is required up front in cash
(See pay on the nail
for a British equivalent). It is most likely derived from the nineteenth century, where shops would use barrels as payment counters (Or tavern
s might use barrels as tables). Consumers paying the shop owner would place their money on the top of the barrel
. The implication is that no credit
will be extended.
The Louvin Brothers song, Cash on the Barrelhead, recorded in 1956, went to #7 on the Billboard country charts. Notable covers include those by Gram Parsons, Leftover Salmon, and Dolly Parton.
Braham, Carol and Richard Goodman et. al. "The Mavens' Word of the Day." Words@Random. 3 December 1998. <http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19981203> (16 July 2002)
Karlson, Stephen H. "Re: Did You Know?" <bit.listserv.words-l>. 28 April 1993.
Vinopal, David. "The Louvin Brothers." Alabama Music Hall of Fame. <http://www.alamhof.org/louvin.htm> (16 July 2002.)