The Moonshiner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"The Moonshiner" is a folk song with disputed origins. It is catalogued as Roud Folk Song Index No. 4301. Some believe that the song originated in America, then later was made famous in Ireland. Others believe that it was the other way around. The Clancy Brothers stated on their recording that the song is of Irish origin, but again, this is disputed. Delia Murphy was singing it in Ireland from the late 1930s.[1] American country music singer Tex Ritter is famous for a song of similar tune and lyrics by the title "Jack of Diamonds" from as early as 1933. Bob Dylan recorded "Moonshiner" in 1963; this version was released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991. The song has also been performed by Elliott Smith, Cat Power, Rumbleseat, Cast Iron Filter, Peter Rowan, Railroad Earth, Bob Forrest, Roscoe Holcomb, Uncle Tupelo, Jeffrey Foucault, The Tallest Man On Earth, Tim Hardin, Charlie Parr, Punch Brothers, Redbird, Sons of an Illustrious Father[2], Robert Francis, Scorpios, Ekoostik Hookah, Moriarty, Ben Holland and Lost Dog Street Band.


(transcribed from Uncle Tupelo's version, from "March 16-20 - 1992".

I am a moonshiner
For 17 long years
And I spent all my money
On whisky and beers

And I go to some hollow
And set up my still
If whisky don't kill me
Lord, I don't know what will

And I go to some barroom
To drink with my friends
Where the women they can't follow
To see what I spend

God bless them, pretty women
I wish they was mine
With breath as sweet as
The dew on the vine

Let me eat when I'm hungry
Let me drink when I'm dry
Two dollars when I'm hard up
Religion when I die

The whole world is a bottle
And life is but a dram
When the bottle gets empty
Lord, it sure ain't worth a damn


  1. ^ O'Hara, Aidan (1997). I'll live till I die. Leitrim: Drumlin Publications. ISBN 1-873437-17-X. 
  2. ^ ferr3t (2010-12-12), Sons Of An Illustrious Father - Moonshiner, retrieved 2017-06-18