Yes, that's right - we're an online store of Grateful Dead products. But the blog is our place to put it into words, so today we decided to dedicate this corner to an in-depth analysis of the Grateful Dead song. The song was chosen at random. We will talk about its overall impact and the deep aspects that can be seen within the text. Feel free to read and comment if you have anything to add or shed light or just praise or vice versa. We hope you enjoy.
The song chosen by random is "Sugaree"
Let's start with the following line -
“If that jubilee doesn’t come…. maybe I’ll meet you on the run.”
Garcia is one of those seemingly incredible songs, after 44 years. However, the same can be said of many albums - collections of songs - all from that time on: the golden age of Hunter and Garcia's story songs.
We remember having to face the question: the first side or the second side? The first installment is an unmistakable song of complete songs: “Deal,” “Bird Song,” “Sugaree,” and “Loser.” The second side is the exploration of sonic spaces and the amazing opening of the "Wheel." We loved both of them, but it was all about the state of the moment. CDs do not offer the same selection. And one iTunes download takes us out of all the context.
“Sugaree” is a story song utilizing all the subtle tricks in Hunter’s arsenal. He lays out a character, addressing another character, the Sugaree of the title, in terms that could mean several things, and offers a glimpse of a shared past and a possible future that awaits. But even in the song’s present moment, what is occurring or has just happened?
Garcia’s setting of the lyric is simply as mercurial because the words themselves. The performances could settle into a good range of tempos, and therefore the instrumentals between the verses could roar to life and so descent to a whisper.
We have read a good range of interpretations over the years. If you wish some fun, take a glance at the series of proposed interpretations voiced within the “deadsongs” conference on the WELL. Just to relinquish you a concept, they vary from well-argued position to well-argued position proposing a range of possible scenarios including one involving two slaves newly-arrived within the New World, all the thanks to the link of a john to a prostitute.
You probably have noticed the notes of Robert Hunter's liner in this song as it written in Garcia's box All Good Things, that what he wrote there:
"Sugaree was composed just after I left Garcia for China Camp. People think the idea came from Elizabeth Cotten's 'Sugaree', but, in fact, the song was called 'Stingaree,' which is a poisonous Santa Sea manta phrase. 'caused by something my co-worker said in my pre-Death days when my poverty-stricken circumstances found me associating with a minority gang. it was:' Hold your mud and don't mention my name. '
"Why did you change the title to 'Sugaree'? Imagine that it sounds better that way, making the viewer seem more difficult to handle the sugar-coated word. The song, as we thought, was directed at a spy. suggested by the song 'Shake it'."
So, when you have Hunter actually telling us how he thought of this song - a strange sight behind the curtain.
But the point, as always, is not about the truth. It is about the perspective of the listener, in different ways the song sounds, and sounds different over time, or how it can be convincingly explained in many different ways.
Each listener who took the time to comment on the meaning of the song wasted no time with the lyrics. As we all do, whether we are well-known lyric listeners or let words wash us away as part of general music. (Sometimes we wish we didn't know English at all, so we could hear these songs as a sound, because that's a direct part of what Hunter does. sound made by the mouth, like brushes on the drum head.)
And it is that investment in words, or sound, that leads us to want to hear the song over and over again — because we will never get to the bottom of it. Its meanings are endless, and the diversity of music is endless, too.
Thank you for this song for several reasons besides its greatness. We are glad he sent me looking for Fred Neil, and Elizabeth Cotten. we are glad that we were forced to familiarize myself with the concept of Jubilie - a concept that seems, at its core, completely sophisticated and lacks in today's unforgiving world of restrictions and job losses and constant debts. Why should there be no account cleaning every 49 years? What a great idea! The slaves were set free. Debts were forgiven. All of this happened in the 50th year. Clean slate.
Hmmm... 50th year. They never thought of that, but it will be a Jubilee Anniversary.
Our friend shared this:
“When I first heard this song live at the concert, I couldn't believe how easy it would be. I only knew the studio version until that show in Winterland in the spring of 1977, and then wham! they played it. I was sitting in the same place you were able to go to, up behind the band, looking at their view from the rest of the crowd, focusing too much on the drummers, but it looked like they were playing choruses assembled on top of the next, we built strong, and, as we kind of said, “shhhhh…” whispered. "Please don't tell him you know me." Shush.
If we already mentioned that show in the spring of 1977, we have a special "Grateful Dead - Nights & Days - Sticker" sticker from that show. You are more than welcome to enjoy it if you enjoyed reading our analysis of the song "Sugaree".