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Q: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine' ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: har168421-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 23 Oct 2004 16:21 PDT
Expires: 22 Nov 2004 15:21 PST
Question ID: 419080
I have googled and googled for this (maybe)70's country/rock tune. All
I can remember is what I think is the words for part of the chorus:

...Wheat Rice and Wine
show me a sign
and I'll be willin'.....

Clarification of Question by har168421-ga on 24 Oct 2004 08:36 PDT
Not sure why this has been locked since I posted it, but I am just
looking for recording artist, writer and lyrics.

I used to hear it at venues in Jacksonville, FL in the late 70's/early
80's. I'm not sure if it was written by one of the local CSNY/Byrds
inspired rock/country/bluegrass/great harmony acts that were happening
in Jax at the time. Notable of which were 'Cowboy' (Scott Boyer),
'Tumbleweed', and 'Cowford County Band'. Or if it was recorded by
someone more nationally known - Emylou Harris maybe.

Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 24 Oct 2004 20:47 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
The song you're seeking is called Willin'. It was written by Lowell
George, a member of the band "Little Feat." Although Little Feat
recorded the song first, the best-known version was sung by Linda
Ronstadt, who got lots of radio airplay with it. The song is on
Ronstadt's multi-platinum album "Heart Like a Wheel" (1974).

My friend and colleague knowledgeseeker-ga has been kind enough to
share this link to Ronstadt's version of Willin':

Linda Ronstadt: Willin' 

The phrase which you recall as "wheat, rice and wine" isn't an
agricultural reference. It's actually a drug reference: weed, whites
and wine ("weed" being marijuana, and "whites" referring to

"And I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari
 Tehachapi to Tonopah
 Driven every kind of rig that's ever been made
 Driven the backroads so I wouldn't get weighed
 And if you give me weed, whites and wine
 And you show me a sign
 And I'll be willin' to be movin'..."

Linda Ronstadt Lyrics: Willin'

Here you'll find a history of the many versions of Willin' that have been recorded:

AllMusic: Willin'

Google search strategy:

Google Web Search: "lowell george" willin lyrics

I hope this is useful! If anything is unclear or incomplete, or if
you'd like help in locating a particular recording, please request
clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before you
rate my answer.

Best regards,

Clarification of Answer by pinkfreud-ga on 03 Nov 2004 14:06 PST
The link to Linda Ronstadt's version of Willin' no longer functions. I
hope everyone enjoyed it, and again I thank my friend and colleague
knowledgeseeker-ga for providing it.

har168421-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
Ha Ha! I always thought wheat, rice and wine was a wierd combination
no matter what level of drug usage was involved. This has been driving
me crazy for years. Almost as been as trying to find the song I loved
as a six year old (little bit o soul). Thank You. The tip is for
giving me way more than I expected.

Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: voila-ga on 24 Oct 2004 21:09 PDT
Anything to go to the Lowell George place is always a treat.  He was
one of the most inventive songwriters of our time and Willin' is one
of his classics.  I was hoping to snag this question but couldn't grab
the lock.

I hope this information is helpful to you or any LG/Little Feat fans.




Interviews with LG

"Before the end of Lowell George's stay with The Mothers, the seeds
that were to eventually grow into Little Feat had already been sown.
Lowell had been writing songs throughout this period, and he recorded
a demo of one of them, "Willin'" which featured Ry Cooder on
bottleneck guitar."

Neon Guitar

"Lowell George, the "Orson Welles Of Rock", according to Jackson
Browne, referred to his songs as "cracked mosaics", their convoluted
chord changes revealing a keen sense of the absurd. "That was the way
he built his music," said Neon Park, designer of the classic Little
Feat album covers, "building logical networks, then inserting key
moments of insanity."

"As a child, George appeared with his brother on Ted Mack's "Original
Amateur Hour" performing a harmonica duet. George also learned to play
oboe and baritone saxophone and played the instruments for several
Frank Sinatra sessions."

Covers of Willin'

Rerecorded most famously by Linda Ronstadt on "Heart Like a Wheel" (1974)

Song Facts about Willin'

Self-titled (1971)
"Truck driving anthems like the group?s original version of their
classic ?Willin?? characterizes their love for wide-open spaces and a
sense of adventure. Most of these tales revolve around weary
travelers. No matter how much the grit of the road wears on them, when
the dust clears the have characters survive on their invincible human
spirit inside"

Whites (amphetamines used by truckers)

"Mini-whites, or white crosses, are usually bootleg amphetamine,
either homemade or "imported" from Mexico. The dosage of whites can
range from 2.5 to - 10 mg, making them particularly dangerous because
the quantity ingested is unknown."

From the Hoy Hoy Digest

"I've been from Tucson to Tucumcari Tehachapi to Tonapah . . ." 
thereby describing an area (spanning 5 states) of America's great
Southwest that has served as inspiration for artists for generations,
and for thousands of years before that - as the sacred landscape of
the Native Americans who called it home."

More on Little Feat CDs

The Doctor Is In

Additional LG recommends:  "Kiss It Off," "Mercenary Territory, "Spanish Moon."

We miss, LG.
Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: julicollins-ga on 25 Oct 2004 00:05 PDT
This site contains a history of the song, the lyrics and two versions
sung by the author (in .wav format):

Willin' by Lowell George

And here is a site just for fun:

Kiss This Guy - Misheard Lyrics

* j *
Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: har168421-ga on 25 Oct 2004 04:30 PDT
Thanks voila. I'll surely be checking out more Lowell George and little feat. 

And thnks julicolllins for the link.;) It is hard to google on the misheard.
Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Oct 2004 10:43 PDT
Many thanks for the five stars and the generous tip! I'm glad to have
been of service. I know how maddening it can be to spend years
searching for something like this. It can drive a person to weed and
whites. ;-)

Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: pinkfreud-ga on 25 Oct 2004 14:44 PDT
Voila & Juli,

I'd like to add my thanks to both of you for the nice "extras."

Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: journalist-ga on 27 Oct 2004 13:21 PDT
Is this the song you reference as "Little Bit O Soul"

"Little Bit O' Soul
By: The Music Explosion 
(Carter - Lewis)

Now when you're feelin' low and the fish won't bite 
You need a little bit o' soul to put you right 

You gotta make like you wanna kneel and pray 
And then a little bit o' soul will come your way 

Now when your girl is gone and you're broke in two 
You need a little bit o' soul to see it through"

Rest of lyrics at

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Lyrics - 'Wheat, Rice and Wine'
From: voila-ga on 27 Oct 2004 15:33 PDT
Knowing Har's fondness for mondegreens, I thought this might be it instead ;-)

A Little Bit of Soap
The Jarmels

[Words and Music by Bert Berns... a.k.a. Bert Russell]

A little bit of soap 
Will wash away your lipstick on my face 
But a little bit of soap 
Will never, never, never ever erase 
The pain in my heart and my eyes 
As I go through the lonely years 
A little bit of soap 
Will never wash away my tears 

Mmm, a little bit of soap 
Will wash away your powder from my chin 
A little bit of soap 
Will never, never, never ever begin 
To take away the hurt that I feel 
As I go through the lonely years 
A little bit of soap 
Will never wash away my tears, mmm, mmm, mmm

Peaked at # 12 in 1961 
This popular oldie was later covered as minor singles by Garnet Mimms
in 1965, by The
Exciters in 1966, by Paul Davis in 1970, and by Nigel Olsson as a Top
40 hit in 1979.

Fave version:  Garnet Mimms


You're welcome, Miss Pink!

I skewed my Willin' research toward LG's version because anytime I can
pimp the man, I will do so with relish and mustard.  Not to pooh-pooh
Ms. Ronstadt's rendition, but I just don't think that "Dallas Alice
line" works sung by a female.  I doubt she's ever had her "head stoved
in" either -- except possibly by an angry Republican.

Ronstadt borrowed another of LG's songs, "Roll 'Em Easy" for Prisoner
In Disguise.  Again, IMO, Lowell can spin his own songs much better. 
While regularly collaborating with Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris, Bonnies
Raitt and Bramlett, he also gave a hand-up to many unknowns along the
way.  I like to think his big heart exploded from being such a good
guy rather than from his excesses but, hey, I'm a romantical sort.

"He was an enigma" says Linda Ronstadt. "He was convoluted in his
speaking, in his thinking. I think he was burdened by his
intelligence. His complexity, his demons symbolized the struggle we
were all going through."

Sorry, I got carried away in my lost yoot ... off for a Geritol shot.


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