Sunlight on Moonshine
LYNN M. HODGES

Kentucky’s fame rests with its beautiful blue-grass
farms and racehorses. In west Kentucky, people once
associated between the rivers with another type of
fame, moonshine.
Moonshine, called White Mule, made areas like
Golden Pond famous. Yet the story behind moonshine
is likely just as important. Mix a Scot-Irish heritage
with poor soil, poorer crops, and a national
depression, and you have a snapshot of conditions
between the rivers. In this setting, liquid corn met
many needs.





Ballad of the White Mule Brew
LYNN M. HODGES


Pro’bition said the law,
An’ demon rum must go,
But moonshine is the worse of all,
‘Cause lawmen say it’s so.

No taxes paid on white-mule brew,
Gave moonshine its fame,
Even after the pro’bition days,
The lawmen felt the same.

Taxes meant a Federal stamp,
Like the ones on Louisville’s.
Yet money spent on a stamp like that
Could build a hundred stills.

“Outlaws!” said the lawmen,
‘Cause liquor tax ain’t paid.
You can’t sell that lightnin’ brew.
It’s poison when home-made.

Find the folk that cook the mash,
An’ mix the sugared brew,
Send them off to Eddyville’s pen
‘Till they serve the sentence due.

But folk between the rivers,
Both Kentuck’ and Tennessee,
Just smiled and went back to the stills,
Hidden ‘mong the Greenwood trees.

The Greenwood people brewed their own
Ever since the settlin’ days,
A legacy of their kinfolk past,
The Scot-Irish ways.

Traditions run deep in the family clans,
More than a lawman’s gun,
An’ brewing at home was a way of life
In the mind of a Greenwood son.

A strugglin’ life was the river’s price
From the time a man was born,
An’ money crops were fairy tales,
So he grew a liquid corn.

With Ol’ Center and the Iron Banks gone,
An’ the woods a getting’ thin,
Livin’ was a heavy load,
An’ moonshine…just lawman’s sin.

“Live if you can” the lawman said,
“If you don’t…die you will.
But Eddyville’s bars are waitin’ in Hell,
If I find your moonshine still!”

But when families needed food to eat,
Or shoes for a child or two,
Salvation came from a copper-tubed still,
And Kentucky’s white-mule brew.

So folk between the rivers,
Both Kentuck’ and Tennessee,
Just smiled and went back to the stills,
Hidden ‘mong the Greenwood trees.






DISCLAIMER

No part of this book should be copied, reprinted or reposted without permission or consent of Lynn M. Hodges.
Posted on Between The Rivers.org with permission of Lynn M. Hodges