Robert Hunter


had his poetic beginnings in the Palo Alto, CA coffeehouse scene in the mid-sixties. It was there that he began writing poetry and found his future song writing partner Jerry Garcia.
Although Hunter had been writing poetry for several years, his career did not begin in earnest until 1967, when he mailed the lyrics to "St. Stephen", "Alligator", and "China Cat Sunflower" to his friend Garcia and the Grateful Dead. He was almost immediately taken on as the primary lyricist for the band. In collaboration with Garcia's musical talent, Hunter began turning out dozens of poems that would later become well-known songs.
The poems of have diverse and variegated themes; most, however relate ...

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of contemporary/traditional and form their own categories.
One of the main traditional themes that Hunter uses is the gambling theme. The poems "Candyman" and "Loser" exemplify this motif the best:
Come on boys and gamble
Roll those laughing bones.
Seven come eleven, boys
I'll take your money home.
--"Candyman"
Last fair deal in the country, sweet Suzy
Last fair deal in the town.
Put your gold money where your love is, baby,
Before you let my deal go down.
--"Loser"
Both are about professional gamblers, and both (especially "Loser") carry overtones of trouble and treachery. The following lines illustrate one such instance in "Candyman":
I come in from Memphis
where I learned to talk the jive
When I get back to Memphis
Be one man less alive
The Candyman obviously has a score to settle with someone in Memphis. The "trouble" notion is both more and less apparent in "Loser":
Don't you push me baby
because I'm moaning low.
I know a little something
you won't ever ...

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A story of a coal miner in the Cumberland mines, this poem carries strong parallels to the "conventional wisdom" theme.
I gotta get down
I gotta get down
Or I can't work there no more.

Lotta poor man make a five-dollar bill/Keep him happy all the time
Some other fellow making nothing at all
And you can hear him crying

'Can I go buddy
Can I go down
Take your shift at the mine?'
Conventional wisdom is a motif that Hunter uses in several of his traditional poems, namely "Greatest Story Ever Told", and "Uncle John's Band". These deal with aspects of day-to-day country living and the common-sense wisdom found in many classic folk tales. "Uncle John's Band" is the prime ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 9/14/2005 09:49:50 PM
Category: Biographies
Type: Free Paper
Words: 2441
Pages: 9

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