By David Dodd
Here’s the plan—each week, I will blog about a different song, focusing, usually, on the lyrics, but also on some other aspects of the song, including its overall impact—a truly subjective thing. Therefore, the best part, I would hope, would not be anything in particular that I might have to say, but rather, the conversation that may happen via the comments over the course of time—and since all the posts will stay up, you can feel free to weigh in any time on any of the songs! With Grateful Dead lyrics, there’s always a new and different take on what they bring up for each listener, it seems. (I’ll consider requests for particular songs—just private message me!)
Last week’s post about “U.S. Blues” made me think, quite naturally, of “One More Saturday Night.” The background is well-documented, and easily found on Alex Allan’s Grateful Dead Lyric and Song Finder site. But the gist of it is that the song began as a Hunter lyric, but Weir ran with an early draft, wrote a whole song, keeping only one line, really (“one more Saturday night”) and Hunter took his name off the lyric. So it stands as a song with words and music by Weir.
(Hunter did post a verse on DeadNet Central:
Dynamitin' depot, bricks are pourin down
Cost your reputation if they catch you hangin round
Ev'ry choice you look at serves but to confuse
Reckon you could call it the United States Blues
Oh baby, One more Saturday night
Unhuh, One more Saturday night)
Weir’s rave-up is just flat-out good time rock and roll.
I just took a look at the old web page for this song, on the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics site, and it is a bit embarrassing. There is no full text of the song, and the few links I put up in preparation for annotating the song lead nowhere. I have a dead link to “President,” and one to “Victrola,” clearly thinking that I would be at least able to come up with something to say. And at the bottom of the page, I inaccurately stated that Springsteen performed the song, which he actually never did—it was another song—one more “One More Saturday Night.” So, I apologize. Maybe this post will make amends.
The entry for the song in the printed book fares much better. But frankly, the lyrics offer little in the way of reflection.
I do love the fact that the mention of “everybody dancing at the local armory” mirrors the Dead’s own experience, since they played a number of shows at the Santa Venetia Armory in Marin County in 1966 and 1967.
It was a song played mostly on Saturday night shows, but not always—for instance, its first performance was on Tuesday, October 19, 1971, at Northrop Auditorium, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. It was played a total of 340 times, with the final performance taking place on July 8, 1995.
It appeared on Weir’s “solo” album, Ace, which, as has been noted, is a Grateful Dead album in all but name. Ace was released in May, 1972. “One More Saturday Night” was released as a single, backed with “Cassidy.”
My own strongest memory of the song comes from a party my roommates and I threw in Davis, in 1976 or 1977, at our place. We made a dance tape, of course, and my many suggestions for Grateful Dead tunes were mostly vetoed, except for “One More Saturday Night,” which everyone agreed sounded like a dance tune. And when it came on, I distinctly remember the biggest Deadhead I knew, Julie O., jumping up in glee and dancing like crazy. I was relieved—not being sure yet which songs might be “uncool” among more experienced Deadheads like Julie. (I do have at least one Deadhead friend who truly does dislike this song, though...)
There aren’t all that many originals in the Dead repertoire that adhere to a fairly straight-ahead rock and roll progression. I think every band should have at least one. And as Garcia once said: “Cause, playing rock and roll...it’s fun!” And the big walk-up in the middle is always a blast to hear.
Weir played around with the words some over the years, depending who was in office. During the Reagan years, he would refer to Nancy and Ron. With Bush in office, he would stick the word “George” in there—“His wife say don’t get crazy, George, you know just what to do...” (There’s evidence he did this with both Bushes, though obviously, not with the Dead.)
So, this will be a relatively short entry, for a song about which I don’t have much to say. I hope some of you out there will have some memory sparked by mention of this song.