Please Don’t Dominate the Rap Jack: New Speedway Boogie Today

by Bob Schwartz

New Speedway Boogie 4

The Grateful Dead’s Workingman’s Dead album (1970) is a showcase for the brilliance of lyricist and poet Robert Hunter. (Hunter was inducted into the Rock Hall with the Dead in 1994, and is the only non-performer member of a band ever to be so honored.)

Listen to New Speedway Boogie, or read the lyrics below, and see if it doesn’t have something to say today.

Please don’t dominate the rap, Jack
If you’ve got nothing new to say
If you please, don’t back up the track
This train’s got to run today

I spent a little time on the mountain
I spent a little time on the hill
I heard some say better run away
Others say better stand still

I don’t know, but I been told
It’s hard to run with the weight of gold
Other hand I have heard it said
It’s just as hard with the weight of lead

Who can deny, who can deny
It’s not just a change in style
One step done and another begun
And I wonder how many miles

I spent a little time on the mountain
I spent a little time on the hill
Things went down we don’t understand
But I think in time we will
Now, I don’t know, but I was told
In the heat of the sun a man died of cold

Keep on coming or stand and wait,
With the sun so dark and the hour so late.
You can overlook the lack, Jack
Of any other highway to ride

It’s got no signs or dividing lines
And very few rules to guide
I spent a little time on the mountain
I spent a little time on the hill
I saw things getting out of hand
I guess they always will

I don’t know, but I been told
If the horse don’t pull you got to carry the load
I don’t know whose back’s that strong
Maybe find out before too long

One way or another, one way or another
One way or another, this darkness got to give
One way or another, one way or another
One way or another, this darkness got to give
One way or another, one way or another
One way or another, this darkness got to give

Written by Jerome J. Garcia, Robert C. Hunter

Advertisements