Drowning in Beer (Erik Frandsen)

A classic that somehow has not appeared on the internet yet, as far as I know — though I’m sure there are at least a few dozen people who know it, and far more who love it. It was written by the munificently multi-talented Erik Frandsen, and I learned it off the same homemade tape on which Erik played Tom Hobson’s epic masterpiece, “Fancy-Pants Gambling Man.”

I got to hear Erik live a year or so later at Folk City, with Dave Van Ronk at my elbow, grumbling about what a great guitarist Erik was and explaining that he practiced while watching the Mets — which led to a brief period when I practiced while watching the Red Sox, until the salt from my tears wore the varnish off my J45. (Those were the days before the Sox became a rich and winning team and I lost interest.)

I heard Erik again a few years later at the Speak Easy on MacDougal — not a full set, but he’d drop across the street from his apartment now and then, and I recall a night when a typically maudlin young singer-songwriter performed a typically solipsistic paean to his deeply meaningful angst, and Erik took the stage immediately afterward and sang a tender saloon ballad with the self-explanatory title, “I’m So Fucking Sensitive.”

Anyway, Erik is still a terrific guitarist, but far more successful as an actor, and you’ve probably seen him on television, one way or another. Which is all well and good, but damn… he also wrote “Drowning in Beer,” and I would have thought someone would have erected a monument in his honor by now for that alone. And, by the by, why hasn’t Willie Nelson recorded this?

(Incidentally, it strikes me that this would be an excellent companion piece to one of my few legit bits of family folklore, my father’s Yiddish dialect parody of “The Face on the Barroom Floor,” which I really need to film and post at some point in this Songobiography, because the written text does not do it justice.)