Mixin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee With Moonshine

Well, since the Spodee launch event is described on the flyer above, let’s just take a second to explain exactly what Spodee is. Spodee is, “wine fortified with high proof moonshine” that you can mix into cocktails. And here’s a little more:

“Historically inspired Spodee harkens back to a Depression era hooch that was a deceptively strong, sweet, easy-to drink beverage made from a mix of country wine and whatever else was lying around the farm-fruits, herbs, spices and of course moonshine. Typically, it was made in trashcans or bathtubs and served at parties and backwoods get-togethers. This version is a potent 36 proof and comes in an old timey milk bottle. The kind the milk man used to deliver! Spodee will become available for purchase in PA and NJ stores in early May.”

Oh, and you can also return your empty Spodee bottle to Art In The Age and trade it for a Spodee t-shirt, which is pretty cool. But even cooler is the actual history of the spodee drink. The whole thing comes from an old, depression-era, song, as explained by The Hound Blog:

“The story of Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee begins with a guy named Stick McGhee, brother of folk-blues star Brownie McGhee, as well as warbler of such other fine tunes as Jungle Juice (King) and Sleep In Job (Herald). Note his name was Stick, not Sticks as many re-issue labels have billed him. In the afore-quoted classic volume The Unsung Heroes Of Rock’N'Roll, Nick Tosches includes a short biography of the man they called Stick, and you should read it, in fact if you are the slightest bit interested in rock’n'roll you should own a copy of said book. Taken from Tosches’ tome we know that McGhee picked up on a song that he learned in the army, a drinking song popular with black soldiers that went– “Drinkin’ wine mother fucker drinkin’ wine”, and after his discharge in 1947 he added some verses and recorded it, in it’s cleaned up guise (Spo-Dee-O-Dee standing in for Motherfucker in the lyric) for the tiny Harlem label, which had neither the money nor will to promote it. The recording was crude with just one guitar and a slap bass as instrumentation, but the performance was spirited, and the song itself great, but this record was, like so many other fine discs, a commercial flop and soon forgotten. Fast forward to 1949. Ahmet Ertegun, president of the then fledgling Atlantic Records is hanging around at a distributors office when an order from New Orleans comes in for many thousands of copies of the Stick McGhee record which by some fluke had become something of a hit in and around New Orleans. Morty Shad who owned the Harlem label knew nothing of this, for the wily Ertegun took the order and tracked down Stick through his brother Brownie and re-recorded the record on Atlantic, in a superior version that added Wilbert “Big Chief” Ellis on piano and Gene Ramey on drums. Notice that in the Atlantic version the St. Petersburg local is changed to New Orleans in the lyric. Atlantic sent these discs to New Orleans, and then all over the country. It became the first hit on Atlantic Records and keep the label alive in the year of 1949, a time when they could have conceivably gone under for lack of sales. It rose to #2 R&B (and #26 Pop) on the Billboard magazine chart in April of ’49. Cover versions started coming out of the woodwork: R&B, country, rockabilly, and more.”

Since then, the song has been covered by just about everyone (most notably Jerry Lee Lewis), but the original (below) is our favorite. Check it out, and get in the mood for some wine and moonshine mixin’:


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