Road to Perdition - POPULAR PROHIBITION-ERA SONGS

As the prohibition crusade gained momentum, popular songs expressed the plight of families devastated by alcohol abuse. The Library of Congress contains many examples. Here are a few of the best:

  • "The Drunkard’s Child"
    You ask me why so oft, father
    The tear rolls down my cheek
    And think it strange that I should own
    A grief I dare not speak.

    But oh my soul is very
    sad
    My brain is almost wild
    It breaks my heart to think that I
    Am called a drunkard’s child.
  • "The Lips that Touch Liquor Shall Never Touch Mine"

  • "Take the Sparkling Wine Away"

  • "A Parody on Uncle Sam’s Farm"
    The drunkard is so foolish that he will money waste,
    On liquor, when there’s water more pleasant to the taste;
    The water is much cheaper, and much more healthy too,
    And never makes a man a fool - which liquors often do.

    It never yet caused people to quarrel and to fight,
    Or come home intoxicated at twelve o’clock at night.
    Cold water never caused man in the gutter to be found,
    And never, as I know of, to feel upward for the ground.
  • "Poor Drunkard’s Child"

Some towns and states succumbed to the pressure, passing laws that abolished alcoholic beverages long before the 18th amendment required it. Popular songs, celebrating such victories, tried to convince men that living in a "dry" town did have some benefits. One notable example makes the point:

"I Never Knew I Had a Wonderful Wife Until the Town Went Dry."
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