Robert Hunter

One important aspect of the Grateful Dead’s music are the lyrics of song-writer Robert Hunter. His lyrics are true poetry; not quite immediately understandable but evocative nonetheless. An example; the lyrics to “Mountains Of The Moon”, from the album Aoxomoxoa, (a palindromic title), many years ago:

Cold mountain water, the jade merchant’s daughter
Mountains of the moon, Electra, bow and bend to me
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me
Hey, Tom Banjo
Hey, a laurel
More than laurel you may sow
More than laurel you may sow
Hey, the laurel, hey, the city in the rain
Hey, hey, the wild wheat waving in the wind
Twenty degrees of solitude, twenty degrees in all
All the dancing kings and wives assembled in the hall
Lost is the long and loneliest time, fairy Sybil flying
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon
Hey, Tom Banjo
It’s time to matter
The earth will see you on through this time
The earth will see you on through this time
Down by the water, the marsh king’s daughter, did you know
Clothed in tatters, always will be, Tom where did you go?
Mountains of the moon, Electra, mountains of the moon
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon
Heigh ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle
Heigh ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me
Bend to me…

I’ve always liked the line “Heigh, ho, the carrion crow” and the references to the jade merchant’s and the marsh-king’s daughters. It’s like a medieval fantasy condensed into a song.

Larry

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