My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic Rewind: Merle Haggard -‘Little Ole Wine Drinker Me/Today I Started Loving You Again’

3 responses to “Classic Rewind: Merle Haggard -‘Little Ole Wine Drinker Me/Today I Started Loving You Again’

  1. Luckyoldsun January 23, 2018 at 2:46 am

    The odd lyric that forms the title to “Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me” comes from the title being a parody of a TV commercial for a California wine company that used the tag line “Little Old WINEMAKER, me.”
    It’s not a Hag original. It was written by Hank Mills. Merle did not release it as a single. The song did scratch the pop chart in 1967, a year prior to Hag’s version, in a strange recording by the tough-guy actor Robert Mitchum. I had no idea of this , but according to Wikipedia, Mitchum’s version was a top-10 single on the COUNTRY chart!
    The great Dean Martin released a recording of the song shortly after Mitchum. Dino’s version was the most prominent, making it to #38 on the Billboard Singles chart and #5 on the Easy Listening chart.

  2. Ken January 23, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Charlie Walker was first to release “Little Old Wine Drinker Me.” Although his Epic single failed to chart in Billboard it spent four weeks on the Cashbox country survey in June 1966 peaking at #50. Robert Mitchum said he heard Walker’s version on the radio while filming the movie “The Way West.” and at the time thought that it would be a perfect song for Dean Martin to record. A few months later Fred Foster signed Mitchum to his Monument label and brought him to Nashville where he recorded “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” on January 19, 1967. Released that Spring the single ultimately peaked at #9 on both the Billboard and Cashbox country charts.

    It was not at all “strange” for Robert Mitchum to sing as he had recorded songs for his 1947 movie “Rachel & The Stranger” and the theme for his 1958 film “Ballad Of Thunder Road.” He also release a calypso LP in 1957.

    Dean Martin recorded his version of “Little Ole Wine Drinker Me” in June 1967 just as Mitchum’s single was climbing the charts. Released later that summer Martin’s Reprise single hit #38 on the Hot 100 and #5 on the Easy Listening chart in the early Fall of 1967. Merle Haggard recorded the song the following May and released it as a track on his “Mama Tried” album in the late summer of 1968.

    I do not find the lyric “odd” at all but a rather clever take on the popular Italian Swiss Colony Wine ad. Many ad phrases have been adapted to song lyrics. Although Charlie Walker’s “Little Old Wine Drinker Me” failed to hit for him in 1966 he scored big the following year with “Don’t Squeeze My Sharmon.”

  3. Luckyoldsun January 24, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Here’s the inspiration for “Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me.”
    The “wine maker,” btw, is Jim Backus–of “Mr. Magoo” and “Gilligan’s Island” fame.

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