MARCH 29 — The honky-tonk piano player, vocalist, and songwriter who allegedly (and famously) said “You’ve gotta make the bottles bounce on those tables” was born on this date in 1909 in Polk County, Texas. Aubrey “Moon” Mullican’s propulsive style at the keyboard did just that, adding left-handed boogie-woogie to straight-ahead hillbilly vocals and melodies. Although his biggest tune was one called “I’ll Sail My Ship Alone,” it seems to me that he especially shines on the boogie stuff like “Pipeliner’s Blues” and “Cherokee Boogie.” And, even though he was a bit past his prime when rockabilly came along, for my money he was one of its earliest practitioners.
Incidentally, there’s a persistent rumor that he co-wrote the lyrics for the Hank Williams classic “Jambalaya” as the two artists were riding together after a gig, throwing lines back and forth. Williams, however, is the only one credited.