Booze, Liquor and Booze

For women, a tricky factor in the early days of Canadian settlement was the fact that they were not legally entitled to own any money or property if they married. Women at the time were more like livestock, a dependent child or a pet than fully human individuals with their own aspirations and accomplishments.

In many cases, this was a devastating state of affairs. In the colonies, drug and alcohol abuse was rampant. Miners often spent every penny of their income in taverns and brothels or disappeared altogether, leaving their wives and children in desperate poverty.

Susanne Vigneault shared a story while we were gardening together. She told me about of a woman she’d read about whose husband was one of these men. Unable to provide for herself and her children, her indigenous neighbours took pity on her family and brought her enough food to keep her family alive. The story stuck with me.

This whole song came to me in a dream. I couldn’t recall most of the lyrics when I woke up at 2 AM to write it down, but I got the feel of it down.

I recorded this song with Anne-Louise Genest on banjo and Tiffany Nelson on bass at Jayme Langan’s Poplar Sound Studio.

 

Booze, Liquor and Booze

Music and lyrics by Kerri Coombs

 

Well I once met a man and I met a couple more

And I met a couple other men too

But the only lover-man I ever came to adore

Had a little bit of trouble with the booze

 

Well he asked for a dance and he asked for another

And he danced me right out of my shoes

And he won my heart, my liquored-up lover,

In between those bottles of booze

 

Booze, booze, liquor and booze,

Catches up a woman when you’re pitchin’ woo

We spent all our gold and our silver too

On booze, liquor and booze

 

Well be begged for my hand and he begged for the other

And he begged for my two lips too

When the wedding day came all I got from my mother

Was “keep him well away from the booze,

 

“Booze, booze, liquor and booze,

Take it from a woman with nothing to lose

He’ll spend all your gold and your silver too

On booze, liquor and booze”

 

Well I popped out a baby and I popped out another

And I popped out a couple more too

And he never could tell the one from the other

On account of that accursed booze

 

Booze, booze, liquor and booze,

Made it so he couldn’t tell his hat from his shoes

He spent all our gold and our silver too

On booze, liquor and booze

 

He was gone for a week, he was gone for another,

He was gone for a month or two

And me and my babies had to fend for each other

While he spent all our money on the booze

 

Booze, booze, liquor and booze,

Went into town and what did he choose?

He spent all our gold and our silver too

On booze, liquor and booze

 

Well I once heard a knock and I heard another knock

And I once heard a couple more too

When I went to the door, on the porch was a cop,

Said “Your man finally died of the booze”

 

Booze, booze, liquor and booze,

Might as well slip a man’s head through a noose

He spent all our gold and our silver too

On booze, liquor and booze

 

Booze, booze, liquor and booze, 

Might as well slip a man’s head through a noose

He spent all our gold and our silver too

On booze, liquor and booze

 

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About the Artist

In her youth, Kerri created a prodigious repertoire of over 60 original songs, nearly all of them relating to how she felt personally and how her relationships were going.  Despite positive feedback, college radio appearances and numerous gigs in folk clubs, festivals and songwriter showcases, her well of youthful angst eventually ran dry.  Unsure what else there was to write about, she spent the next decade collecting and performing traditional songs from a wide variety of genres and cultures. This project is an integration of her “songwriter” and “traditional music” backgrounds.