Born Sidestepper

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: David Nelson

A Hunter lyric from "Box Of Rain" set to music by David Nelson, with some small variations.

Pumpkin on a sweet tater vine
That's a sure sign that you're gonna be rich
You may have to pay
But you do that anyway
Anyway

Born with one foot out of the door
You're a born sidestepper
You try to deny
But you can't sidestep it
You know you're in love once more
Once more

You can't sidestep it
You know you're in love
You can't sidestep it
You know you're in love once more

Storm cloud, it won't last the day
Feeling so lost
You know what it cost
It cost all you've got
And you still can't believe you pay (note 1)
You pay

Born on the crest of a wind
You go where it goes (note 2)
The highs and the lows
You're a born sidestepper
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love

Years die but love do not weep
New ones coming along
They're bound to go wrong
They cost you your sleep
But they don't have to cut too deep
Not forever

You can't sidestep it
You know you're in love
You can't sidestep it
You know you're in love once more

No you can't sidestep it
You know you're in love again

You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more
You know you're in love once more

No you can't sidestep it
You know you're in love again
Notes
(1) "... you've paid" rather than "... you pay" in the original Hunter lyric.
(2) "... where it blows" rather than "... where it goes" in the original Hunter lyric.

Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1996 Limited Edition David Nelson Band

Robert Hunter wrote about this song in his journal for 29 May 2005:
Decided this morning to write down a song I've been hearing in my head for forty years. It's my Ur song, the song of my soul, heard one day in '65 wandering about au naturel in the wilds of the foothills behind Palo Alto, communing with the clouds. I don't ever expect to record or perform it, I hold it unto myself, but I feel an arrangement for my private amusement might be in order. There have been times when I'd have been glad to have written down the words "given" for it and expanded them in kind, worked out chords for the wonderfully wistful melody. You'd find it strangely familiar, it's the parent song of some of my better work. Garcia came close, unbeknownst, to getting touch of the melody down in "What's Become of the Baby?" but decided to tie a tin can to its tail for recording purposes.

The lyrics of the Ur song are much simpler and not mournful, speak of repletion, not loss. The nearest I came to writing down something approximating it was in a lyric from '73 which David Nelson found in my songbook and decided to set with a very different melody, a catchy one of his own invention Born Sidestepper. I'd meddled, as I will, and added verses and a refrain which didn't really fit the dream in which the song was sung to me � a dream of bittersweet dimensions I'll never forget. Here's a back to origins transcription, minus the later additions, of the verses containing phrases of the dream lyric:
Pumpkin on a sweet tater vine
Sure sign you're gonna be rich
You do have to pay
But you do that anyway

Storm cloud but it won't last the day
Feeling so lost
You know what it cost
And still can't believe you've paid

Years die but love do not weep
New ones coming along
They're bound to go wrong
But they don't have to cut too deep

Born on the crest of a wind
You go where it blows
The highs and the lows
Then you do it all again
As I said, those aren't the lyrics to the Ur song, which are simple as a child's rhyme, and which I keep to myself if only because, once proclaimed, they belong to the world, as does the rest of my work. It's the business of the songwriter to give away his heart. All except the song of my own of Black Muddy River and Eyes of the World, which, without a song to sing, not yet a songwriter, was sung to me. It might be that everyone has a private song. What's yours? Don't want to say? Then you understand!

Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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