Jack o' Diamonds (Rye Whiskey) by Tex Ritter


Jack o' Diamonds, Jack o' Diamonds and I know you of old
You've robbed my poor pockets of silver and gold
It's a whiskey, you villain, you've been my downfall
You've kicked me, you've cuffed me, but I love you for all and...

It's a whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry
If I don't get rye whiskey, well, I think I will die

It's Beefsteak when I'm hungry rye whiskey when I'm dry
Greenbacks when I'm hard up, heaven when I die
I'll go tea and a holler and I'll build me a still,
I'll give you a gallon for a five dollar bill.

Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry
If a tree don't fall on me, I'll live till I die

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck
I'd dive to the bottom and never come up
Now the ocean ain't whiskey and I ain't a duck
I'll play Jack O' diamonds and trust to my luck

Rye whiskey, rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry
If whisky don't kill me, I'll live till I die




There are many variations on this song. Below are more verses not sung in this version. These unsung lyrics are more dark and morbid that the above lyrics. These alternate lyrics highlight the death and evil that drinking will bring on one's life and act as a forshadowing of things to come:

I'm a rambler, I'm a gambler, I'm a long way from home;
And if you don't like me, Just leave me alone.
I'll eat when I'm hungry, I'll drink when l'm dry,
If the hard times don't kill me, I'll live till I die.

Sweet milk when l'm hungry, Rye whisky when l'm dry,
If a tree don't fall on me, I'll live till I die.
Rye whisky, rye whisky, Rye whisky, I cry,
If you don't give me rye whisky, I surely will die.

For work I'm too lazy, Investment's too slow
Train robbin's too risky, It's gamblin' I'll go.
I'll tune up my fiddle, And I 'll rosin my bow,
I'll make myself welcome, Wherever I go.

Beefsteak when l'm hungry, Rye Whiskey when I'm dry
Greenbacks when I'm hard up, And religion when I die.
They say I drink whisky, My money's my own;
All them that don't like me, Can leave me alone.

Sometimes I drink whisky, Sometimes I drink rum,
Sometimes I drink brandy, At other times none.
But if I get boozy, My whisky's my own,
And them that don't like me, Can leave me alone.

If the ocean was whisky, And I was a duck,
I'd dive to the bottom, To get one sweet suck.
But the ocean ain't whisky, And I ain't a duck,
So I'll play Jack of Diamonds, And trust to my luck.

My foot's in my stirrup, My bridle's in my hand,
I'm leaving sweet Lillie, The fairest in the land.
Her parents don't like me, They say l'm too poor;
They say I'm unworthy, To enter her door.

I'll buy my own whisky, I'll make my own stew,
If I get drunk, madam, It's nothing to you.
I'll drink my own whisky,I'll drink my own wine,
Some ten thousand bottles, I've killed in my time.

I've no wife to quarrel, No babies to bawl;
The best way of living, Is no wife at all.
Way up on Clinch Mountain, I wander alone,
I'm as drunk as the devil, Oh, let me alone.

You may boast of your knowledge An' brag of your sense,
'Twill all be forgotten, A hundred years hence.
In my little log cabin,Ever since I been born,
Dere ain't been no nothin' - 'Cept dat hard salt, parched corn.

But I know whar's a henhouse, De turkey he charve;
An, if ol' Massa don' kill me, I cain't never starve.
Rye whisky, rye whisky, You're no friend to me;
You killed my poor daddy, Goddamn you, try me.