Ask any reader of this site what their great pleasures in life are and many will presumably say music. It’s probably a decent bet though, that many of them would also say food. It therefore makes sense to bring these two passions together in our latest ten song offering. With that in mind I’ve had a rustle round in the great americana pantry and found some delicious combinations of artist and foods. So, here’s a menu of ten courses to tempt your musical palate. As always, we’d love you to add your own recipes in the comments box at the bottom of the page. Bon Appetit!
Hank Williams – ‘Jambalaya (On the Bayou)’ (1952) Where else can we possibly start than with the Hank’s classic references to the signature dishes of Louisiana, “Jambalaya, a-crawfish pie and-a file gumbo”. More widely the song is about partying, but like any good party, the food is an integral part of the proceedings.
Golden Smog – ‘Pecan Pie’ (1995) Taken from Golden Smog’s ‘Down by the Old Mainstream’ album. This is an acoustic version, performed by Jeff Tweedy in 2018 for the Bedstock online festival to raise money for sick kids. Who can resist?
Tom Waits – ‘Eggs and Sausage (in a Cadillac with Susan Michelson)’ (1975) Waits’ ‘Nighthawks at the Diner’ was his third album. Regarded by many as the pick of his early albums. Recorded in front of a small audience to recreate the atmosphere of a jazz club, this track references just about the whole menu.
Carolina Chocolate Drops – ‘Cornbread and Butterbeans’ (2010) Before establishing herself as a major star of americana music, Rhiannon Giddens cut her musical teeth in the wonderful Carolina Chocolate Drops. I was lucky enough to catch them live around the same time as this clip was made and it remains one of my favourite shows of the last 20 years. Take it away…
The Gourds – ‘I Ate the Haggis’ The Gourds celebrated the devouring of the Scottish delicacy in this song from their 1997 album ‘Stadium Blitzer’.
“Brought to me from Scotland
With a fiver I can’t spend
Got directions on the can
To serve it up with a wee dram”
Not sure about haggis in a can, but The Gourds certainly served up a nice little tune with this one.
Robert Earl Keen – ‘Barbeque’ How come that every time I put one of these lists together there seems to be a Robert Earl Keen song in there? Well, being a big fan helps, but Keen writes about life and here he extols the virtues of grilled meat. I particularly concur with this plea:
“Don’t send me to Heaven, it ain’t where I should go
‘Cause the Devil’s got a charcoal pit and a good fire down below”
Lonnie Mack with Stevie Ray Vaughan – ‘Oreo Cookie Blues’ My initial thought was towards Lonnie Mack’s original 1985 version of this song – that was until I discovered this live rendition with none other than Stevie Ray Vaughan accompanying. Pass me one of them biscuits man!
Guy Clark – “Homegrown Tomatoes” As if any excuse was needed to include Guy Clark in absolutely anything, this video is pure gold. What it lacks in technology it more than compensates for in the performance. Clark is sometimes (wrongly) regarded as a rather dry and earnest, even dour songwriter. Here that notion is firmly put to bed both by the humour within the song and particularly by the jovial mood of the performance.
Steve Goodman – “Chicken Cordon Blues” Goodman’s sad death from leukemia in 1984 aged just 36 robbed us of a supremely talented songwriter. This song is taken from his second album ‘Somebody Else’s Troubles’ released in 1972. Anyone not familiar with Goodman would a find great feast to be had by investigating further.
Robbie Fulks – ‘The Scrapple Song’ Taken from Fulks’ matchless debut album ‘Country Love Songs’ I’ve chosen this live clip partly because it’s simply great, but also because Fulks’ introduction is not only entertaining, but also saves me having to explain what the song is about. Go Robbie.
Disclaimer: No food was consumed during the piecing together of this article, although a couple of beers might have been.
>>> Please help to support the running costs of Americana UK, run by a dedicated team in our spare time, by donating £2 a month to us - we'll send you an exclusive 20 track curated playlist every month plus the opportunity to win our monthly giveaway. Click here for more information.