It’s hard to beat the sweet twang of a classic country music song when it comes to excellent comfort music. Interestingly, that same music also provides a great soundtrack for getting liquored up and starting fights. It truly is versatile music for all occasions.
The bar brawl has been memorialized in country songs countless times, alongside the subjects of prison, trucks, trains, and mama. But which are the best? Here’s our guide to the best country bar brawl songs of all time, and we hope you’ll find them handy the next time you think someone across the barroom is looking at you funny.
1.‘Longhaired Redneck’ – David Allan Coe (1976)
Most of David Allan Coe’s discography consists of songs for everyone’s inner outlaw biker, and 1976’s “Longhaired Redneck” is no exception. The song depicts Coe at a bar (surprise!) that he describes as a “dive” full of cowboys, bikers, and hippies “who are praying they’ll get outta here alive.” Still, he reserves his deadliest lyrical venom for one obnoxious jerk in the corner, saying, “I guess he ain’t read the signs that say I been to prison, someone ought to warn him before I knock him off his chair.” While no actual fight takes place in the song, the stage is set for Coe’s fist to connect with the offending patron’s face at any moment.
2.‘Colorado Kool Aid’ – Johnny Paycheck (1977)
Johnny Paycheck was in trouble with the law for most of his life, and his various legal travails read like a laundry list of country music song titles. This made him an ideal vessel for the song “Colorado Kool-Aid,” a graphically violent tale of a barroom brawl that achieves “politically incorrect” status in its second line. Don’t let that put you off, though – if you keep listening, one dude loses an ear!
3.‘Uneasy Rider’ – The Charlie Daniels Band (1973)
“Uneasy Rider” depicts Charlie Daniels as a member of the counterculture who has to stop at a “redneck lookin’ joint” when his car breaks down. There, he is menaced by a group of toughs who don’t like that his vehicle has a peace symbol on it, among other serious infractions. In addition to being a great song, it accurately depicts the cultural divisions the United States faced at the time.
4.‘El Paso’ – Marty Robbins (1959)
Fans of the television show “Breaking Bad” will remember Marty Robbins’ “El Paso,” provided they could successfully finish the very grim final season. The song portrays a man in love with a woman at Rosa’s Cantina, but one day he arrives and sees her being charmed by a “wild young cowboy.” They settle this complicated proprietary matter by having a gunfight. The following two-thirds of the song is all about the consequences of that gunfight, and let’s just say everyone eventually loses, one way or another.
5.‘A Good Old Fashioned Saturday Night Honky Tonk Barroom Brawl’ – Vernon Oxford (1976)
Vernon Oxford has been making hardcore honky tonk music since the 1960s, and as if to prove his authenticity, he wrote “A Good Old Fashioned Saturday Night Honky Tonk Barroom Brawl.” This song provides an account of the titular event and describes “bottles flying, women crying, and a good time had by all.” Apparently, that’s just the night getting started, and it’s a violent and wholesome way to spend the evening 12 hours before you have to show up at church.
6.’Blood Red and Goin’ Down’ – Tanya Tucker (1973)
Tanya Tucker burst onto the scene at age 13 with her famous rendition of “Delta Dawn.” By age 15, she was singing this murder ballad about accompanying her father to a bar where her mother is drinking with a lover. Dad shoots them dead right before the impressionable young Tanya’s eyes. It would be neat to see Jon Taffer of “Bar Rescue” walk in and tell the tavern owner how to revitalize the establishment after it was the site of a grisly murder.
7.‘Coward of the County’ – Kenny Rogers (1979)
“Coward of the County” tells the story of Tommy, a quiet and reserved type. Most people around him mistake his muted demeanor for cowardice, but Kenny Rogers says he suspects something more sinister, a “still waters run deep” situation. His suspicions are borne out when Tommy’s girlfriend has her honor besmirched by a trio of men whom he tracks down to a bar and kills. Hasn’t he ever heard of anger management?
8.‘The Winner’ – Bobby Bare (1973)
Many otherwise sedate people turn into violent jerks after a few drinks, and in “The Winner,” Bobby Bare sings of being such a jerk. Full of liquid courage, he challenges a “hulk of a man with a beer in his hand” to a fight. The man details the many broken bones, chronic pains, and lasting injuries he sustained during all of the altercations he won, emerging victorious solely by having fewer permanent injuries than the other guy. Surprisingly for a country song, our narrator listens and walks away, happy to still have his own teeth.
9.‘Pearly Mae’s Place’ – Ernest Tubb (1970)
Ernest Tubb was decades into his long and storied career when he released “Pearly Mae’s Place,” a song about a local tavern with a well-deserved reputation for drunken Neanderthal brutality. Tubb recounts being a victim of said brutality, saying he “found out six teeth and two black eyes ago” that the place was too rough for him. That alone should be enough to give any aspiring drunken combatant pause, but Tubb also says, “if you don’t want your nose all over your face,” you should stay away from the titular establishment. We’re convinced.
10. ‘Where Do You Want It?’ – Dale Watson (2013)
Dale Watson’s “Where Do You Want It?” is based on the 2007 true story of outlaw country singer Billy Joe Shaver, who got into an altercation outside Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon. According to the police, Shaver and another man went outside of the bar, and the singer could be heard asking, “Where do you want it?” Apparently, the “it” was a bullet, and the “where” was the other guy’s face. Miraculously, the other man didn’t die, and Shaver was found not guilty of aggravated assault. Prosecutors said Shaver could have simply left the bar as opposed to shooting the other guy, but Shaver said that would have been an impossibility for one very simple reason – “I’m from Texas.”
Editorial Note: This list was created based on the opinions of the author and editorial team. The choices presented are subjective and can vary depending on personal preferences and perspectives.
This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.
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