Original recorded version
78 rpm record on Regal Zonophone, B-side of Saddle Boy. Recorded April 1957, released September 1957, charted in Australia from January 1958 when it entered the Melbourne charts.
Followed by The Answer To A Pub With No Beer YouTube, Sequel To A Pub With No Beer and The Pub Rock.
Slim Dusty (1927-2003): revered country music legend, an enduring and extraordinarily prolific recording and touring artist, born David Gordon Kirkpatrick in Kempsey, NSW.
This is a much-recorded song. Apart from those featured on this page, APRA notes versions by: Anne Kirkpatrick & Slim Dusty, Bluey Francis, Errol Gray, Foster & Allen, Gordon Parsons, The Irish Rovers, Johnny Greenwood, John Williamson, Nokturnl, Richard Clayderman, Rodney Vincent, The Singing Kettles, Stewart Peters and The Ten Tenors. Other sources mention versions by Johnny Ashcroft, The Pogues, Danny O'Flaherty, Patsy Watchorn, The Clancy Brothers, Merv Allen & The Jimmy Johnston Showband and Wilson Cole.
Slim Dusty and Gordon Parsons perform the song in duet on the 2002 album Side By Side: The Dusty Collaborations.
Johnny Cash performed a variation of the song on stage YouTube, and suggested it to Tom T. Hall (see below).
Gordon Parsons wrote and performed A Pub With No Beer while on tour with The Slim Dusty Show in 1956.
Gordon Parsons (1926-1990), known as 'The Yodelling Bushman', was an experienced entertainer in his own right who first recorded for EMI in 1946. He was admitted to the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1982.
Slim recalled Gordon Parsons finishing the song over a late night bottle of whisky with Chad Morgan, the comic country singer he was sharing a caravan with:
Gordon was not recording at that time, and because I was going to record again early in the next year and was short of one song, I
asked him if I could use it. Gordon didn't mind, it was just another one of his ditties to him.
(Slim Dusty & Joy McKean, Slim Dusty: Another Day, Another Town, Pan Macmillan, 1996, pp114-115.)
The 1996 CD The Slim Dusty Show: Live in Townsville 1956 includes Gordon Parsons singing A Pub With No Beer, recorded at Townsville's Theatre Royale by a member of the audience [available at slimdusty.com.au].
Further reading: Gordon Parsons timeline at Australian Country Music Hall of Fame.
Original source of lyrics.
Poem written by Irish-born sugarcane farmer Dan Sheahan, published in a Queensland newspaper in 1943.
A Pub Without Beer was adapted for A Pub With No Beer by Gordon Parsons who apparently believed it was an anonymous work in the public domain. Dan Sheahan's contribution was later acknowledged by Slim Dusty.
Further reading: 1. Text of Dan Sheahan's A Pub Without Beer alongside the lyrics of the song "A Pub With No Beer" at thepubwithnobeer.com.au. 2. Dan Sheehan biography at AustLit (log-in may be required).
Often cited as the melody of A Pub With No Beer. It is unclear whether this was a case of intentional or unconscious borrowing. As Paul Byrnes at Australian Screen notes, No-one noticed until many years later that the tune is almost identical to ‘Beautiful Dreamer’.
Written in 1862 and published posthumously in 1864, Beautiful Dreamer is one of the best-known songs of Stephen Foster (1826-1864), a professional songwriter from Pittsburgh who also wrote such evergreens as Oh, Susannah, Old Folks At Home and Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair.
A version of Beautiful Dreamer by Roy Orbison charted in Australia in the summer of 1963-64 (double-sided hit with the A-side Pretty Paper, #6 Sydney #7 Melbourne #3 Adelaide).
Further reading: Stephen Foster biography at the University of Pittsburgh's Centre for American Music.
Single on Sony, a Flemish translation of A Pub With No Beer by Bobbejaan Schoepen (1925-2010), known as The Belgian John Wayne, a popular singer and entertainer in Belgium and neighbouring countries. The artist's name on the single is simply Bobbejaan.
Bobbejaan's Flemish Dutch and German versions of A Pub With No Beer made the song hugely popular in Belgium, Austria and Germany, where it is still a well-remembered classic oldie.
Thanks to Tom Schoepen, Bobbejaan's son and biographer, for additional details and links.
German-language version of A Pub With No Beer YouTube, a Top 10 hit in Germany, also released in Austria.
The title means "I stand at the bar without any money".
Rolf Harris: Australian singer, songwriter, artist and TV entertainer, long resident in the UK, whose Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport (1960) was a hit in Australia, Britain and the USA. See also Sun Arise and Two Little Boys.
Single on Houston label Hall-Way by Texan country singer Benny Barnes (1934-1985) whose biggest hit was his co-composition Poor Man's Riches (1956, #2 Country). He also released Bar With No Beer in 1967 on Kapp.
Disambiguation 1: This is not the Bar With No Beer later recorded by Tom T. Hall. Benny's bar is closer to Slim's pub.
Disambiguation 2: There was another country rock singer called Benny Barnes (1945-2015), from Sioux City, Iowa.
Further reading: 1. Benny
Barnes bio & discography at Discographie Rock 'N' Country. 2. Notes and partial discography at Rockin' Country Style. 3.
Bio at AllMusic.
Thanks to Tom K. White for the version alert.
45cat.com also shows singles from Belgian & NZ.
On live LP Cutler of the West, on Columbia.
The lyrics have been reworked, Wurzels style: In Adge's version it has a happy ending… the pub may not have any beer, but there's plenty of cider! (Wurzelmania).
The lyrics have been rewritten in an American context, initially credited to Hall but rectified on later pressings. Here, where the wild dingoes call becomes where the buffalo roam. See full lyrics at Lyrics On Demand.
Further reading: Pub with no beer wars with Tom T Hall at Dave's Diary at NuCountry TV. The page has many other details about Slim Dusty.
On 2001 album Marginal EP.
Remake of Cafe Zonder Bier, Bobbejaan Schoeper's 1959 Flemish Dutch language version of Pub With No Beer (see above).
This was also heard in Dead Man Ray's 1999 updated soundtrack to the film De ordonnans (1962; Belgian Flemish title Café zonder bier).