A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 29, 2017
“If the ocean was whiskey and i was a duck…”

A verse has been printed on several images:

“If the ocean was vodka and I was a duck,
I’d swim to the bottom and never come up.
But the ocean’s not vodka and I’m not a duck,
So pass me a bottle and shut the fuck up!”


The folk song “Rye Whiskey” from the early 1900s has this verse:

“If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck
I’d dive to the bottom and never come up.”


This version—with a new second verse—was posted to the newsgroup alt.quit.smoking.support on June 6, 2003:

“If the ocean were whisky
And I was a duck
I’d swim to the bottom
And drink my way up
But the ocean’s not whisky
And I’m not a duck
So pass me the bottle
And shut the fuck up”


A version (by the same poster) with “vodka” instead of “whiskey” appeared a few days later.


Wikipedia: Rye whiskey (disambiguation)
Rye whiskey generally refers to whiskies distilled from rye.

In music it may refer to:

. “Way Up on Clinch Mountain”, a traditional Scottish folk song, recorded as
. .."Rye Whiskey” by country and western singer Tex Ritter in the 1930s
. .."Rye Whiskey” by folk singer Woody Guthrie
. “Jack of Diamonds”, another traditional song sometimes known as “Rye Whiskey”

Wikipedia: Jack of Diamonds (song)
Jack of Diamonds (a.k.a. Jack o’ Diamonds and Jack of Diamonds (Is a Hard Card to Play)) is a traditional folk song. It is a Texas gambling song that was popularized by Blind Lemon Jefferson. It was sung by railroad men who had lost money playing conquian. At least twelve white artists recorded the tune before World War II. The song has been recorded under various titles such as “A Corn Licker Still in Georgia” (Riley Puckett) and “Rye Whiskey” (Tex Ritter).

12 April 1913, San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, “Song of the American Cowboy,” pg. 24?, col. 2:
They also drank to an extent which inspired:

“If the ocean was whisky an’ I was a duck
I’d dive to the bottom for one sweet suck.”

Google Books
Cowboy Songs, and Other Frontier Ballads
Collected by John Avery Lomax
New York, NY: The MacMillan Company
1922
Pp. 293-294 ("Jack o’ Diamonds” song lyrics):
If the ocean was whiskey,
And I was a duck,
I’d dive to the bottom
To get one sweet sup.

But the ocean ain’t whiskey
And I ain’t a duck,
So I’ll play Jack o’ diamonds
And then we’ll get drunk.

Google Books
American Ballads and Folk Songs
By John A. Lomax and Alan Lomax
New York, NY: Macmillan Co.
1934
Pp. 171-172 ("Rye Whiskey” song lyrics):
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 we’ll round up the cattle
And then we’ll get drunk.

Google Books
Five Blind Men;
Poems

By Dan Gerber
Fremont, MI: Sumac Press
1969
Pg. 44:
If the ocean was whiskey, and I was a duck, I’d dive to the bottom and never come up.

Google Groups: alt.quit.smoking.support
YAHOO 1 Month
turco
6/6/03
(...)
If the ocean were whisky
And I was a duck
I’d swim to the bottom
And drink my way up

But the ocean’s not whisky
And I’m not a duck
So pass me the bottle
And shut the fuck up

Google Groups: alt.quit.smoking.support
A Little Poem
turco
6/18/03
I, too, have a poem that I read when times are down. I’ve already published it to the group, but here it is again.

If the ocean were vodka
And I was a duck
I’d swim to the bottom
And drink my way up

But the ocean’s not vodka
And I’m not a duck
So pass me the bottle
And shut the fuck up

(A little crude there at the end, I admit. But its somebody else’s poem and its not up to me to change it.)

Twitter
BAESICK‏
@jungjumom
If the ocean was vodka and i was a duck i’d swim to the bottom and never come up.
9:31 PM - 23 Jun 2009

Facebook
Jt Liquor
23 November 2011 ·
“If the ocean was vodka and i was a duck i’d swim to the bottom and never come up. But the ocean’s not vodka and i am not a duck so pass me a bottle and shut the f**k up!” that’s a morning toast!

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Saturday, April 29, 2017 • Permalink