Rye Whiskey

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
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1910 (Lomax)
KEYWORDS: drink rambling floatingverses
REFERENCES (26 citations):
Belden, pp. 374-377, "The Guerrilla Boy" (4 texts, 1 tune; the first of two texts filed as "C" is this song)
Morris, #66, "O Lillie, O Lillie" (1 text, 1 tune, rather short, so it's hard to identify, but with words typical of this song; Roud classifies this and the Hudson "O Lillie" version as #4512)
BrownIII 50, "Jack of Diamonds" (4 texts, all short; some may be "Jack of Diamonds (II)")
BrownSchinhanV 50, "Jack of Diamonds" (2 tunes plus text excerpts)
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"; Roud classifies this and the Morris text as #4512; 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")
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)
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)
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)
Roberts, #56, "Moonshiner" (1 text, 1 tune, with verses from many places, including probably "Moonshiner," "Rye Whiskey," and maybe even "Green Grows the Laurel")
Owens-1ed, pp. 161-163, "Some Say I Drink Whiskey"; Owens-1ed, pp. 235-236, "Rye Whiskey" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Sandburg, p. 307, "Way Up On Clinch Mountain" (2 text, 1 tune, but only the "A" text belongs here; "B" is perhaps "Sweet Lulur")
Stout 112, p. 140, "I'll Eat When I'm Hungry" (2 fragments, the second certainly being this alrhough the first might be one of the related songs)
Lomax-FSUSA 64, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 170-173, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text+minor fragments, 1 tune)
Tinsley, pp. 152-157, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-AmFolklr, pp. 855-857, "Rye Whisky" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chase, pp. 142-143, "Clinch Mountain" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 69, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
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)
Darling-NAS, pp. 286-287, "Jack o' Diamonds" (1 text, heavily mixed with "Logan County Jail"); pp. 287-288, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text)
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)
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)
Silber-FSWB, p. 233, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text)
Pankake-PHCFSB, p. 5, "Rye Whiskey" (1 text, 1 tune)
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)

Roud #941
Jules Allen, "Jack O' Diamonds" (Victor 21470, 1928; Montgomery Ward M-4464, 1934; Montgomery Ward M-4779, c. 1935)
Fiddlin' John Carson, "The Drunkard's Hiccups" (OKeh 45032, 1926; rec. 1925)
Wilf Carter, "Rye Whiskey" (Bluebird [Canada] 58-0058, 1948)
Yodeling Slim Clark, "Rye Whiskey" (Continental 8012, n.d.)
Homer & Jethro, "Rye Whiskey" (King 571, 1947)
Harry Jackson, "Jack o' Diamonds" (on HJackson1)
J. E. Mainer's Mountaineers "Drunkard's Hiccoughs" (Bluebird B-8400, 1940)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Drunkard's Hiccups" (on NLCR08)
Elmo Newcomer, "Rye Whiskey" CroMart 100, n.d. but prob. late 1940s - early 1950s)
Bill Nicholson w. Zane Shrader, "Jack of Diamonds" (AFS; on LC14)
Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers, "If the River Was Whiskey" (with verses from this song though also related to "Hesitation Blues" or Handy's "Hesitating Blues"; Columbia 15545-D, 1930; on CPoole02)
Tex Ritter, "Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey" (Vocalion 5493, c. 1931; Vocalion 04911, 1939) (Edison Bell Winner [U.K.] W-21, 1933); "Rye Whiskey" (Capitol 40084, 1948)
Reaves White County Ramblers, "Drunkard's Hiccups" (Vocalion 5247, 1928)
Hobart Smith, "Drunken Hiccups" (on LomaxCD1706)
Pete Seeger, "Whiskey, Rye Whiskey" (on PeteSeeger07, PeteSeeger07b)
Jilson Setters [pseud. for James W. "Blind Bill" Day], "Way Up On Clinch Mountain" (Victor 21635, 1928; on RoughWays1, KMM)
Woltz's Southern Broadcasters, "Jack O' Diamonds" (Herwin 75561, c. 1927)

cf. "The Wagoner's Lad" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Greenback Dollar"
cf. "Sailing Out on the Ocean" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Jack of Diamonds (I)" (lyrics)
cf. "Long Ways from Home" (floating lyrics)
Jack O'Diamonds
Drunken Hiccups
NOTES [65 words]: 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
Last updated in version 4.2
File: R405

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