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Lin Brehmer’s 20 Barroom Classics

A friend comes to visit Chicago. You take him to a bar and he whistles to get the bartender’s attention. Today on Lin’s Bin at 7:15am and 6:15pm, I provide some much needed advice about bartender interaction. Of course, this essay required me to ruminate about the best songs for barflies and other insects of the night. A mix tape for your favorite bartender, perhaps?


The Rolling Stones-Honky Tonk Women. Live version chugs along nicely. “I met a gin-soaked barroom queen in Memphis.” Wait, it gets better.


Michael McDermott-Unemployed. What does an Irish kid from Chicago know about drinking? Plenty.

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115 Lin Brehmers 20 Barroom Classics
Koko Taylor-Hey Bartender. I’ll take the Queen of the Blues over the Blues Brothers every time.


David Bromberg-Sloppy Drunk. Sloppy and drunk is no way to through life, son. Bromberg nails this cover of blues mandolinist Yank Rachell’s song.

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Loudon Wainwright III-Down Drinking At The Bar. From Loudo’s classic Attempted Moustache album. Why do so many performers from the ‘doomed singer-songwriter’ genre write the best songs about bars? Experience.


LCD Soundsystem-Drunk Girls. Most men will tell you that the greatest danger lurking in taverns across America would be the scourge of drunk girls. Why? They have shaky, shaky ideas.

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The Replacements-Here Comes a Regular. Here’s a band whose reputation was honed in barrooms. We took the gang to The Bucket of Suds in 1985. Can you say ‘enabler?’ Thanks to Alghini for this one.


Los Lobos-I Got Loaded. First time I saw them do this live was at Biddy Mulligan’s in late 1984. XRT recorded that show which has been featured on the XRT Sunday Night Concert.

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John Lee Hooker-One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer. How many times do I have to tell you kids. Bourbon OR Scotch. Don’t start mixing up different spirits or the spirits will spirit away your brain. George Thorogood made this famous mashing it up with House Rent Boogie.

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks-O’Reilly at the Bar. A chestnut that appears on the airwaves like magic every March 17th.

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Tom Waits-Warm Beer and Cold Women. No one writes better about the night life than Tom Waits. No one. You could do a mini mix with this and “The Piano Has Been Drinking” and “I Never Talk To Strangers,” a duet with Bette Midler.


The Doors-Alabama Song. By Kurt Weill not Vile.

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Ry Cooder-I’m Drinking Again. A killer track from The Slide Zone. You can’t find this on Youtube. It might impede your ability to watch kittens on tricycles.


Katrina and The Waves-Red Wine and Whiskey. A cocktail before dinner and a bottle of red with rack of lamb. Works for me. Two words for you. Kimberly Rew.

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Pogues-Sally Maclennane. When my son went to The Congress Theater to see a bunch of bands, I explained that one of the bands playing there was called the Pogues and they would attract a certain demographic. Drunk middle-aged men.


The Roches-Face Down at Folk City. Had to include this little confessional number.

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ACDC-Have A Drink On Me. Original lead singer, Bon Scott, died of alcohol poisoning so, you know, take it easy.


Jimmy Buffett-Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw. Jimmy cut his folkie teeth in the Old Town area of Chicago. By the way, this is not a line that will work out for ya.

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The Clancy Brothers and Tom Makem-Whiskey You’re the Devil. Remember in the film when that woman asks Barry Fitzgerald if he’d like like some water in his whiskey and Barry says, “When I drinks water, I drinks water and when I drinks whiskey, I drink whisky.” That’s awesome.

http://wxrt.radio.com/2011/02/10/r-i-p-to-riptides-marie/
The Juleps-Marie’s Riptide Lounge. Marie died last year. Her Riptide Lounge still stands at Armitage and The Kennedy. The Juleps paid tribute to her while she was still mixing drinks.


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