Salubrious Saturday: “Mountain Dew,” The Stanley Brothers

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If I had to pick just one style of music to listen for the rest of my life, bluegrass would make the short list, and the Stanley Brothers would definitely be one of the groups I’d pick.  I particularly love this song a) because the lyrics are a riot (below), and Ralph’s voice is so smooth.

Ralph and Carter Stanley were born in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia in the 1920s (if the name Clinch Mountains means anything to you like it did to me, it’s probably because there’s a bluegrass song called Clinch Mountain Backstep that the the Holy Modal Rounders covered.  But I digress.).  They were a pretty popular bluegrass group for their time up to Carter’s death in 1966.  Ralph continued to play and got a prominent spot in the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.  You know that a cappella song, “O Death?”  That, my friend, is Ralph Carter.  He won a Grammy for that song – Best Male Country Performance – in 2002, and, I’m happy to report, is still picking his banjo today.

Down the road here from me there’s an old holler tree
Where you lay down a dollar or two.
Go on around the bend, when you come back again,
There’s a jug full of that good old mountain dew

They call it that good old mountan dew,
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

Now Mr. [Franklin] Roosevelt told ’em just how he felt
When he heard that the dry law’d gone through:
If your liquor’s too red, it will swell up your head.
Better stick to that good old mountain dew

They call it that good old mountan dew,
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

The preacher rode by with head high, stood high,
Said that his wife had been down with the flu
He thought that I ought to sell him a quart
Of my good old mountain dew.

They call it that good old mountan dew,
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

Well my uncle Snort, he is sawed off and short,
He measures four feet two,
But he thinks he’s a giant when you give him a pint
Of that good old mountain dew.

They call it that good old mountan dew,
And them that refuse it are few.
I’ll hush up my mug if you’ll fill up my jug
With that good old mountain dew.

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