U.S. Blues

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Red and white, blue suede shoes
I'm Uncle Sam, how do you do
Gimme five, still alive
Ain't no luck, I learned to duck

Check my pulse, it don't change
Stay seventy two, come shine or rain
Wave the flag, pop the bag
Rock the boat, skin the goat

Chorus
Wave that flag, wave it wide and high
Summertime done come and gone, my oh my

I'm Uncle Sam, that's who I am
Been hiding out, in a rock and roll band
Shake the hand that shook the hand
Of P. T. Barnum and Charlie Chan (note 1)

Shine your shoes, light your fuse
Can you use them old U.S. Blues
I'll drink your health, share your wealth
Run your life, steal your wife

[chorus]

Back to back, chicken shack
Son of a gun, better change your act
We're all confused, what's to lose
You can call this song the United States Blues (note 2)

[chorus]
Notes
(1) on a few occasions in 1979-1980 Jerry sang "Of P. T. Barnum and the Shah of Iran" (eg Cleveland 29 Nov 1979, Oakland 13 Jan 1980).
(2) for an ironic take on this, see One More Saturday Night
(3) alternative lyrics were tried out as the song was being developed - see Wave That Flag

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1974 Mars Hotel (note 4) (note 5)
     23 Mar 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 24
     14 May 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 9
     16 Jun 1974 Road Trips Number 2, Volume 3
     23 Jun 1974 So Many Roads (1965-1995)
     28 Jun 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 12
     31 Jul 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 2
      4 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
     10 Sep 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 7
     18 Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (video, DVD & CD soundtrack)
     19 Oct 1974 Steal Your Face
     13 Aug 1975 One From The Vault
     12 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     24 Sep 1976 Dave's Picks Vol 4
      9 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     13 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     28 May 1977 To Terrapin: Hartford '77
      7 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
      9 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
     21 Oct 1978 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 ("From Egypt With Love")
      6 Nov 1979 Road Trips Full Show: Spectrum 11/6/79
      4 Sep 1980 Download Series Vol 7
      7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
     27 Mar 1988 Download Series Vol 5
      4 Jul 1989 Truckin' Up To Buffalo (DVD & CD soundtrack)
     18 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Weir-Robinson-Greene Trio Live!

Bob Weir Solo Acoustic Live!
 
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1991 Deadicated Harshed Mellows
     1996 Long Live The Dead Billy and Terry Smith
     1999 Swingin' To The Grateful Dead Steve Marsh et al
     2000 Dead Grass Vassar Clements
     2002 Buckdancer's Choice Wake The Dead
     2013 Move Me Brightly Bob Weir et al (DVD)
Notes
(4) also on the compilation The Very Best Of The Grateful Dead
(5) also plays on the soundtrack of the Grateful Dead Movie


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on dead.net see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Very Best Of The Grateful Dead (guitar TAB)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)

 


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