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Grateful Dead Music Forum

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 #119767  by masonskids
 Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:25 am
Has anyone ever seen the original lyrics to Pride of Cucamonga? I'm wondering if it was originally a poem by Robert Peterson. I know it is somewhat different then what Phil put together on the album.
 #121564  by Quarterpounder
 Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:46 pm
Wikipedia says-

Robert M. Petersen contributed three lyrics to the Grateful Dead: "New Potato Caboose," "Unbroken Chain," and "Pride of Cucamonga."
Born in 1936 in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Died 1987.

The flyleaf of his volume of collected poems, Alleys of the Heart", states that "in the 50's he hopped the freights, played jazz saxophone and attended San Mateo College in California."

He also served time: the collection of poems entitled "Blue Petre and Other Poems" bears the note, "Deuel Vocational Institution, 1963-1964."

Indeed, if you want biographical information on Petersen, you should examine his poetry. The place of writing is noted at the end of each poem: San Francisco, 1964; Cazadero, Ca., 1964; Oakland, Ca., 1967; Trinidad, Eureka, and Fortuna, Ca., 1970; Black Point, Marin County, and Mt. Hermon, Ca., 1973; San Cristobal, New Mexico, 1974; Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico, 1974; Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico, 1975; Iron Peak, Mendocino County, Ca., 1976; Moriarity, New Mexico, 1977; Dexter, Oregon, 1977; Fairfax, Ca., 1981; Wildwood Falls, Oregon, 1986.

And within the poems themselves is the story of a life lived determinedly on the road, courting the down-and-out muse of all the Beat poets. There is quite a bit of poetry about the Grateful Dead, most notably the poem "Fern Rock." He characterizes the band as "they of visionary song / plumbing the deepest channels..."
 #121748  by TI4-1009
 Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:23 am
Thanks QP & masonskids!

Very interesting, one of my favorite Phil songs, the original lyrics add some gravitas. I'll hear the song differently next time.