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The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics: The Collected Lyrics of Robert Hunter and John Barlow

Robert Hunter; John Barlow Author

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9780743277471: The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics: The Collected Lyrics of Robert Hunter and John Barlow

No other band has ever surpassed the enduring popularity of The Grateful Dead. No other group has regularly scheduled radio shows devoted solely to it, or such an extensive fan base stretching over several generations. And, with the surviving members still touring and the official website receiving more that 100,000 hits a week, no other fan base has proved itself more dedicated or more diverse, from professionals to vagabonds to politicians. From David Dodd, who has spent the last ten years building the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics website, comes this unique compilation that offers literary, historical and cultural references to all the band's lyrics. Building a better understanding of both the songs and the musical tradition they arose from, this essential guide includes the words to every original song from both recorded and live repertoire. Notes on performance statistics, a series of thematic essays, copious illustrations and a full-colour insert all contribute to an edition worthy of a special place in every Deadhead's collection.

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Review:

Do you know the way to Fennario? Or wonder where the Nuthatch winters? What is the "Buck Dancer's Choice?" And where do the four winds dwell? If these are questions that leave you wondering then David Dodd's The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics may just be the skeleton key you've been looking for. Every Deadhead knows there is something profound hidden within their lyrics, even if most of the nuances go by unnoticed. Why are the obscure tales of their characters' (Jack Straw, Black Peter, August West, et al) trials and tribulations on the psychedelic Americana landscape so intriguing? What is the deal with the reoccurring imagery that popped in and out of their songs for decades (the crows, light and darkness, rolling rivers, gambling, playing cards, space, and, of course, roses)? It is clear the Grateful Dead's lyricists Robert Hunter and John Barlow tapped into the well of the collective subconscious for material, but rarely were any explanations provided. Fans were basically on their own to put the pieces together themselves, until now.

The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics began as a research project for David Dodd while he was working at the University of Colorado. Like many fans before him, Dodd spent hours passionately trying to find the deeper meanings in the Dead's songs. In 1994 the Internet may have been in its infancy, but Dodd knew the Web was the perfect to tool to help him annotate the entire Dead catalog. So began the building of his incredibly popular Web site. The fruits of his labors lie within the pages of this encyclopedic book. Where Robert Hunter's A Box of Rain only includes his lyrical contributions to the Dead's catalog, Dodd's book is expanded to include John Barlow's songs, as well as tunes the Dead covered so many times they became their own. It is worth mentioning, this book should not be viewed as a cheat sheet, but a tool giving lots of background and cross-references. The interpretations are still up to you. Be forewarned, this book can be extremely habit forming. --Rob Bracco

About the Author:

David Dodd is founder of The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics website and coeditor of The Grateful Dead Reader and The Grateful Dead and the Deadheads: An Annotated Bibliography. He is the city librarian of San Rafael, California.

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