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Podcast Summary:

“Anyway, I’ll Drink to That” is a Boozn Sam’s production, exploring the fun, quirky, and fascinating tales of drinks that define culture, history and the world. Every drink has a story to tell, and I’m going to tell it…as true as I can. Hosted by Sam, from Boozn Sam’s. Saddle up with a good cocktail and give me a few minutes of your time for a mystery surrounding a drink that changed the world.

Episode 25 Notes:

Sep was a legendary man, but his wit and critique of politics led him to a jail cell and a life changing experience. His experience has shaped the lives of millions today too, and gave us a story, about a drink, that many of us already know.

Transcript of Podcast:

*This is the entire podcast episode in written form. Do not read if you want the audio version to be spoiled.

Uncle Nate went to see his nephew Sep in jail. He hoped that he could help him. He hoped that he could get him out. He was 57 then. An old man. But, not so old and not so forgotten that he didn’t have sway. After all, Sep was in jail because of art, and it was art that Nathanial Hawthorne had spent his whole life creating.

He’d created many famous works as a novelist and short story writer. They were different than the works Sep created. But, Sep was younger. He was of a different generation. He’d come of age during the civil war. Saw blood. Saw death. Saw people killing each other because of race and hate. 

And the charges against Sep were steep. If he was guilty he would die. That was the way it went when you were accused of treason. The country was divided. Risks couldn’t be taken. So, Uncle Nate knew that it was foolish for Sep to do what he’d done. But, he also knew that Sep was still honing his craft. Still finding his voice. He just hoped that his voice wouldn’t put him in front of a firing squad.

For Sep, things had started out innocent enough. He had wrote a song, like many of his other songs. A commentary. A light hearted song. A song as a critique of the times. After all, what good was the freedom of speech if you could speak, out when you had something to say. So, Sep spoke. 

And he was surprised to hear how many listened. At this point he’d published ballads under the name Alice Hawthorne. He published so many and with such skill that they became famous as Hawthornes Ballads.

He published under other pen names too. Male pen names. Some songs he sold to the highest bitter, because an artist had to make a living. But, Sep had many ways of making a living. 

He was a self taught musician. A teacher. A performer. And a publisher. In short, Sep was vertically integrated.

Vertical integration. It’s a business concept where you own every step along the production line. If you’re making tires. You own the rubber tree plantation. You own the rubber manufacturing facility. You own the tire shop that sells the rubber tires.

It’s a way to provide security for your business. And a way to create multiple revenue streams, while also decreasing your expenses. 

So Sep wrote the musical notes for a piece. Sep wrote the lyrics. Sep performed the music. Sep published the music. This also meant that Sep could publish whatever the heck he wanted. 

And he did just that. He chose to writ some very interesting songs. He choose to write a ton of drinking songs, because this was Philadelphia and he was German. He chose, to be prolific. 

Sep wrote over 200 instruction books on 23 different instruments… all of which he’d taught himself how to play. 

Sep, also, at this time 1862, had written almost 1,000 songs. Many of which you know. But, this song, the song that got him court martialed and tossed in jail for treason, you probably don’t know. 

He wrote a song about a general. General George McClellan. A general Abraham Lincoln had just fired. General George was also a well liked man. And Sep’s song sold 80,000 copies in two days. 

He hadn’t expected it. But, he wasn’t unhappy about it either. Others, were not as happy. And they threw him in jail on treason charges. Which carried a penalty of death. Which brought his uncle Nathanial Hawthorne out of his home and trying to talk some sense into those that brought charges against him. 

Sep was eventually released, but he had to compromise. He felt dirty about it. He felt like Tom, who was no doubt the one that had ratted him out for the song, was hiding around the next street corner trash talking his good name. 

But, Sep wasn’t ready to die. Sep had more music to write. So, he promised to destroy any remaining copies of the song and forget all about it. That was in 1862. He left something behind in that jail. A part of him. And when he went back to writing music, which he most surely went back to writing music. He wrote some very famous works, and at least one work, about a drink, that you likely haven’t heard of.

Two years later he wrote a popular drinking song you’ve surely heard of. It was called “Oh where oh where, has my little dog gone.”

You probably know the lyrics. Or heard some version of the nursery rhythm. 

Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone

Oh where oh where, can he be.

His ears cut short and his tail cut long

Oh where oh where, is he.

Buuuuttt, what you probably don’t know is the rest of the verses of this song. Because this song was not a nursery song for little boys and girls. 

This song…was a drinking song. And that’s why the next three versus were cut out. Because they are most definitely not appropriate for innocent ears. 

A sausage is good, bologna of course

Oh where, oh where, can he be

They make them with dog and they make them with horse

I guest they makes them with me.

There is also the slightly unhinged original version of ten little Indians. You might have remembered this song from childhood. A fun, nursery rhyme to help you count to ten. Or, you might not, because I’m pretty sure it’s been deemed inappropriate as a song today, because it’s about Native Americans and the term Indians is used. 

But, that’s actually not the inappropriate part of the song, and since I’m a native to America, I was born here after all, I’ll share the original version of the song with you. It’s the version made as another drinking song, about the indigenous people of North America… which Christopher Columbus originally called Indians because he thought he’d reached The West Indies. 

I think you might find, that the piece was written in satire, especially with the way the word Indian is pronounced. And if you don’t… I honestly don’t care. This is a podcast about history, society and culture. I’m not arrogant enough to think I should, one hundred and sixty years removed from context, pass judgment on something. I’m here because there is a whole world out there of things that have happened in the past that are very fascinating. And this is one of them. So, the original version.

Here we go. A one. A Two. A one, two, three.

Ten little Injuns standin’ in a line, One toddled home and then there were nine; 

Nine little Injuns swingin’ on a gate, One tumbled off and then there were eight. 

One little, two little, three little, four little, five little Injun boys, Six little, seven little, eight little, nine little, ten little Injun boys. 

Eight little Injuns gayest under heav’n. One went to sleep and then there were seven; 

Seven little Injuns cuttin’ up their tricks, One broke his neck and then there were six. 

Six little Injuns all alive, One kicked the bucket and then there were five; 

Five little Injuns on a cellar door, One tumbled in and then there were four. 

Four little Injuns up on a spree, One got fuddled and then there were three; 

Three little Injuns out on a canoe, One tumbled overboard and then there were two. 

Two little Injuns foolin’ with a gun, One shot t’other and then there was one; 

One little Injun livin’ all alone, He got married and then there were none

These two songs were common songs written by Sep. It was the satire, fun drinking type of song he wrote. And there was one more that he wrote, about a drink, which is why I’m telling this story at all. 

Because he wrote about a man named Tom. Tom was a slippery figure. Tom was a scoundrel. Tom liked to talk mean behind everyone’s back. Tom thought he was better than other poeple. Tom thought he was elevated. Tom thought he was funny. Tom judged people, like you’d might be judging me now. 

Or, like you might be judging the songs above. I’m not saying you’re a scoundrel. Or, a slippery figure. I’m just telling you how Tom was.

Tom liked to talk about other people to his friends. Tom liked to spread rumors. 

So, Sep got his friends over at the publishing house W. H. Boner and Co. to publish a little diddy about him. That was what Sep did. That was how Sep ended up in jail on treason charges.

But, this time, no one disagreed with the song. It was another drinking song, about a man, everyone hated. And it goes like this. 

Verse 1:

Tom is my name, I beg leave to state. 

You’ve heard of me, I dare suppose. 

Quite often here of late.

Chorus:

I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere. 

But rather hard to find

Don’t attempt to look me up, unless you’re well inclined.

Verse 2:

I count myself a gentleman, or something of the sort

Tho’ many may seem inclined to take me as a common sport

I’m willing to apologize, and reach my hand to all

Who are inclined to wait on me and give a friendly call

Chorus:

I’m here, I’m there, I’m everywhere. 

But rather hard to find

Don’t attempt to look me up, unless you’re well inclined.

Verse 3:

I’ll tell you how it is my friends and you will all agree

Some wretches without heart or soul, are fooling you and me

So let us keep our tempers straight, and take the joke as fair

We’ll get along much better boys, in acting on the square

It was a beautiful piece about a scoundrel of a man. Tom. But, Tom had more of a story to tell.

You see, Tom was not a man at all. Tom was a joke. And nothing more. 

A prank one played on a friend at the bar that’d go something like this. 

“Hey did you hear what Tom said about you?”

Friend, takes a sip. “No, what?”

“Well, Tom said you’re a no good, dirty playing, cheat. And he’s right outside. Just around the corner.”

At which point your infuriated friend will slam down his drink, head outside and look around the corner at the end of the block. Of course tom isn’t there, becuase tom is just a prank. A couple friends throwing back some drinks and messing with each other. 

But, a bartender saw the opportunity. So he took Tom, and he made him into a drink. 

Gin. Lemon. Sugar. And club soda.

And he called the drink, after the devilish prankster himself. 

Tom Collins. 

And Sep Winner… well, he would go on to write almost 1,500 songs over his lifetime. One of his popular songs, Listen to the Mockingbird,” about a lost lover and written under the name of Alice Hawthorne (The Hawthorne name taken from his mom’s brother and famous author Nathaniel Hawthorne) that sold over 15 million copies. In 1855.

Sep’s hard work and sense of humor would pay off. In the year 1970 he was inducted into the Songwriters hall of fame for his prolific contributions to music.

And Tom Collins, well Tom Collins got a permanent song and a drink named after him.

Anyway… I’ll drink to that.