The last time we looked at drinking songs we divided them into two kinds, the upbeat, celebratory hymn to Bacchus and the introspective, dirge-like ode to alcohol as (to quote Homer—the Springfield one, not the ancient Ionian) “the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
Our choice for the greatest drinking song of them all, Roger Ferris’s “The King is Gone (So Are You)” as cut by the mighty George Jones, fell firmly in the latter category, as do many of the greatest drinking songs. But the Bacchic hymns, packed as they are with exhilaration, disorder and anarchic freedom, have their moments, too.
Many of those moments are found in a subdivision of the category, the one devoted not to praising alcoholic beverages collectively or individually or to extolling drunkenness in general, but rather to celebrating and chronicling one particular drinking session. Call it—to use German, the language of genre theory and excessive drinking—the Sauforgienepos; the “swill-session epic.”