Top ten country drinkin' songs to honor Randy Travis' sobriety

Randy's clean and sober.
Randy's clean and sober.

It's really not a big deal when people give up booze. With the help of cults* like AA and sometimes those pesky alcohol monitoring bracelets, folks do it every day, to little acclaim. But we guess when Randy Travis does it - finally - it's pretty big news.

This week, his attorney Larry Friedman told news sources (like TMZ, the source oft-turned to for updates on LiLo's status onoffonoffonoffonoff the wagon) that the country and gospel singer has "eliminated alcohol from his daily life," adding that Randy "works out 3 hours every day and is in the best shape of his life...he has a high protein diet and takes a lot of vitamins."

Good! Perhaps the vitamins will stop Randy, who has seemed this year hell-bent on prison, from continuing his whoa-fast descent into destruction. Travis has been arrested three times in 2012 -- first, sleeping off drunkenness while parked in a church parking lot post-Super Bowl, then after fighting with his girlfriend's ex- in another church parking lot, and finally, after crashing his car into a construction site and then threatening the police who found him - naked - dozing off that drunk on the side of the highway. Earlier that night, he had allegedly attempted to purchase cigarettes -- naked -- from a nearby convenience store, but left when he didn't have the money on him to pay, and the clerk wouldn't hand 'em over anyway.

"I don't consider Randy an alcoholic," Friedman said. "I think Randy has had some hard times over the last year or two. He has gotten through those hard times, put them behind him, and he's off and running right now." Friedman added that Travis came up with his own program to get sober, and isn't receiving professional help.

Reckon all that's enough to scare a person straight. We also reckon all this will give Randy plenty of good material to write some legendary country drinkin' songs. And so in that vein, we present to you the Top Ten Drinkin' Songs already written, with high hopes that Travis will soon bump just a couple off the list.

Really, when we're talkin' country drinkin' songs, we should be dealing with a Top 100, not just a mere Top 10, so feel free to add your own in the comments below, and we'll all raise a glass - of muddy black coffee -- to Randy Travis.


#10 "Good Old Mountain Dew" - Grandpa Jones

Grandpa Jones recorded the song in 1947, but this ode to home-brew was written a couple years earlier by Bascom Lamar Lunsford, a folklorist and lawyer who often defended clients in criminal cases involving moonshine. Notable Lyric:

Oh they call it that ole mountain dew, and them that refuse it are few. I'll shut up my mug if you fill up my jug with some good ole mountain dew.

#9 "Two More Bottles of Wine" - Emmylou Harris

This Delbert McClinton tune, which simply details the solace an artist finds in two (or probably more) bottles of wine after ending up alone in L.A., was popularized by Emmylou Harris in the late '70s, and has now become a country music standard. Notable Lyric:

Ain't gonna let it bother me today, I been workin' and I'm too tired anyway. But it's all right 'cause it's midnight and I got two more bottles of wine.

#8 "What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)" - Jerry Lee Lewis

If you think Jerry Lee's career starts and ends with "Great Balls of Fire," an underage cousin-wife and Dennis Quaid, you're missing out -- his successful and yet often overlooked country career was impressive, including this 1968 Top Ten hit. Written by Glenn Sutton, the song's title refers specifically to Schlitz beer, "The beer that made Milwaukee famous." Ruining a marriage over Schlitz beer might be a new low, my friends. Notable Lyric:

Baby's beggin' me not to go, so many times before. She says love and happiness, can't live behind those honky tonk doors.

#7 "There Stands the Glass" - Webb Pierce

This 1953 Webb Pierce Number One hit might be the most depressing of many country music drinkin' songs -- yes, even more depressing than the one about the wino interior decorator. Notable Lyric:

There stands the glass that will ease all my pain, that will settle my brain, it's my first one today.

#6 "Set 'Em Up, Joe" - Vern Gosdin

This 1988 Vern Gosdin single was co-written with Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran and Buddy Cannon, and served as a tribute to legend Ernest Tubb (ET). Notable Lyric:

I'm gonna spend the night like every night before, playin' ET and I'll play him some more. I've gotta have a shot of them old troubadours. Set 'em up Joe, and play 'Walking The Floor'.
#5 "A Six Pack to Go" - Hank Thompson

With Jeff Bridges in its starring role, you may have thought the main character in the 2009 film

Crazy Heart

was inspired by, I dunno, Kris Kristofferson maybe. Wrong. The 1987 novel on which the film was based was actually inspired by honky-tonkin', country-swingin' singer Hank Thompson, whose other hits included "Humpty Dumpty Heart," "Smoky the Bar" and "The Wild Side of Life." Notable Lyric:

Tomorrow morning's Sunday I'm gonna be feeling low, so please please bartender I want a six pack to go.

#4 "Wine Me Up" - Faron Young

Oh Faron; I hate this story. Even when singing pretty depressing songs like this one, Faron Young's personality seemed so upbeat. Deceivingly so. Reportedly upset over his declining health and having been overlooked by contemporary country,

Faron shot himself in 1996.

Notable Lyric:

I'd like to thank the men that raise the grapes way out in California, and I'm hopin' this will be their biggest year. 'Cause scarlet waters all that's left to keep me hangin' on, and that's why I'll try to wine me up each day and night next year.

#3 "Colorado Kool Aid" - Johnny Paycheck

Don't ever fuck with a guy when y'all have been drinkin' Coors in the South of Texas. Notable Lyric:

Well, sir, he pulled out a big, long switch blade knife; Quick as a whistle he began to slice. An, that big mean drunk stood back, his face full of tears, lookin' down at the floor, an' one of his ears. Ha, he cut that thing off, even with the sideburns. You might say the little Mexican fella, he just didn't give a durn. But he was a gentleman about it, an' bent over and with a half way grin, picked it up and handed it back to him.

#2 "Don't the Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time" - Mickey Gilley

His original nightclub in Pasadena, Texas, which served as location for the film

Urban Cowboy

, has long closed, but this truth lives on. A song for last call. Notable Lyric:

If I could rate'em on a scale from 1 to 10, I'm lookin' for a 9 but 8 would slip right in. A few more drinks and I might slip to a 5 or even a 4. But when tomorrow morning comes, and I wake up with a number 1, I swear I'll never do it anymore.

#1 "Sunday Morning Coming Down" - Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash

And finally, a song for the morning-after, the morning-after being the time when you either wake up with a Number 1, or wake up alone and just start drinkin' again.

Notable Lyric:

Well I woke up Sunday morning, with no way to hold my head that didn't hurt. And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had one more for dessert.

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