Misery and Gin, song written by Snuff Garrett and John Durrill, was recorded by Merle Haggard for the MCA label, was recorded on April 11, 1980, in Heider Scoring Service Inc., Hollywood, CA, on the production of Snuff Garrett, the single was released on June 16, 1980, September 13, 1980. Reached the number # 3 of the charts of U.S Hot Country Songs, in the charts of Canadian RPM Country Tracks, reached number # 4.
The song was included in the thirty-first Merle studio album, Back to the Barrooms (MCA 1980), the album was released on October 10, 1980, on February 21, 1981, it reached number # 8 on the charts of US Top Country Albums. Also, the single “Misery and Gin” had appeared on the soundtrack to the film Bronco Billy, in which Haggard had a cameo role, appearing as himself. A music video was also made for the song.
Merle will not have written the song, but her whiskey-soaked voice certainly made this classic the favorite in the barroom.
This song should be in the top 5 of all the bar room songs ever written, which I say in the top five, should be number one, in my opinion. Haggard was nearing the end of a brief and tumultuous marriage with the third wife, Leona Williams, when he recorded Back to the bars, perhaps these bad moments influenced the masterful interpretation of misery and gin.
Maury Finney 1980 (Soundwaves)
Brendan Dugan 1985 (RCA)
Billy Dean 1994 (Liberty)
Randy Hauser 2014 (Broken Bow Records)
Adam Harvey 2015 (Sony Music Australia)
Heathen Apostles 2016 (Ratchet Blade Records)
James Mitchell 2018 (JM Records)
Larry Nix 2019 (Coastal Bend Music)
Shawn Fenner 2019 (SF Music)
Jaime Wyatt 2019 (Forty Below Records)
Merle Haggard – Misery and Gin Lyrics
Memories and drinks don’t mix too well
And jukebox records don’t play those wedding bells
Looking at the world through the bottom of a glass
All I see is a man who’s fadin’ fast.
Tonight I need that woman again
What I’d give for my baby to just walk in
Sit down beside me and say it’s alright
Take me home and make sweet love to me tonight.
But here I am again mixing misery and gin
Sittin’ with all my friends and talkin’ to myself
I look like I’m havin’ a good time but any fool can tell
That this honky tonk heaven really makes you feel like hell.
I light a lonely woman’s cigarette
We start talkin’ bout what we want to forget
Her life story and mine are the same
We both lost someone and only have ourselves to blame
But here I am again…
And down deep inside I don’t believe that you want me to
And it’s not my way to take so long deciding
That I can’t be myself when I’m with you