#29169  by ebick
let me see if I can clear up the confusion.
nicolasalk wrote:"im sure that is the real meaning."
strumminsix wrote: (sarcastically) "Is this from your conversation with Robert Hunter"

 #29186  by strumminsix
nicolasalk wrote:im kind of confused, but the thing i meant is that I believe that the whole Purly Baker has something to do with the song, i dont think is luck

i dont know if i explained well, i dont speak perfect english
No worries, bro! Your expression made it sound like you knew for fact instead of your belief!

That was my concern with your statement!

I would never have guessed your primary language wasn't English!
 #124443  by lost sailor
Well, to keep this thread going for such a great song and one of my favorites since I was a kid, back in the mid 60's we used to go fishing
off the piers by the Ferry Building and many a wharf rat used to come up to us and talk to us and try to get some of the fish we caught.
Some of them were pretty f**d up and listening to them and making sense of what they were talking about was a challenge.
I like to think that's what is going on when August West is talking -- This song always takes me back to Pier 14 (burned down) or Muni Pier
as a kid....I love it.
 #170865  by FromWichita
Pearly Baker is August West's "girl", whom he loves best and assures the narrator of Wharf Rat that she's been true (to him, as in faithful), and will be to his dying day. The narrator, observing how much it means to August, reassures him Pearly's been true to him.

Best version ever:

Summa scientia est scire nihil. - The highest wisdom is to know nothing.
 #170866  by Jon S.
As usual for Huter's lyrics, these run deep. Much room for all of us to speculate as, thankfully with all of his lyrics but one set, Hunter resisted pulling back the magician's curtain.

https://www.dead.net/features/greatest- ... -wharf-rat


From the Annotated Grateful Dead:

"Garcia's only known artwork titled after a Grateful Dead song lyric was "August West (Wharf Rat)" measuring 8.5 x 5.75", offered on eBay at $55,000 in November, 2001."

Image viewable here: http://artsites.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/wrat.html#august
 #170923  by FromWichita
That was very interesting! Thank you.

As a response, I would not be surprised if Hunter took the name and used it 'Wharf Rat' as a echo reference to Purley Baker, which reference surely has soared way over many DeadHeads (myself included!). But the "Pearly Baker" to whom August West alludes in the song, is his "girl" (or more precisely, who he wants to believe is).

'Wharf Rat' is doubly blessed with the question of "how reliable is the narrator/character?" (See 'Loser'!) Will August someday get that new start? Can he really know Pearly's been true? (And is it likely?)
Then the narrator ends the song with his own avowal of Bonnie Lee's fidelity to him! It seems a common concern.

I totally appreciate the "inside joke" of using "Purley Baker", though. I've been educated. Thanks again!

"De omnibus dubitandem." - Rene Descartes
All is to be doubted.