Home On The Range

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Greg Anton, Steve Kimock

One of the lyrics Hunter wrote for Zero:

Greg Anton told a story about this song in an interview on Pairie Sun Presents in July 2020:

Zero had a song called "Home On The Range", and we played it for two years - Hunter wrote the lyrics. And we're making a record at the Record Plant in Sausalito, and I said "Why don't we do 'Home On The Range' like a rock song?" Instead of a ballad, which it had been earlier. So the band goes "OK, let's try it". So we recorded a rock-n-roll version of it. We get to the chorus, and because the words were going so much faster, we ran out of words. So I called up Hunter, told him what was happening. I said "we need some extra words for this chorus". He says "All right". He comes down to the Record Plant a couple of hours later. He says "Play me the track". We play it to him, and he says "Do you have a pencil and paper? Play it again". He wrote lyrics to a new song as fast as the song played. So he wrote a four minute song in four minutes. He says "Give me a track" and he went into the vocal booth and sang the words he had just written in his way. Hunter said "To hell with that other song, here's a new one for you". And he walked out the door. And so he wrote it - it was a great song too. It's called Ermaline. With some great lines: "Ermaline, she's so mean. She get's her cologne from a magazine. She's so cheap and that's a fact, she rubs it on her body and puts it back on the rack".".
Four in the morning, last shakes of night
Last time I checked, babe, nothing was right
Words I was reading slipped off the page
Left me here singing like a bird in a cage

Crickets are humming a sixty bar blues
Leave me here hanging by the skin of my shoes
Coversation just gets in my ear
Yes I love you but I don't want to hear

I want a Home on the Range
Where the buffalo roam (note 1)
And the people aren't strange

Bring on the moonlight, bring on the dawn
Hard to believe in what's going on
The frogs are in A flat, the wind is in D
Rollin', rollin' rollin' like a tumbleweed

Twenty parts reason, twenty parts rhyme
Throw 'em in a shaker, add a dash of lime (note 2)
If it comes out like a song, that's all right with me
If it sounds sweet and strong, save the recipe

I want a Home on the Range
Where the buffalo roam (note 1)
And the people don't change

Salt Lake City with the girl of my dreams
Everything busting apart at the seams
Give me your troubles, your sadness and woe
And send them off to Utah on the six-five-O

Too long in this condition, got sense enough to know
The sooner I get out of here, the smoother things will go
Don't know what holds me, it sure ain't lack of nerve
Gotta get back on the range, this ain't what I deserve

I want a Home on the Range
Where the buffalo roam (note 1)
And love ain't strange

Went up on the mountain, looked down upon the plain (note 3)
Everybody running round just like they was insane
Stumbled down the mountain, my broken heart for brake
This isn't what I planned on, there must be some mistake

I used to want a million, don't want it any more
Used to walk on crutches, my balance was so poor
I can stand as steady as anyone you meet
All I need's a piece of land that's flat beneath my feet

I want a Home on the Range
Where buffalo wander
And a dollar ain't change

Drinkin' like a demon, payin' with my brain
Watchin' all-night movies while my life goes down the drain
Love is a commodity you purchase on the street
Wake up in the morning feelin' like a piece of meat

My values are in storage, the ticket's on the mirror
I don't recall exactly how I ended up down here
Won't even try to figure the damage to my heart
Just roll on back where I belong and make a brand new start

I want a Home on the Range
Where buffalo wander
And people don't change
(1) in "Box Of Rain", Hunter has "Where the buffalo wander"
(2) in "Box Of Rain", Hunter has "add a splash of lime"
(3) on "Chance In A Million," Zero don't sing any of the verses from here on (I haven't checked "Zero Live")

     Date Album Recorded By
     1994 Chance In A Million Zero
     Live 1998 Zero Live (Nothin' Lasts Forever) Zero

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


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