Uncle John's Band

Album: Workingman's Dead (1969)
Charted: 69
  • Well the first days are the hardest days, don't you worry any more
    'Cause when life looks like easy street, there is danger at your door
    Think this through with me, let me know your mind
    Wo, oh, what I want to know, is are you kind

    It's a buck dancer's choice my friend; better take my advice
    You know all the rules by now and the fire from the ice
    Will you come with me? won't you come with me
    Wo, oh, what I want to know, will you come with me

    Goddamn, well I declare, have you seen the like
    Their wall are built of cannonballs, their motto is don't tread on me
    Come hear uncle John's band playing to the tide
    Come with me, or go alone, he's come to take his children home

    It's the same story the crow told me; it's the only one he knows
    Like the morning sun you come and like the wind you go
    Ain't no time to hate, barely time to wait
    Wo, oh, what I want to know, where does the time go

    I live in a silver mine and I call it beggar's tomb
    I got me a violin and I beg you call the tune
    Anybody's choice, I can hear your voice
    Wo, oh, what I want to know, how does the song go

    Come hear uncle John's band by the riverside
    Got some things to talk about, here beside the rising tide

    Come hear uncle John's band playing to the tide
    Come on along, or go alone, he's come to take his children home
    Wo, oh, what I want to know, how does the song go

Comments: 3

  • Wayne Dooley from Florida, UsaJust a correction to the main comments: "this was the first time the epithet "God Damn" had been heard in a commercially released song." Not really. On Steppenwolf's first ("Born to be Wild") album of 1968, they included a song written by Hoyt Axton, called "The Pusher", which features the expression prominently in the repeated chorus. This was a major release, and had schoolboys justifying using the epithet with "but they sing it on this record!". Nothing against this Dead song, though, it's really a classic. UJB was used as the theme music for the TV series knockoff of the film "The Paper Chase". Certainly in law school, the first days are the hardest days. [Good catch. We updated that to reflect the song being the first Hot 100 hit to use the phrase - editor]
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkOh yes, I remember it well. It's just amazing that I can recall anything from that year though!!! Haaaa! I was in college at the University of Kansas and when the album came out it was popular with the hippy culture around there. I was caught up in all the hub-bub of all that near KU. The Dead Heads, the hippies, the druggies, mercy! Loved the song. So laid back and mellow. Back then, I read a magazine that speculated it was about Mississippi John Hurt. Coulda been. What cool times & what strange people I met back then.
  • Nate from New York, NyLove this song!
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