"Moonshiner" as written by and Jay Stuart Farrar Jeff Tweedy....
I've been a moonshiner
For seventeen long years
I spent all my money on whiskey and beer

I go to some hollow
And set up my holy holy still
If drinking do not kill me
Then I don't know what will

I go to some bar room
And drink with my friends
If women and men would come to follow
To see what I might spend
God bless them handsome men
I wish they was mine

They're breath is as sweet as
The dew on the holy holy vine

You're already in hell, you're already in hell
I wish we could go to hell

When the bottle gets empty
Then life ain't worth the drown


Lyrics submitted by typo

"Moonshiner" as written by . Traditional Bill Shepherd

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BEGGARS MUSIC, LTD.

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Moonshiner song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +6
    General Commentno, it's actually a traditional irish folk song.

    here are the original lyrics:

    I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home
    And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone
    I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry
    And the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

    I've been a moonshiner for many a year
    I've spent all me money on whiskey and beer
    I'll go to some hollow, I'll set up my still
    And I'll make you a gallon for a ten shilling bill

    I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home
    And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone
    I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry
    And the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

    I'll go to some hollow in this counterie
    Ten gallons of wash I can go on a spree
    No women to follow, the world is all mine
    I love none so well as I love the moonshine

    I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home
    And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone
    I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry
    And the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

    Oh, moonshine, dear moonshine, oh, how I love thee
    You killed me old father, but ah you try me
    Now bless all moonshiners and bless all moonshine
    Their breath smells as sweet as the dew on the vine

    I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home
    And if you don't like me, well, leave me alone
    I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when I'm dry
    And the moonshine don't kill me, I'll live til I die

    it then crossed the ocean and became a traditional american bluegrass song, which became an oscar brand (50's folksinger) song, which became a dylan song, which became a tupelo song, which became a chan song.

    whew.
    jillycon February 21, 2006   Link
  • +3
    My InterpretationIt's definitely based on the old folk song, but it's pretty clearly her take on it and she's added lyrics that were never part of the original version. It sounds like she is singing the song from the point of view of herself and her alcohol problems, which she's publicly talked about several times. She used to be so drunk during concerts that she sometimes couldn't finish or would bail out on shows. I remember reading a quote from her where she said she hadn't performed a concert sober for basically her whole career (up until the mid-2000s when she cleaned up).

    "See if women and men would come to follow
    To see what I might spend
    God bless them handsome men
    I wish they was mine"

    That verse in particular paints a picture to me of her getting drunk in a bar and offering to pay for rounds of drinks for people around her ("To see what I might spend"). "God bless them handsome men" is her lamenting the fact that there are all these men around her who are only giving her attention because she's drunk and paying for their drinks, and that after the night is over they will want nothing more to do with her ("I wish they was mine").

    The whole song is basically about finding companionship in alcohol and the act of drinking with people, and how neither of those are fulfilling and are ultimately self-destructive.
    scottdoesntknow628on August 02, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"You're already in hell, you're already in hell. I wish we could go to hell."
    Don't get me wrong, I love this song, but this is my favourite part.
    siliconyodaon February 28, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Commentobviously about an alcoholic
    Adagio%Breezeson June 20, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Comment...or I think it actually comes from somewhere else before UT.
    tooscaredtotryon February 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Comment.......bob dylan i believe
    FakePlasticTyleron February 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeah, I new I heard it from Bob Dylan too.. slipped my mind.
    tooscaredtotryon April 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyikes, *knew*
    tooscaredtotryon April 05, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhere's the "already in hell" part from? is that all chan?
    allbeardon February 14, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Comment Yeah, I've never heard the "already in hell" lines in any other version. It reminds me of the "go to red places and try to stay out of hell" line from "Colors and the Kids."
    ninety6tearson August 09, 2009   Link

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