Although Roger Miller is usually grouped with country music singers….his unique style defies easy classification…..cuz many of his recordings were humorous novelty songs with whimsical lyrics….which was coupled with scat singing or vocalese riffs filled with nonsense syllables…..while others were sincere ballads which caught the public’s fancy….as with his signature song, “King of the Road”….when the biographical book Ain’t Got No Cigarettes described Miller as an “uncategorizable talent”….and stated that many regarded him as a genius.
Miller’s whimsical lyrics and nonsense sounding style led to him writing and performing songs for children’s films such as “Oo-de-Lally” for the Disney animated film Robin Hood. During his most successful years as a songwriter and singer, Miller’s music was placed in the country genre due to his somewhat country or folk sounding voice….along with his use of an acoustic guitar.
On his own style, Miller remarked that he “tried to do” things like other artists….but that it “always came out different”….so he got frustrated until realizing “I’m the only one that knows what I’m thinking.” He commented that the favorite song that he wrote was “You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd”….which he sings live in concert at Austin City Limits in 1983. Johnny Cash discussed Miller’s bass vocal range in his 1997 autobiography…..as he stated that it was the closest to his own that he had heard.
“Chug-a-Lug” is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Roger Miller….as the song reached # 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1964….while becoming his second pop hit…..as the song is a humorous reminiscence of youthful encounters with homemade alcoholic beverages. The expression “chug-a-lug” refers to quickly downing a drink….and the lyrics describe the singer’s reaction to the extra-strong liquor….as evidenced by “I swallered it with a smile / (sound of swallowing) / I run ten mile! Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug / Makes you want to holler, ‘Hi-dee-ho!’ / Burns your tummy, don’t ya know / Chug-a-lug, chug-a-lug.”….while Miller said that the song was based on a true story of a friend of his who “could drink a beer in 3 seconds”.