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What happened?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 4:37 pm
by amyjared
So, this is kind of inconsequential, but I was listening to this song (probably for the 1,000th time) and one thing still bothers me:

Now, all those cowboys, out of their gold
Loved my uncle, God rest his soul
Taught me good, Lord, taught me all I know
Taught me so well, I grabbed that gold
And I left his dead-ass layin' by the side of the road

What/how did his Uncle die?!? Did he kill him? Was he hurt in the shootout when they stole the gold? Old age? Anyone have any idea??

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:34 pm
by jkstraw
Yup - killed him and left his dead ass there by the side of the road. Doesn't elaborate on how the deed was done though.

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:34 pm
by Staemius
Nicely ambiguous.

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2011 8:48 pm
by Octal
"Uncle starts winning, cowboys got sore
One of them called him, and then two more
Accused him of cheating, oh no, it couldn't be.
I know my uncle, he's as honest as me.
And I'm as honest as a Denver man can be."

So his Uncle was a thieving cowboy the entire time--and rigging the card game--who was as honest as the man who cut him down. Off-topic but that's what made the song really stand out to me.

Anyway, another verse:

"One of them cowboys, he starts to draw
I shot him down, lord, he never saw"
(Weir also sang: "Grabbed me a bottle, smashed him in the jaw")
"Shot me another, god damn it won't grow old
In the confusion, my uncle grabbed the gold
And we high-tailed it down to Mexico."

So the protagonist is carrying a gun, if we use the normal lyrics. Thus we can assume he shot him. And we can expect that his Uncle might be planning the same thing, so a gun would be better than a knife where it could go wrong.

Or the alternative lyrics. Either the protagonist used to element of surprise by grabbing the bottle instead of his gun (in which case he could have used a gun) or he had to make use of immediate resources. The latter gives us little evidence for the way he killed the uncle and leaves many possibilities.

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:58 am
by gr8fullfred
"Shot me another, god damn it won't grow old"


I always thought it was "he" won't grow old. The "another" cowboy he shot will not grow old.

I also at times thought that "Denver man" was "gamblin man", I'm as honest as a gambling man can be.

And I think that the inferences in the song lead to the assumption that the uncle was shot in the back and left on the side of the road.

That is the beauty of song writing, you say enough to paint a picture, but leave enough to listeners imagination.

Song I believe was written by a member of the Mama's and Papa's. Fred

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:03 pm
by Rusty the Scoob
gr8fullfred wrote:
"Shot me another, god damn it won't grow old"


I always thought it was "he" won't grow old. The "another" cowboy he shot will not grow old.

I also at times thought that "Denver man" was "gamblin man", I'm as honest as a gambling man can be.

And I think that the inferences in the song lead to the assumption that the uncle was shot in the back and left on the side of the road.

That is the beauty of song writing, you say enough to paint a picture, but leave enough to listeners imagination.

Song I believe was written by a member of the Mama's and Papa's. Fred


Yep, I think "He" won't grow old but Bobby's not always clear or correct on it.

My assumption has always been that the protagonist kills his uncle... most likely by shooting but the actual method isn't important.

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 5:38 pm
by mijknahs

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 7:48 pm
by JonnyBoy
So she killed the uncle?

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 8:00 pm
by mijknahs
Well... she said she "left him lying on the side of the road". Doesn't mention anything about "dead ass". I guess he could have been asleep or just injured with a bullet in the kneecap or something. :lol:

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 8:43 am
by tcsned
mijknahs wrote:Well... she said she "left him lying on the side of the road". Doesn't mention anything about "dead ass". I guess he could have been asleep or just injured with a bullet in the kneecap or something. :lol:

yeah, for a song recorded in 1965 I doubt that it would be deemed acceptable to use "dead-ass" in the lyrics. I'm guessing that's an edit on Weir's part - and a good one IMHO - certainly less ambiguous. I think Judy Collins did the first recording of the tune.

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:28 am
by rugger
Song I believe was written by a member of the Mama's and Papa's.


I believe you are correct. John Phillips, a pretty good song writer in his own right.

John in San Diego

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 9:47 am
by tcsned
I found some interesting song history on wikipedia - John Phillips "wrote" the tune during a tequila session with Judy Collins, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young. Collins ran a cassette recording of the day and Phillips wrote the tune between shots. Phillips didn't remember this the next day and called up Judy Collins when he started getting royalty checks for a song he didn't write called "Me and My Uncle." She explained what had happened and Phillips claimed to remember this tune more and more with each royalty check :drink:

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Mon Apr 04, 2011 3:32 pm
by hotasaPistol
My take is that the nephew shot his uncle, took the gold and left his dead ass there on the side of the road ......as in:
"taught me good lord taught me all I know ,...
taught me so well I grabbed that gold and ..
...'left his dead ass on the side of the road........."
love this song :smile: :smile: :smile:

Re: What happened?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:01 am
by ImJerryToo
Well I always thought it was the cowboys (out of their gold) who shot Uncle. But that's because for a long time I thought the line was:

"All of those cowboys followed their gold.
Plugged my Uncle, God rest his soul."

Which all made perfect sense to me. But even after I got the words right (err, I think), that version of events stuck with me.


> > > "Shot me another, god damn it won't grow old"
> > I always thought it was "he" won't grow old. The "another" cowboy he shot will not grow old.
> Yep, I think "He" won't grow old but Bobby's not always clear or correct on it.

I'm pretty sure this line is: "Shot me another, WAAHHH DIDDY WOAN GO WHOOOAAAAAA!! " :cool: