In the old days it was about taxes and heaping the payoff of the national debt on farmers who made whiskey out of their corn. In 1790, it was considered an abomination and the farmers rebelled. Abraham Washington or George Lincoln, I think it was, sent troops and eventually the Whiskey Rebellion became a footnote in history.
The song was ended but the melody lingered on.
Miss Marcy doesn’t quite fit the theme, but it involves whiskey stills, illicit sex, murder, dancing, adultery and other dirty stuff, and it’s a good song. I’d be remiss leaving it out.
The Night Chicago Died isn’t precisely historically accurate, but it’s the only song comes to mind encapsulating what Prohibition led to: Gangsters, cops and bystanders being gunned down, speakeasy whiskey nights, corruption, and a lot of richer cops, politicans and gangsters with nobody else better or worse for it except prison guards, more lawyers, judges and cops. Sound familiar?
Even into the 1960s illegal whiskey still brought a smile and tacit approval from a population unaffected by the tiny wars still going on between back-woods whiskey-makers and ‘reveneurs’. Not to be mistaken for Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker. Nobody was getting killed over in the Jack Daniels plant.
Roger Miller’s classic’s just another example the general public attitude as opposed to the governmental enforcement apparatus tactics.
The US Government isn’t a fast learner. They were already controlling and taxing whiskey. They’d have saved more treasure than anyone can imagine it they’d taken that approach to dealing with cocaine. The substance abuse happened, the machinery of justice cranked up to deal with it, the prisons filled, and the taxpayers paid, paid, paid without taking it off the streets. Nor even out of the prisons.
Much the same song, different stanza for the poppy derivative family.
But whiskey and illicit drugs weren’t enough. The only obvious place the government was successful collecting taxes across the board was on tobacco.
But even a lot of whiskey drinkers and cocaine snorters didn’t like smokers. Gradually smokers were eased over there with prostitutes when it came to hammering them out of existence.
I’ve included a lot of different versions of this next song because we’ve needed a lot of jails for the people who get crosswise with moral superiority, barrels full of money, cops, politicians, judges and people who just like to know people they don’t agree with are in jail.
I’ve had to leave prostitutes and prisons for women full of them out of this because nobody cares enough about them to write a song.