beer, telling self-pitying tales of loneliness and cruelty.
28. "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea," The Louvin Brothers. Classic country harmony duo beg for forgiveness.
29. "Bottle of Blues," Beck. Bummed out Beck, from 1998's moody Mutations.
30. "Beer Cans," Old 97. Rhett Miller's alt-country brigade, picking up cans by the side of the road, looking for some return-deposit pocket money.
31. "Gin House Blues," Nina Simone. From the great Nina Simone's 1961 album Forbidden Fruit. Originally recorded by Bessie Smith.
32. "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer," John Lee Hooker. Drink this one up, instead of George Thorogood's cover version.
33. "Sorry You're Sick," Ted Hawkins. The late folk troubadour nurses his loved one back to health with the musical prescription: "What do you want from the liquor store?"
34. "Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down," Merle Haggard. Haggard classic about memories that will not go away.
35. "The Morning After," Ashley Monroe. Superb hangover song from Like A Rose, the best country album of 2013.
36. "One For My Baby (And One More For the Road)," Frank Sinatra. Ol' Blue Eyes version of Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer tune originally written for Fred Astaire. Definitively from 1958's Sinatra Sings for Only The Lonely.