“Daddy Moonshine - The Story of Marvin 'Popcorn' Sutton”
by Sky Sutton
NOW AVAILABLE "Daddy Moonshine" is $25 including shipping and handling. Please make check payable to Sky Sutton and mail to: P. O. Box 331 Northampton, MA 01060. Include your address so I know where to send it and allow up to 2 weeks for delivery.
Sky Sutton is a New England historian raised in Massachusetts. Researching her paternal geneology for over a decade, she discovered her biological father is a notorious - and quite famous - backwoods moonshiner from the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. "Daddy Moonshine" is the story of Sky Sutton's journey to uncover a family history so different from her own experience, and to understand her ornery, sometimes brilliant, and often quite dangerous renegade father; the one and only Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton.
“Daddy Moonshine” is the story of Sutton's father, moonshine and mountains- and of the culture and people who have lived in those wild, beautiful heights for generations. From finding possums in the mash to sh*ting out his own teeth, Marvin "Popcorn" Sutton has lead the life of a true Appalachian moonshiner. As the last of a dying breed Sutton has lived close to the earth and on his own terms as few other modern Americans would dare.
EXCERPTS from “Daddy Moonshine” :
From Chapter 2- Popcorn Sutton: Master Moonshiner:
“It isn't surprising that Popcorn has attracted so much attention. His slippery craft and his old-timey antics appeal to something in our collective past. His overalls can be seen as the blue denim flag of old pick-up trucks and cork-plugged clay jugs. His colorless hat is the nod of a gentleman, his beard the badge of a wild man. His high reedy voice carries the echoes of banjos and fiddles. His stealth and focus speak volumes for the cunning and moxie of who he is: a Smokey Mountain moonshine master.”
From Chapter 4- Moonshine: From Horse Mint to Coon Peckers:
“Popcorn started out building the pot-bellied beasts for his own personal use. For years he tinkered, tweaked and experimented. When he got good at it he began to build them for other people. He built them to be displayed as mementos of mountain life as well as ones to be used as fully functioning likker producers. He's got an excellent memory for customers: 'I sell them as stills about as fast as I can make them. Some buy them for display such as the one I sold Dennis and Shirley in Dillard, Georgia. They have it in their new restaurant. I have made some that I am damn sure won't be on display.’ “
From Chapter 5- Adventures in Moonshining (or: How to Sh*t Teeth for a Week):
“ Have you ever wondered what the best way to get an amphibian wasted is? Popcorn has the answer. He asks: ‘Do you know how to make a frog drunk? I bet you don't. But I do. I fired my pot up one morning and got it going real good. It had just started running high shots. That is what you call it when it first starts to come out. For so many jugs, then it turns to backins. Anyway here come hopping up to the still a damn big frog. I thought to myself ol' boy I'll make you drunk as hell. I had heard all my life that a frog will absorb things through its skin. So I got me a can lid and caught me some of that high shots and I dropped it slowly on the old frogs back. Real soon its throat started to swell up and then all at once that frog started singing like hell. When he stopped singing he flopped over in the leaves and didn't move till I got done running that likker. I guess he passed out. Anyway when I come back the next morning to sweeten it back he was not there. I guess one good damn drunk taught him a lesson.’
Popcorn got the frog drunk on purpose. Not so with the geese. My aunt Panzie told me a story from when she was about nine or ten years old and Popcorn was in his late-teens. Unknown to my grandmother my father was in the middle of a run of peach brandy in the back shed. The geese got into the peach peelings Popcorn had thrown away. It didn't take long for the geese to start stumbling and lurching around. Grandma Bonnie came out into the yard, puzzled by the odd behavior of her foul.
‘What's wrong with them?’ Grandma Bonnie asked her children. Panzie knew full well what Popcorn was up to. My father snarled at her to keep her lip zipped.
‘Take me to the store or I'll tell 'er! ‘ Panzie quickly bargained. Popcorn took her to the store. Panzie kept her lip zipped. Grandma Bonnie stayed puzzled. “
from Chapter 7- Lawed:
“On the morning of January 26th my father and I both got ready for court. While he was sitting in a court room in Tennessee I was facing a judge in my corner of the world. There the similarities end. I pulled on my black leather boots and my Myrna Loy coat with the high vamp collar. My father donned over-alls, a denim jacket and a hat with feathers and a squirrel tail attached to it’s crown. This was my first time before the magistrate for a traffic ticket. It was only a hundred dollar barrel pressed to my temple. To my father’s head was the muzzle of a Smith &Wesson 500 Magnum of moonshining charges. I dodged my bullet. Popcorn was not as fortunate.
A little birdie told me my father stood his ground. His chin was up and his eyes direct. In a courtroom so full that folks were sitting ‘ass cheek to ass cheek’ my father faced his accusers without blinking. He walked past the reporters as if they weren’t even there.”