Welcome to Fern Bar Fridays, a lighthearted romp (is there any other kind?) through a decade of cool music and even cooler drinks. The fern bar era, which roughly spanned 1975-1985, was filled with giant lapels and ties (and then later teeny tiny lapels and ties), ridiculous drinks, and sweet sounds. Every Friday we’ll bring you a song and drink pairing emblematic of that delightful time to help you get the weekend started off on the right loafer-sans-sock-shod foot. Today, and throughout the month of October, we’re celebrating the season of the witch with "Sisters of the Moon" by Fleetwood Mac.
Sometimes, on particularly stormy days, Bruce—the afternoon bartender at Rita’s, the imaginary fern bar that exists in my head—and I get to talkin’ about which Fleetwood Mac song is the ferniest of their catalogue. We never truly reach a consensus, and likely never will, though "Second Hand News" always gets a STRONG BUY from me. But it’s our game and we enjoy it. Before long the handwringing and rending of (gauzy, flowing) garments begins as we struggle with what’s known as Rita’s Choice: faced with only one option, which Stevie-on-lead-vocals song would you keep: "Gypsy" or "Rhiannon"?
It’s unpossible to choose and so, after an hour or so of the aforementioned wringing and rending, we generally agree to pour another glass of chablis, toss a few ice cubes in and not think on such a troublesome topic any longer and opt instead to wax poetic over the incomparable Stevieness of "Sisters of the Moon."
When performed live, the song would usually go for over 8 minutes in length. A very well known example of this performance is the Mirage Tour version, 1982. The performance is referred to as the ‘speaking in tongues‘ performance in which Stevie Nicks delivers the song’s coda in such an intense, gravelly manner that her words become indecipherable.
The tongues come in at ’round about the six minute mark (and please don’t miss poor Christine McVie trying to keep things positive with her lavender lei-adorned mic stand). But if you’re the anxious sort, allow me
to crush a quaalude up into your Harvey Wallbanger point you to this version, which has been conveniently cued up to the exact point at which La Steve begins wailing on the cowbell, right before she gets into it with the tongues.
We should also probably take a moment to discuss why Lindsey Buckingham was dressed like an itinerant farmer wearing his Sunday best. Also open for discussion: Do you think the sisters of the moon ever squabble amongst themselves?
If the tongues are a bit much for your delicate constitution, let me pour you a spritzer and offer up this version, from the 1975 Tusk tour documentary, features a seemingly sedated Stevie keeping time on a cowbell.
If you’d like to work yourself into a state of sedation, a la Stevie, may I offer you today’s signature cocktail?
Creme De Moonthe
½ oz white creme de menthe
1½ oz Georgia Moon corn whiskey
1 dash lemon juice
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake all ingredients together and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a plug of sage for its cleansing properties and a sprig of lavender because Stevie would want it that way. Dipping your sleeves in the drink: optional, but highly recommended.
And finally, a small programming note: Rita’s will be closed for renovations in November. Roger Cook promises that he and the crew will have the place winterized by December, but you know how contractors are.
Follow Jolie Kerr on Twitter