Just Gotta Poke Around

‘Shakedown Street’ is the title track of the 10th Grateful Dead album which was recorded in 1978 and the song reached #41 on the Billboard Top 200 for 1979. It depicts the reasons for inner-city urban decay although the meaning of Robert Hunter’s lyrics are not exactly clear. It might be a statement about the observer in the song seeing darkness, because his eyes are dark and maybe he is the one that is beaten down and broken up, instead of the city. Many people say that the song is about the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco where the Grateful Dead lived when they first started out. It has also been described as a statement against cynicism, and possibly one meant specifically to legitimize disco. Deadheads started calling the vending area outside Dead shows Shakedown Street.

You tell me this town ain’t got no heart (well, well, well, you can never tell)
The sunny side of the street is dark (well, well, well, you can never tell)
Maybe that’s cause it’s midnight, in the dark of the moon besides
Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
Maybe the dark is from your eyes (maybe the dark is from your eyes)
You know you got such dark eyes!
Nothin’ shakin’ on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart, you just gotta poke around
You think you’ve seen this town clear through (well, well, well, you can never tell)
Nothin’ here that could int’rest you (well, well, well, you can never tell)
It’s not because you missed out on the thing that we had to start
Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Maybe you had too much too fast (maybe you had too much too fast)
Or just over played your part
Nothin’ shakin’ on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town.
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart, you just gotta poke around.
Since I’m passing your way today (well, well, well, you can never tell)
I just stopped in ‘cause I want to say (well, well, well, you can never tell)
I recall your darkness when it crackled like a thundercloud
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart (don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart)
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart (don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart)
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart (don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart)
When I can hear it beat out loud!
Nothin’ shakin’ on shakedown street, used to be the heart of town
Don’t tell me this town ain’t got no heart, you just gotta poke around

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Shakin’.

3 thoughts on “Just Gotta Poke Around

  1. Good jam. I wondered why Bruce Hornsby’s face was on the front of the youtube and finally saw he was playing with them also. Was he just a guest performer, or did Bruce become a regular with The Grateful Dead?
    Also, hope things are going ok with your niece’s funeral (as well as can be expected.)

    Liked by 1 person

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