John Hardy's Wedding

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: David Nelson

Robert Hunter's ironic take on the John Harty story. Played by David Nelson with the David Nelson Band.

In an interview in 2000, David Nelson gave some background to the writing of the song:

"'John Hardy's Wedding' was the first tune where I actually sent Hunter some changes. It was after I left New Riders in '82. I called him up one time and said, 'Have you got any lyrics for me?' And he said, 'Send me some changes, some music.' So I just got down with this little cassette tape recorder and composed a little piece of music and did overdubs with the playing. He thought it sounded a little bit like 'The Ballad of John Hardy.' You know, 'John Hardy was a desperate boy.' That's an old Appalachian folk song. So he wrote it on the subject of John Hardy getting married."
John Hardy, he was a desperate boy
He hailed from Richmond, VA
They cried 'cause he bruised his trigger finger
Just a-plucking for good friends in a day

He carried a razor in his portmanteau
He's a clean-shaven son of a gun
When the law came down to try to lay him low
Well you oughta see John Hardy run

You'd have thought that the wind was a cousin to him
When he made his bold getaway
By the feather stitches on his leather britches
He flew right out of Richmond, VA
Yes he flew right out of Richmond, VA

He had a little sweetheart named Claudia Dare
She stood about up to his knee
John said "little darling, if you really care
You must wait about ten years for me"

Ten years later, almost to the day
Claudia came looking for her man
She had her trousseau in a carrying sack
And her long white bridal veil on

And along in tow was the justice of the peace
And a methodist minister beside
Said John "I ain't got no religion or law
But I promised you and you'll be my bride
Yes I promised you and you'll be my bride

"Well that's real good of you," she said
"I ain't got no time to waste
I always knew you'd be a man of your word
But I brought this shotgun just in case"

Well baby, we're gonna pawn that gun
We'll get five bucks a barrel down town
And then I'm gonna buy you a diamond ring
You can wear it till they gun me down
You can wear it till they gun me down
You can wear it till they gun me down
     Date Album Recorded By
     studio 1995 Limited Edition David Nelson Band
     1997 Keeper Of The Key David Nelson Band
     16 Apr 1998 High Adventure In Japan David Nelson Band
     27 Jun 2009 Crystal Bay Live David Nelson Band

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


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