Friday, June 1, 2012

Robert Hunter

Let's take it into June with Robert Hunter. You might have visions of dancing teddy bears in your head - we are talking about the guy who wrote songs for the Grateful Dead. But he is an excellent musician in his own right, and Jack O'Roses is an album to show it, with just the man and his guitar. Here is the song list:

Box of Rain
Reuben and Cerise
Talkin' Money Tree / Friend of the Devil
Delia DeLyon and Stagger Lee
Lady of Carlisle
Book of Daniel
   a. Lady With a Fan
   b. Terrapin Station
   c. Ivory Wheels/Rosewood Track
   d. Jack O'Roses
Prodigal Town

You'll hear interconnected themes in the lyrics of these songs. The stories in them have a mythic feel: they point at events beyond the listener's full comprehension. Somehow this lifts the level of drama to something larger than life happening on the fringes of the great frontier. The album's centerpiece is the Terrapin suite. How Hunter does the whole piece so convincingly with just an acoustic guitar absolutely amazes me. His fingerstyle skills throughout the album amaze me in fact. I like his voice too.

Download here (no password):

Jack O'Roses is available in physical form out there in the wide world, but not in CD format as far as I know. Collector LPs exist I'm sure. For information on Hunter's other albums, including Tales of the Great Rum Runners, see the Amazon page here.

There is more to tell! Hunter is a poet and translator. Here are the author's own web pages with his translations of Rilke and a general index of files he shares with the public:

The Sonnets to Orpheus
The Duino Elegies
General Index 

I am looking through these now myself - plenty of great stuff from an American original.


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