Sunday, March 08, 2009

Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

Today's featured song is either about a drink called "spodi" or it's the basis for the drink's name. It's not entirely clear whether the song or the drink name came first. Spodi is a party drink prepared in a large bucket with liquor and fruit (not unlike Jerry Jeff Walker's recipe for sangria).

Stick McGee (brother of bluesman Brownie McGee) recorded the original version of the song in 1947, but it did not become a hit until Stick re-recorded it for Atlantic Records in 1949. Notably, Stick's 1949 recording of Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee for Atlantic Records was the first major hit for that legendary label.

Over the years there have been many covers, probably most notably by Jerry Lee Lewis. I've always really liked Lightnin' Hopkins' loose bluesy cover and the Malcolm Yelvington version is fantastic (click on his name to learn more about it).

Stick McGee - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (buy album)

Malcolm Yelvington – Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (buy album)

Jerry Lee Lewis - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (buy album)

Sid King & The Five Strings – Drinkin' Wine Spoli-Oli (buy album)

Lightnin' Hopkins – Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee (buy album)

And now—for the fourth time on this blog—here's that sangria song I was talking about before. It's brilliant, but of course you already know that:

Jerry Jeff Walker – Sangria Wine (buy album)

Tonight's selections should be enjoyed with a big bowl of spodi, or at least a nice cool pitcher of sangria.


tony c said...

I seem to remember a Kerouac novel, either On the Road or Darma Bums , where Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee is described as drinking a shot of cheap wine, a shot of whisky, and another shot of cheap wine, in rapid succession, one after another.

I believe the quote from the book was "a nice sweet jacket for all that bad whisky" or something like that.

godoggo said...

Somehow I'd never noticed before how great the drumming is on the Jerry Lee version (the only one I was familiar with).

tony c said...

I know the Lightnin' version the best, but hadn't heard Jerry Lee's in a while. It's totally rockin' Lousiana style.

The other 2 I didn't know. Stick McGee is instantly likeable. And Paul is right about Malcolm. Hillbilly rave-up, kinda like Hardrock Gunter.

It's like a mini lesson in American music history. A fine example of the cross-pollinated styles of the day.

Still, I don't get the impression the character in the song is eating fruit. Sounds like it's all about jonesing for wine and then bad things happen right away. If I wasn't drinking right now, I might walk up to the local library to check out my Jack Kerouac theory.

Paul said...

Great comments guys. Thanks. I agree they don't sound like they're singing about eating fruit.

BigSteve said...

I don't remember where, but I read somewhere that the song was originally "drinking wine, motherfucker, drinking wine." Since you couldn't put that on a record or play it on the radio or jukebox, the made-up word 'Spodie Odie' was substituted. Don't know if it's true, but it makes sense.

roderick berliner said...

Pere Ubu have a tune called 'Drinking Wine Spodyody' on their 1978 Dub Housing album, which has no link with the original apart from the title. Nice post - thanks!

Anonymous said...

wine electric flag...hopped up version...played at monterey pop festival...on youtube...

viagra online said...

i think Stick McGee did a good job, because he could recorded the original version. i like this song, it is really nice.