Arizona Ligntning

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

In "Box Of Rain", Robert Hunter says he wrote this in Lake Havasu, Arizona, while watching the Watergate hearings on TV. Most of the venom is directed at Nixon, but the "Alabama backslap" line refers to Ted Kennedy getting chummy with Governor George Wallace and his Southern votes as the Republican Party appeared to be ready to crumble.

Arizona lightning
Cut out like a thundershot
His voice rang clear across the USA
Where other men have tried and failed
Ended up their days in jail
This man always knew the horse to play

Pick your bed up, beggar man
Bird in the bush and none in the hand
What's your sad excuse to live so long?
Men been hanged for better things
Than half the things you did today
You go find some other place to stay

Arizona thundershower
Count the days and kill the hour
Six foot deep don't seem so awful low, you know
When the eagle hits the ground
Sparks will fly for miles around
Who could blame a man to curse or pray

Strike a light or curse the shade (note 1)
Some of us have got it made
While some men's children got to stall for time
What you get for what you got
Still don't leave an awful lot
Could be you've got nothing left to give away

California lightning chain
Kicked out in the driving rain
You broke every law of God and man
An honest man would stand and die
If he had one good reason why
Or even half a leg on which to stand

You don't look like one of me
And I don't think I'm one of you
But on the other hand you got your gun
I don't need to have to ask
What's that face behind your mask?
It ain't much different than any other one I've seen

Alabama backslap
One step forward and two steps back
That won't get you back to Buffalo, you know
Just one thing left to say
Every dog will have his day
Take your own but keep your hands off mine

Take your own but keep your hands off mine
Bump and grind but keep your hands off mine
Take it home but leave my own alone
Knock it down but don't write on my wall
Take your own but keep your hands off mine
Take it home but keep your hands off mine
(1) compare with the line in the much later Touch of Grey: "Light a candle, curse the glare".

     Date Album Recorded By
     1974 Tales Of The Great Rum Runners Robert Hunter

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


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