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October 22

Merle Haggard & George Jones’ Duet Hit, “Must’ve Been Drunk”

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In 1982, Merle Haggard and George Jones teamed up for the first time for an impressive record. A Taste of Yesterday’s Wine showcases the two legends’ drinking songs. The collaborative project features two songs namely “Silver Eagle” and “No Show, Jones.” These songs are a tribute to both of them. Additionally, the album’s title and leading track, which Willie Nelson wrote, became a No. 1 hit. The album received praises from Thom Jurek of AllMusic noting on the Haggard and Jones’ magnificent blending of vocals. He specifically wrote that the pair’s voices

“blend seamlessly and [complement] each other in almost symbiotic fashion.”

The Song “Must’ve Been Drunk”

One song from the album entitled “Must’ve Been Drunk” caught my attention due to its lyrical contents. The words to it were written by Vern Gosdin and D. Barnes. It’s a drinking song – with a twist! The story is narrated in the first person and was set in a barroom. The protagonist began the song by recalling a different experience he had in that place. He spoke of a woman from the Salvation Army who came to the barroom with her Bible and started sharing God’s words.

In the chorus, the narrator sounded like he’s having regrets that they were drunk when they said they’ll abstain from drinking.

Well, we must’ve been drunk
When we said we’d stop drinking
A double shot over the line
Oh, we had to be drunk
Lord, what were we thinkin’
Well, we must have been out of our minds

The second verse refers to the particular story in the Bible. It’s one of the miracles Jesus did – walking on water. The narrator refuted this saying,

“How come you’re talkin’ about walkin’ on water
To two drunks who can’t even crawl.”

In the final stanza, the protagonist remembered he’s almost in the state of turning his back from his vice. The woman remained persistent in enlightening him. In the last line though, he claimed that Jack Daniels won his soul and took it with him. Jack Daniels was metaphorically used representing alcohol or drinking as a vice.

Listen to Merle Haggard and George Jones’ recording of “Must’ve Been Drunk” below.

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George Jones, merle haggard, Must've Been Drunk


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