Half Empty Bottle of Wild Irish Rose – George Jones


One of my fond memories growing up was sitting in my Dad’s 1980 Ford F150 listening to an 8-track also from 1980. George Jones’ “I am what I am”.  I was 8 years old and hadn’t discovered heavy metal yet.  My favorite song was “He stopped loving her today”

The truck was new, the 8-track was fairly new and yet only after playing it a few hundred times we had to fold a book of matches, squeeze it in along the left side of the tape.  This highly technical procedure was the only way to get music to sound country as intended instead of slooooow scary drawn out country. Think of what music would sound like after getting shot with a horse  tranquilizer! Exactly!

George Jones was a childhood hero of mine.  Hard drinking and fast living with a song for every heart ache.  What’s not to love.  I spent many summer days just sitting in Dad’s truck with the keys half turned in the drive way.  The windows down or the doors open, baking in the hot sun. The only 8-track we had was in that truck. What choice did I have?

Good ‘Ole George just keeps on trucking from the 1950′s to 2013. George Jones’ last tour is this year. Details here.

I really enjoy one of his later works Wild Irish Rose. The lyrics could stand on their own as a pretty good poem. Here’s a video of him singing it in 1998.  

Pasting in the lyrics below.  I hope you enjoy it.

Wild Irish Rose Lyrics

They sent him to Asia to fight in a war
He came back home crazy and asking, “What for?”
They had him committed oh, medals and all
To a mental hospital with rubber walls

They cut off the funding oh, they cut off the lights

He hit the street runnin’ that cold winter night
Now the streets are the only place he can call home
He seems oh so lonely, but he’s never alone

He lies there holding his Wild Irish Rose

This crazy old fool in the smelly old clothes
He could have had something much better, God knows
Than a half-empty bottle of Wild Irish Rose

A baby named Scarlet with laughing blue eyes

Has been in his wallet, ah way back since ’65
So much was forgotten, oh so far back in time
Way down in the bottom of a river of wine

You know, they found him at Clark street, West 25th

They can’t even find a heartbeat Lord, his fingers are stiff
Just like they’re all frozen, he’s holding her tight
But the habit oh, it’s broken, this is Roses’ last night

He lies there holding his Wild Irish Rose

But his soul’s in a place where a real hero goes
Now he’s got something better much better, God knows
Than a half-empty bottle of Wild Irish Rose


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