Beer Barrel Polka

by Lew Brown, Waldimir A. Timm, and Jaromir Vejvoda (1934, Helen and Virgil Wikoff Family Sheet Music Collection)

with Nolan Vallier, graduate assistant

Czechoslovakian musician, Jaromir Vejvoda, originally composed the Beer Barrel Polka in 1927 under the title Wasted Love.  Its original lyrics were about youthful lost love, but Tin Pan Alley publisher Shapiro Bernstein acquired the rights to the song in 1934 after the repeal of Prohibition, and he and Lew Brown created a new set of lyrics to the song, which Bernstein titled Beer Barrel Polka.

There’s a garden, what a garden, 
Only happy faces bloom there
And there’s never any room there
For a worry or a gloom there!

Oh! There’s music and there’s dancing
And a lot of sweet romancing 
When they play a polka, they all get in the swing:

Ev’ry time they hear that oom-pa-pa 
Ev’rybody feels so tra-la-la
They want to throw their cares away
They all go lah-de-ah-de-ay!
Then they hear a rumble on the floor, the floor, 
It's the big surprise they're waiting for.
And all the couples form a ring,
For miles around you'll hear them sing...

Roll out the barrel, we'll have a barrel of fun;
Roll out the barrel; we've got the blues on the run.
Zing boom tararrel, ring out a song of good cheer;
Now's the time to roll the barrel, for the gang's all here.

Recordings of the song were not popularized until 1939 when the Andrews Sisters first recorded it.  The Glenn Miller Orchestra, the Benny Goodman Orchestra, and Billie Holiday made additional recordings of it shortly afterward.

“Roll Out the Barrel” from 100 Polka Classics by The Accordion Polka Band. Released: 2009.