Robert Hunter Honored With Lifetime Achievement Award
"Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?"
Congratulations to the esteemed Robert Hunter on his Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting at last night's Americana Music Association awards ceremony. What's your favorite Hunter lyric?
Late last night while laying in bed found the answer to all my ills a great big tree growing green and free full of $10,000 bill$, well I went downtown to buy some wheels I bought every car in town, I bought all the gas and all the oil so we all could drive around ,I bought the big department store and everything inside ,you could back up your truck and fill it up the doors are open wide It was company policy we did it all the time, I bought the park and I hired a band to play every day for free I bought the bars and trolley cars , And the telephone company, you could call all day and say how's it gone and never have to pay send telegrams to your wife and friends saying you don't have to work today
But after a while I got so bored I just gave the whole thing back all I kept was a bar and Grill by the northbound railroad track, You can fall by here anytime of the night or anytime of day the 2nd cup of coffee three but the first one, you got to pay.
Jack O'Roses /. Robert Hunter
What impresses me the most is the depth of some of the lyrics Hunter wrote, at a very young age.
Here's a good example, and one of my favorite lines, from one of my favorite songs... "You told me goodbye. How was I to know, you didn't mean goodbye; you meant please don't let me go."
Thank you, Great American Bard, for all of your carefully placed words that flow so effortlessly, yet remain indelible.
I can't pinpoint a favorite lyric, but would have to list a Top 20.
But since I'm at work right now, it would be this:
"It's a lot less than prison
but it's more than a jail
I'd tell you all about it
But that's another tale"
I've had my DNA permanently altered by Hunter's lyrics, and picking a favorite is sort of difficult. But this just popped into my head as a result of some conversation in the concert-tour thread, as a classic example of the way he absolutely nails something.
...do Lord deliver our kind
From singing for whisky, three strings on the fiddle,
Four on the guitar, a song that I love.
Like a lot of Hunter, that's awfully deep for being so apparently casual. All else aside, it's a pretty good metaphor for a lot of jobs...
One good pal is worth a crowd of folks
That don't cry at your bummers or laugh at your jokes
All Robert Hunter's lyrics are inspirational. But taking a lesser known song, for lyricism and onomatopoeia, how about:
The wind inside and the wind outside
Tangle in the window-blind
from So Many Roads?
There are so many moments like that in Robert Hunter's words.
with a few thousand people singing "Inspiration, move me brightly" at the top of their lungs, I thought, dude, you did this.
RH, I first heard you perform solo, (and with your own material) at the Bottom Line in NYC's Greenwich Village, about 30 years ago. It was a mind-blowing experience for me at that time because suddenly it became so confusingly strange to be hearing the deeply-known vocals of Jerry's Dead songs coming out of an unfamiliar, singer's voice who had nothing more than an acoustic guitar pulling it all together.
I really didn't know how to process this scene. I dwelled upon it for a long while.
But, a couple of weeks later at the next Dead show following, it finally all made sense to me, it became chrystal clear, and then I understood:
It was you who was the actual, true master voice, the #1, of the lyric, and it was you who with your good graces shared all of your immense talent with Jerry, who then became our lyrical messenger, in prime position to reach out over all of the airwaves and stages to all of the eagerly awaiting hearts and souls and ears of the tribes of grateful Deadheads.
I believe (and you know that I fully believe it) that if it were not for you,....
Most humbly and most gratefully yours, hDh
Gone are the days when we stopped to decide
Where we should go
We just ride
I don't know now, I just don't know
If I'm goin' back again