Monday, November 12, 2007

Perfection is Two Chords, an Empty Bottle and a Broken Heart

This song has been floating around my consciousness for the longest time now, and I finally found the impetus to learn it, thanks to my friend Berge. The song is the classic hit by Merle Haggard "Tonight the Bottle Let me Down". Berge busted it out at our little friend Monique's first birthday party last week, along with Lucio, our friends Steve & Patsy (parents to the lovely Monique) and a few others.

Berge played this song and I thought "... my God, I've been wanting to learn that song FOREVER...", and I must have said as much. And Berge said (or rather, exclaimed in amazement) "...It's TWO CHORDS...!" which I had never actually considered. The song is a BONA FIDE CLASSIC HIT, one of the greatest country hits of all time in my opinion, and it is so very simple in both its sentiment and its structure. So simple and painful and funny and just cutting straight to the heart. It's everything I love in a song.

Tonight I learned how to play it and now that I have, I don't know how I can possibly leave it off my next album, which will be all covers. I can hardly wait to start recording it even though I'm not quite ready yet. But the holidays are coming and time seems to speed up right about now. So I'm sure the time to record will be here before I know it.

In the meantime, you'll probably find me hunched over in my chair with my guitar in my arms singin' this:

The Bottle Let Me Down
Merle Haggard

Each night I leave the barroom when it's over
Not feeling any pain at closing time
But tonight your memory found me much too sober
Couldn't drink enough to keep you off my mind

Tonight the bottle let down
and let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I'd found
Tonight the bottle let down

I've always had a bottle I could turn to
And lately I've been turning everyday
But the wine don't take effect the way it used to
And I'm hurting in an old familiar way


Tonight the bottle let me down...


Anonymous said...

"Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down" IS a great song. I didn't know it was Merle Haggard - I've heard Waylon Jennings' version, as well as The Mavericks and Elvis Costello.

I think your chord changes are off, though. You don't hit the "D" until "closing (D) time"... and then hold that until the "off my (A7) mind.

I think.

Anonymous said...

A drive-by. I was trying to find who wrote it in Google and tripped over your site. I thought it was Merle, but I just heard George Jones' version on If you like the song, you will like the site.


Soup and Song said...

Ah yes, I LOVE bootliquor and some days I listen to it all day long. The DJ Roy has been very supportive of my music as well as of many independent artists.

Thanks for stumbling upon my site. And in regards to the previous comment, I think you're right about the chord changes.