(alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:02
Candyman w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/candy.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/CANDYMAN.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:03
Candyman Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. Come all you pretty women with your hair a-hanging down Open up your windows, 'cause the Candyman's in town Come on boys and gamble Roll those laughing bones Seven come eleven, boys, I'll take your money home Chorus Look out, look out, the Candyman Here he comes and he's gone again Pretty lady ain't got no friend Till the Candyman comes around again I come in from Memphis where I leant to talk the jive When I get back to Memphis, be one less man alive Good morning, Mister Benson I see you're doing well If I had me a shotgun, I'd blow you straight to hell [chorus] Come on boys and wager, if you have got the mind If you've got a dollar, boys, lay it on the line Hand me my old guitar Pass the whiskey round Won't you tell everybody you meet that the Candyman's in town [chorus] Look out, look out, the Candyman Here he come and he's gone again
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 23 Dec 13 14:16
My post for dead.net from "Greatest Stories Ever Told," a series I am writing this year for dead.net: To read the post and add your comments, please visit http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-stories-ever-told/greatest-stories-ever- told-candyman Someday it would be fun to collect all the songs that mention the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Surely they would fill a book of their ownsomething about the city, with its deep history of being a birthplace of the blues, resonates with generation after generation of musicians. The Dead played a number of songs featuring Memphis, including The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Big River, New Minglewood Blues, and Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again. Robert Hunter doesnt set Candyman in Memphis, but its where the narrator rides in from, and where he plans to return after dealing with one particular necessary act of justice, or revenge. More about that in a bit. The Hunter/Garcia song debuted in an acoustic set in the middle of a show on April 3, 1970, at the Field House at the University of Cincinnati. It was played steadily (277 times) throughout the remainder of the bands career, although it was only played once between February 1971 and October 1972, according to DeadBase X. The final performance took place on June 30, 1995, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Candyman fits perfectly with the set of songs on American Beauty, released in November 1970. Garcia plays an absolutely amazing pedal steel solo on the studio recording, ethereal in the same way as his work on that instrument on his solo album, Garcia, especially on The Wheel. Its mixed a ways into the background, so it has a distant quality, almost ghost-like. His singing is sly and perfectly in character. Now, about that act of revenge or justice. Its not overtly stated, but it seems likely that the object of the reference to there being one less man alive when the narrators current sojourn is done could well be one Mr. Benson. I give a complete reference to the possible identity of this character in the Annotated Lyrics book, but it seems likely that Mr. Benson could be the Texas sheriff referenced in the Leadbelly song Midnight Special: If you ever go to Houston, you better walk right, You better not stagger, you better not fight Sheriff Benson will arrest you, he'll carry you down And if the jury finds you guilty, penitentiary bound Maybe the Candyman has come back to Houston to settle a score with the sheriff for past mistreatment. At any rate, he is ready to kill, that seems certain. Hunter commented on this line in an interview with Blair Jackson, as part of a conversation about crowd reaction to certain lines in his songs. Then theres the line in Candyman that always gets the big cheers: If I had a shotgun, Id blow you straight to hell. The first time I ran into that phenomenon was when I went to the movie Rollerball and aw the people were cheering the violence that was happening. I couldnt believe it. I hope that people realize that the character in Candyman is a character, and not me. I might be inclined these days to think that the cheers are less about the violence than about the anti-authoritarian sentiment expressed in this, and in other cheer-garnering lines. Others that come to mind include the line in Bertha: Test me, test mewhy dont you arrest me? and from Tennessee Jed: Drink all day and rock all night, law come to get you if you dont walk right. There are others, Im fairly sure, and they all have in common a certain attitude of belligerence or resentment vis-à-vis law enforcement. The Candyman of the song is a gambler, a drinker, a musician, and a ladies manthat much is certain. He is also, likely, from context and from the traditional use of the moniker, a drug dealer. So he is on the wrong side of the law, as is the case with many of the narrator characters in Grateful Dead songs. Ive said before that one benefit of the prevalence of down-and-out, or even outright criminal characters in Dead songs is an increased opportunity for empathy with the entire range of human experience; a means for us to identify with the other. We need not be homeless or on the street ourselves to feel empathy for August West. But Ive been coming to think that there is something else about the placement of so many shady characters in the songs, who are in so many difficult predicaments with the law or with circumstances. While Hunter wants it to be clear that he is not the Candyman, he nevertheless writes about such characters repeatedly. And I think Deadheads, many of us anyway, tend to feel in some ways that we are societal outcasts, or that we are challenging societys norms in any of a number of ways, and that our heritage belongs with the Beats and the Hippies, with the Counterculture in general. Or it did at one time. So the cheers generated by lines such as these come perhaps from a place of identification with the extremities to which the characters in the songs are driven. Whether its Mr. Charlie, or Charlie Phogg, or Mr. Benson, or the sheriff in Friend Of the Devil, we find ourselves cheering their opponents and hoping that they get a comeuppance. The Candyman seems to have something for everyone. He appeals to the pretty women, to the gambling boys, to the guys sitting around drinking and playing music. There are ready consumers, in other words, for all the vices he is peddling. And if it werent for the Mr. Bensons of the world, we would all be happyright? I think of the opening cartoon sequence from the Grateful Dead Movie, in which the Uncle Sam character, innocently trying to have a good time and live a life out on the road, riding his motorcycle, finds himself in jail. What saves him and sets him free? The Statue of Liberty crashes through his jail cell walls, and the music, U.S. Blues, comes blasting through. Freedom. Nothing to be taken for granted. And music can help us get there, or at least remind us of what we may be up against. I think there may be some stories out there about your experiences with these issuesplease share them if you can.
John Spears (banjojohn) Sat 16 Apr 16 12:44
Nice post, David. As an interesting aside, while living in a certain tiny, remote town in the Appalachians during the late 90's, I met a woman who claimed to have known Jerry Garcia personally during the 60's, in the Haight. She was of the proper age and inclination for this to be possible, but other than that I have no way to confirm her story. She claimed to have known Mr. Benson, who she claimed to be a known "dope" dealer(smack) in the hood. Her name was Angie, btw.
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