Songs: Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear) and Bargain Days (Half Off)

who drank my beer.chuckA few years back, I was musing about my father’s 45s record collection. For those of you too young, a 45 was a single vinyl record played on a “record player,” that had a turntable that rotated at 45 revolutions per minute.

For some reason, I was thinking about them again recently on a particular poor night of sleep (someone talking on speaker phone next door, two dogs barking, and a stiff neck from sleeping on the sofa to avoid the aforementioned, et al.)

Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles performing Bargain Days (Half Off) was released in 1955. You can listen to it HERE or HERE, and read the lyrics, written by Bill Carlisle, to boot. If I wanted to buy it on eBay, I probably could. The B-side was Nine Have Tried (and Nine Have Died), “and you’re gonna make it ten.”

As I noted previously, Dad also owned a version by someone performing Who Drank My Beer (While I Was In The Rear), written by a guy named Billy Austin, according to the label, though All Music attributes it to singer Dave Bartholomew. I didn’t know who performed it when I looked a few years ago, but I knew it wasn’t by Bartholomew [LISTEN], whose version is much bluesier; the one in my head was more country, and more comedic. It also was not the Tommy Duncan version [LISTEN].

I’m now positive that Dad’s 45 version was the one by Chuck Murphy from 1952, which you can LISTEN to, along with its B-side, Oceana Roll on CORAL 60800. The label was similar to the one shown, except it was orange. If I had any doubt, it was sealed when I heard the last line asking the bartender for “one on the house.”

None of the versions charted on either the pop charts or rhythm & blues charts, but I don’t have access to the country charts. Nor do I know which version, if any, was the original, though I’m guessing Bartholemew’s. This song has also been covered by Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan, and by Buster Poindexter. If any of you (meaning Dustbury) have any insight, I’d love to hear it.

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