“Copper Kettle (The Pale Moonlight)” Bob Dylan

This is an old folk song about making whiskey in a still, written by Albert Frank Beddoe, recorded by a few people (Joan Baez, Chet Atkins)—a pretty, sentimental song that frankly makes me want to set up a still out in the woods and make whiskey—just that image of the whole process—the miracle of fermentation, the science of distillation—in the great outdoors under the cover of darkness, with just the moon as your guide. Then you drink. This recording is from Bob Dylan's 1970 Self Portrait album that everyone hated because he continued singing with that Jim Nabors voice, and it was a double album, half the songs by other people. I like the record—it's got one of my favorite ever Dylan recordings, plus, why not? I made a stovetop still in high school, once I learned how in chemistry class and was able to bend glass tubes for the tube part. It worked—it's a simple process—and now, your hipster has rediscovered it—and for all of the aboveboard, artisanal, craft distillers, you've got scores of kids out in the woods, innocently making their own hootch with the realization that it's easy, good, and fun, and once you cut out the government's cut, you can make a hefty profit and potentially make a living doing what you love and not having to work for the man. Unfortunately, whenever the powers that be—whether they be organized crime, the neighborhood bully, or the government (very little, if any, difference between those three)—discover that they are not getting their cut, things can get very, very ugly.