Helen is looking for a song about gambling for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. Although my own gambling habit extends no further than the occasional lucky dip for the Euromillions Lottery (it’s about thirty yrears since I even had a flutter on the Grand National) I knew straight away what my choice was going to be.
‘Loser’ is one of what I call the Grateful Dead’s ‘cowboy’ songs – quite a few of which relate to gambling in one way or another. Robert Hunter’s lyrics capture – at the same time both simply and tellingly – the thoughts of somebody for whom, whether they deny it or not, is in thrall to gambling. And the title tells you everything you need to know – especially when juxtaposed with the last line of the lyric..
If I had a gun for every ace I’ve drawn,
I could arm a town the size of Abilene
Don’t you push me baby,
Cause I’m all alone and you know I’m only in it for the gold
All that I am asking for is ten gold dollars
And I could pay you back with one good hand
You can look around about the wide world over
And you’ll never find another honest man.
Last fair deal in the country,
Last fair deal in the town
Put your gold money where your love is baby,
Before you let my deal go down
Don’t you push me baby, cause I’m all alone
Well I know a little something you won’t ever know
Don’t you touch hard liquor, just a cup of cold coffee
I’m gonna get up in the morning and go
Everybody prayin’ and drinkin’ that wine
I can tell the Queen of Diamonds by the way she shines
Come to daddy on the inside straight,
Well I got no chance of losin’ this time
Lyrics by Robert Hunter, music by Jerry Garcia