The Spirit of Kentucky: Tunis' tunes for your bourbon bash

Contributing Music WriterOctober 17, 2013 

Looking for some sounds for your next bourbon bash? Here are a few suggestions. Some take their cue from themes inspired by the libation. Others suggest the spirits of the spirit. A few are just great, electric joy rides fit for any occasion, whether you're rolling out the bourbon barrel or not. Here goes.

Bourbon, Rory Gallagher: Why not go for something straight right off the bat? Bourbon was a forgotten, boogie-fueled romp by the late, great Irish guitarist from his equally overlooked 1982 album Jinx. Come to think of it, most any Gallagher record would ignite a bourbon fest.

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer, John Lee Hooker: The loud and proud status of George Thorogood's hit version of this juke-joint classic probably better fits the bourbon revival. I'll stick with blues great Hooker's quieter but altogether nastier version.

Bourbon in Kentucky, Dierks Bentley: While there is a slightly patronizing air to the song itself, contemporary country star Bentley's good-natured delivery provides an appropriate barroom attitude that is in no way upscale.

Bourbon Street Parade, Wynton Marsalis: What would a bourbon event be without a stroll down Bourbon Street? True, jazz impresario Marsalis long ago became a New Yorker. But this workout nicely fortifies his New Orleans roots.

Jockey Full of Bourbon, Tom Waits: While not exactly what one would call a party piece (although Los Lobos' tasty cover version comes closest), this is an expert portrait of Waits at his rogue-ish, creepiest best.

Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf, The Killers: The most down-and-out tune of the lot, selected for its obvious thematic link. For a bunch of Las Vegas-bred rock stars, songwriter Brandon Flowers and crew sound as if they could use a blast of bourbon.

Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones: This, of course, has nothing to do with bourbon. But after a few shots, you might think Sir Mick is singing about how he will never be your beast of bourbon. It could happen. Regardless, party guests will love the song.

Bourbonitis Blues, Alejandro Escovedo: Not a song, but a full EP of first-class rock and reflection from Escovedo at his best. One is tempted to say the leadoff track, I Was Drunk, speaks to the occasion. But the record is far more varied in temperament than that.

Moon Over Bourbon Street, Sting: A decidedly non-New Orleans sounding tune from the early solo years of Sting. The theme is nocturnal, the music leans to after-hours jazz and the mood is ominously sleek.

Anything by the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir: I stumbled upon this Toronto band while compiling this list. The music is largely pop-soul lite, pleasant but unremarkable. But how could one leave out any band from a bourbon celebration with a name like this?

Read Walter Tunis' blog, The Musical Box, at LexGo.com.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service