Friday, August 10, 2007

Moonshiner - Bob Forrest/ The Bottle Song - The Clancy Brothers

I’ve been a moonshiner
For seventeen long years.
I’ve spent all my money
On whisky and beer.
I go to some hollow
And set up my still,
An’ if whisky don’t kill me
Then I don’t know what will.

I go to some bar room,
And drink with my friends,
Where the women can’t follow
And see what I spend.
God bless them pretty women
I wish they was mine,
Their breath is as sweet as
The dew on the vine.

Let me eat when I’m hungry
Let me drink when I’m dry,
Dollars when I’m hard up
Religion when I die.
The whole world’s a bottle
And life’s but a dram,
When the bottle gets empty
It sure ain’t worth a damn.

I'm not familiar with Bob Forrest, but found his performance of Moonshiner after learning that his version will be included on the soundtrack of the upcoming Dylan biopic I'm Not There.

Sometimes mistakenly attributed to Dylan, Moonshiner is a traditional song known under various titles, including Moonshiner Blues and The Bottle Song. Dylan recorded his bleak, disillusioned arrangement - faithfully replicated by Forrest - in 1962, but the song was not officially released until 1991's Bootleg Series Volume 1. The song also appears on various bootlegs, most originating with the so-called Gaslight Tape of 1962.

Here's a different, upbeat take on Moonshiner, performed by the Clancy Brothers and Robbie O'Connell. It's possible Dylan first heard the song from the Clancys, and decided to come up a 180 degree different arrangement.

1 comment:

kerry dexter said...

I think Moonshiner is a distant realtive of the song Foreign Lander, too, which Tim O'Brien has on his recording Fiddler's Green.

Robbie O'Connell is a Clancy cousin, by the way, and an excellent songwriter in his own right.