“Rye Whiskey”

Alternate titles: “Jack O'Diamonds”; “Drunken Hiccups”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1910 (Lomax)
Keywords: drink rambling floatingverses
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So)

Description

A song of intense alcoholism: "Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry; If I don't get rye whiskey I surely will die." "If the ocean was whisky and I was a duck, I'd dive to the bottom...." Many verses about how drink has affected the singer's life

Notes

This song merges almost continuously with "The Wagoner's Lad" (which itself has offshoots such as "I'm a Rambler, I'm a Gambler"); see that song also for the full list of variants.

The "Jack of Diamonds" subfamily of this song is well known, and perhaps would be considered by some a separate song, but contains so much mixture with this song that I don't see any way to separate them. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Belden, pp. 374-377, "The Guerrilla Boy" (4 texts, 1 tune; the first of two texts filed as "C" is this song)
  2. BrownIII 50, "Jack of Diamonds" (4 texts, all short; some may be "Jack of Diamonds (II)")
  3. Hudson 79, pp. 207-208, "Jack of Diamonds" (1 short text); 117, pp. 258-259, "O Lillie, O Lillie," mostly a "Jack of Diamonds" text but with verses which mix it with "The Rebel Soldier"; also 116, p. 258, "I'll Eat When I'm Hungry" (1 fragment, a single stanza based on this song but probably belonging with "The Rebel Soldier": "I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry, If the Yankees don't kill me, I'll live till I die")
  4. Randolph 405, "Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey" (6 texts, 1 tune); also 494, "Tie-Hackin's Too Tiresome" (1 fragment, 1 tune, an extract from a longer version)
  5. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 344-345, "Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 405A); pp. 375-376, 'Tie Hackin's Too Tiresome" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 494)
  6. Fuson, p. 157-159, "His Wants," "My Welcome," "I'll Live Till I Die (second, ninth, and tenth of 12 single-stanza "jigs") (3 fragments, all sometimes found with this song though all are floating verses)
  7. Sandburg, p. 307, "Way Up On Clinch Mountain" (2 text, 1 tune, but only the "A" text belongs here; "B" is perhaps "Sweet Lulur")
  8. Lomax-FSUSA 64, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Lomax-ABFS, pp. 170-173, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text+minor fragments, 1 tune)
  10. Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 855-857, "Rye Whisky" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Chase, pp. 142-143, "Clinch Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. PSeeger-AFB, p. 69, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Rorrer, p. 92, "If the River Was Whiskey" (1 text, built around W. C. Handey's "Hesitating Blues" but with most of the verses from this song)
  14. Darling-NAS, pp. 286-287, "Jack o' Diamonds" (1 text, heavily mixed with "Logan County Jail"); pp. 287-288, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text)
  15. MWheeler, pp. 112-113, "Beefsteak When I'm Hongry" (1 text, 1 tune, a mixed fragment I file here on the basis of the first verse; the others are from elsewhere)
  16. Thomas-Makin', p. 121, (no title) (1 text, all floating verses, some of which are, or can be, part of "Rye Whiskey" and all of which are drink-related)
  17. Silber-FSWB, p. 233, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text)
  18. Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 5, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
  19. Saffel-CowboyP, pp. 211-213, "Jack o' Diamonds" (1 text; this particular Lomax offering contains elements of "Jack o Diamonds/Rye Whisky," "The Wagoner's Lad," The Rebel Soldier," and others)
  20. DT, RYEWHISK* MOONSHI4* (RYEWHISx)
  21. Roud #941
  22. BI, R405