Gypsy Parlor Light

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

The third part of Robert Hunter's Amagamalin Street Suite. The lyrics below are as printed in "Box Of Rain" - the recorded version has a few very minor differences.

Whacked out on the corner
Pockets lined in gold
Gyspy parlor light
shining in the freezing cold

Cross my palm with silver
With makeup she'd be cute
Pay before you hear, she said
I'm gonna tell the truth

Gypsy parlor light

Break it to me gently
She looked into my eyes
I see a man who doesn't
listen to advice

Just tell the future
I can figure what to do
Well, you walked out on someone
who's better rid of you

Gypsy parlor light

Started sweating silver
She told me true
but I paid for the future
not yesterday's news

Let me see your left hand
Now let me see your right
No, you ain't got a future
just a party every night

Gypsy parlor light

You can't mean that
You're telling me a lie
No, I see the very hour
and the minute you die

Look here, Gypsy woman
I don't want to know no more
She said: Ain't no more to tell you
as I stumbled out the door

Gypsy parlor light

Took me a stroll down
Amagamalin Street
Tried to forget her,
she's a bummer and a cheat

I fell in with Murphy
Told him what went down
He said: There ain't no Gypsy parlor
in this part of town

Gypsy parlor light

--I saw it with my eyes
I'll take you to the spot--
we retraced my footsteps
and found a vacant lot

Murphy, he was raised
in this very part of town
said this lot, it was a rooming house
before they tore it down

Gypsy parlor light

They put up seedy winos
and ladies of the street
As down-and-out a clientele
you'd never want to meet

You must have had a vision
whatever it is worth
Time to change your action, pal
Get it down to earth

Gypsy parlor light

I've had enough advice
to last me for a year
He said: whatever's right
so we stopped and had a beer

Drunk by seven-thirty
looking for a friendly fight
I love a little party
and I love it every night

Gypsy parlor light

Rolling home alone
as luck would have it took a right
where I should have took a left
Saw the Gypsy parlor light

Wasn't feeling any pain
Wasn't scared or anything
I just knocked upon the door
Hollered: What's the future bring?

Gypsy parlor light

A wino on the steps
with eyes as red as port
Said: You must be freezing, Chet
Sit down and have a snort

That's exactly what I did
I drank the bottle down
He bummed a couple of dollars
Said: I'll see you around

Gypsy parlor light

Gyspy parlor door
opened with a creak
I come to find the day and hour
of which I heard you speak

I stared on her face
She wasn't pretty anymore
Looked half a century older
than she did the time before

Gypsy parlor light

Cross my palm with silver
if you want to know your fate

--Here's a hundred-dollar bill, Gypsy
give it to me straight--

Your future's in that room
at the end of the hall
Here's the key, if you dare,
your fate is on the wall

Gypsy parlor light

I saw nothing but the paper
on the wall, what did she mean?
Scabby yellow flowers in
a shabby city scene

The room started spinning
The rest is a blot
Woke up Sunday morning
sleeping in a vacant lot

Gypsy parlor light

My head was real fuzzy
and my hands blue from chill
as I felt for my wallet
with the money from the will

Counted 10, 20, 30, 40
50 dollars still
Strip of old wallpaper
but no hundred-dollar bill

Gypsy parlor light

No one believes my story
They just look at me rude
Say: What the hell's a strip
of old wallpaper prove?

What the hell's a strip
of old wallpaper prove?

Gypsy parlor light
Gypsy parlor light
Gypsy parlor light
Gypsy parlor light
Robert Hunter Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1984 Amagamalin Street Robert Hunter

Robert Hunter gives this synopsis in "Box Of Rain":
Deep in the throes of his alcoholic degeneration, Chet has a disturbing encounter with a beautiful young Gypsy fortune-teller, who tells him that he has no future beyond his nightly partying. He tells Murphy, who, having grown up in that part of town, swears that there is no such Gypsy parlor as the one Chet describes. Chet takes him to the location but they discover only a vacant lot.

Returning to his room after a night of carousing, Chet takes a left where he "shoulda took a right" and discovers the gypsy parlor again, closed. Demanding admittance, he finds the Gypsy mysteriously aged. He pays her the last hundred dollars left of his uncle's money in exchange for a frightening prophesy, then passes out. Next morning, he awakens shivering in a vacant lot.

Deranged by the experience, he tries desperately to convince others that it really happened, obsessively showing a piece of old wallpaper from the Gypsy parlor--discovered in his wallet in place of the hundred-dollar bill he paid the Gypsy--as proof.

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


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