“Milk and Alcohol” by Dr. Feelgood
There are certain cocktails that consist of both milk and alcohol, but that does not seem to be what the vocalist is referring to per se. More to the point, the titular combination is symbolic of some type of less-than-ideal reality.
For instance, earlier in the song, it is deduced that an underwhelming Black musician whom the narrator went out of his way to see perform is “on milk and alcohol”. And later, we find the vocalist being harassed by “a Black cop”, and that time around, he refers to himself subsequently being put “on milk and alcohol”. So maybe, all lyrics considered, the titular symbolism has something to do with race also.
It has been put forth that the aforementioned Black performer would be the late John Lee Hooker, and these lyrics were inspired by an experience Gypie Mayo had attending one of his concerts sometime during the 1970s.
It has also been stated that at the time, Gypie consumed an excessive amount of an alcoholic beverage known as Kahlua mixed with milk, thus explaining where he got the title from.
But to reiterate “alcohol and milk”, as presented in the lyrics, serves more of a symbolic than literal function, especially as utilized later in the song. But maybe John Lee Hooker was so flat on his feet, akin to “a White boy” as the vocalist puts it, that Mayo did conclude that maybe the musician was intoxicated on stage.
Release Date of “Milk and Alcohol”
Dr. Feelgood is a rock band from England that has been around since the early 1970s. That inaugural decade was also their most successful, as it has been over 40 years since this act appeared on the UK Albums Chart.
However, they did top the list once, in 1976, via a live album titled “Stupidity”. And there is a version of “Milk and Alcohol” featured on that project. However, the official release date of this song was during January of 1979, as featured on the group’s 1978 studio album, “Private Practice”.
As a single, this track is actually the most notable in Dr. Feelgood’s discography, being their only work to break the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart (where it peaked at number 9). Moreover this appears to be their sole song to chart in Ireland, where it impressively reached fourth place on the Irish Singles Chart.
At the time of this track’s official issuance, Dr. Feelgood was held down by vocalist Lee Brilleaux (1952-1994), guitarist Gypie Mayo (1951-2013), bassist John B. Sparks and a drummer known as The Big Figure (aka John Martin). And to note, none of them are still active in the band as of this writing.
Gypie Mayo is credited with writing this song in conjunction with Nick Lowe, and its producer is Richard Gottehrer.