Who added lyics to "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"

Okay, best I can tell by googling, the original John Lee Hooker version of this blues standard didn’t have any of the lyrics about the landlady, not being able to make the rent, finding a job, etc.

JLH version:

One bourbon, one scotch, and one beer
One bourbon, one scotch, and one beer
Hey mister bartender come here
I want another drink and I want it now

My baby she gone, she been gone two night
I ain't seen my baby since night before last
One bourbon, one scotch, and one beer

[removed extra lyrics]

Typical version by other artists, like George Thorogood

Wanna tell you a story,
about the house-man blues
I come home one Friday,
had to tell the landlady I’d-a lost my job
She said that don’t confront me,
long as I get my money next Friday
Now next Friday come I didn’t get the rent,
and out the door I went

[removed extra lyrics]
Sooooo, who added all these new lyrics???


Almost certainly Thorogood.

He’s done it on several songs such as ‘Willie and the Hand Jive’ and ‘Memphis Marie’ to change the ending either slightly or enormously.

And that’s in a long tradition of blues performers. Songs aren’t considered sacred. They’re to be played with and added to as suits the performer.

George Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One scotch and one Beer” is actually 2 John Lee Hooker songs put together.

The first part of the song is Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie” and the second part is Hooker’s “One Bourbon, One scotch and one Beer”

All George did was put them together


Not that this means anything, but I was a blues DJ from 1980-85 and I saw the Hook twice and Thorogood once during that time. My wag is Thorogood from his first albumn, which came out in 1977.

When I saw Thorogood in the spring of 1981, he did a sound check and then walked across the street to watch the UC Davis baseball team get beat. Him and the band were seriously into the game and talked with a bunch of the players as just one baseball player to another. And it’s not like Thorogood was real famous at that point as it was before Bad to the Bone and the Rolling Stones tour came out.

Not much too add, except that I love George Thorogood’s version of that song. Just gorgeous, ripping guitar. George is underrated, man.

Aw man, I was wrong- you DO have at least one redeeming quality.

leftfield6 – we’re pretty strict about copyrights around here – when you want to discuss the full version of a set of lyrics, pls. find them elsewhere online and link to them, rather than cutting and pasting them here.


twickster, Cafe Society moderator

Thanks for the answers all!!

Sorry bout that twickster, didn’t know that, I swear I’m a law-abiding citizen!!:smiley: Won’t happen again.

It’s “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” – the scotch comes first, and it’s sung that way in the original version by Amos Milburn and co-written by Rudy Toombs. Hooker famously covered it in 1967, but the song by Milburn & Toombs dates to 1953.

And while I’m combatting some ignorance, putting the bourbon before the scotch totally wrecks the way the line parses! If you don’t believe me or understand what I’m talking about, try saying it out loud both ways.

And finally, let this be the last word: Amos Milburn’s rendition on YouTube. It goes down as smoothly today as a 58-year-old “scotch” should!

This is at least the 3rd or 4th time I’ve touted Amos Milburn’s version on this board. I swear, the next time I come across somebody saying it’s by Hooker or, the Flying Spaghetti Monster forbid, Thorogood, I’m gonna declare a fatwa…

I do like that original version. And at the same time, I’ll point out I never attributed the sang as original to Hooker, Throrogood, or anyone else. I was asking about versions of the song. I always assume with old blues or jazz that it is a riff off of someone else’s song.

Ignorance fought. Thanks Scrivener

True enough, and I’m probably getting downright cranky about this particular debate, but it peeves me when nobody bothers to mention Milburn or the original title. I blame daylight savings and being shorted an hour’s worth of sleep, grr.