Make Sure It’s Clear Now

‘Walk in the Sunshine’ was written by Weir and Barlow and it was recorded on Bob Weir’s 1972 solo album Ace, but it was never played live by the Grateful Dead.  John Perry Barlow said that he stayed up all night with Frankie Weir, who fed him Wild Turkey and cocaine and made him write the fairly dreadful song ‘Walk in the Sunshine’.  He also wrote a song based on Pär Lagerkvist’s The Dwarf called ‘The Dwarf’ that included the insensitive lyrics “I’m not a tall man / I’m a small man”, which was about a horrible little Renaissance court dwarf who had no one’s interests at heart.  The main character in the Lagerkvist novel was a very twisted little man who was able to manipulate everybody in power around him.  Barlow gave this song to Bobby first, and Weir was greatly relieved when John showed him the only slightly less terrible ‘Walk in the Sunshine’.

Barlow’s father died the night before this was written, and he was under pressure to complete another song for this album and get back, but he was feeling burnt out, and he wrote the first thing that came into his head, and he knew it was terrible.  Barlow thought this song carried a message that came straight out of a greeting card and he compared this song with the advice that is given in Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, only not being as good.  He was embarrassed with what he wrote and he figured that the only way he could get Weir to do it was to write something that was really twisted and perverse that would make the sunny sentiments of ‘Walk in the Sunshine’ seem much more palatable, so he wrote that song ‘The Dwarf’, which of course Bob hated.  This is a very cheerful song and nobody needs to have that much sunshine in their life, so this song would be more appropriate in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood, than it would be at a Grateful Dead concert.

Weir remained single throughout his years with the Grateful Dead, although he lived for several years (1969-1975) with Frankie Hart.  Hart had been a go-go dancer at the Peppermint Lounge in New York, she also had worked in Apple Records American marketing department, and had performed on the 1960s TV shows Hullabaloo and Shindig!.  She was allegedly the inspiration for the Robert Hunter, Bob Weir song ‘Sugar Magnolia’, being the one who “Waits backstage while I sing to you”.  Weir made her acquaintance through Mickey Hart, who dated her briefly.  Mickey met her following her first Grateful Dead show in New York in 1968.  Her real name at that time was Frankie Azzara (from a previous marriage), and she changed her stage name to Frankie Hart borrowing Mickey’s last name.  Although she and Weir never married, she adopted his last name after moving in with him and was subsequently known as Frankie Weir.

Look out, ‘cause here comes some free advice

Walk in the sunshine
Watch for the bright sign
Be all those things you’re able to be

You got to listen to the heavens
You got to try and understand
The greatness of their movement
Is just as small as it is grand

Try not to hurry
It’s just not your worry
Leave it to those all caught up in time

You got to deep six your wrist watch
You got to try and understand
The time it seems to capture
Is just the movement of its hands

I ain’t preaching, ‘cause I don’t know
How to make fast things move along slow
I can’t stop it, I can’t make it go
Just ‘cause I say it, that don’t mean that it’s so

Watch what you hear now
Make sure it’s clear now
Just ‘cause it’s said, that don’t mean that it’s true

‘Cause folks always say
You got to make a revolution
You got to help me win my cause
You got to burn down all the buildings
You got to rub out all the laws

I ain’t burning
Lord, I’m still only learning
How to become a man of my own
I ain’t crazy, nor am I lazy
I just want to find out what’s right and what’s wrong

I ain’t burning
Whole world keeps on turning
I’m still trying to find out what’s right and what’s wrong
I ain’t crazy

Written for Song Lyric Sunday where the prompt is Clear/Dark/Light.

24 thoughts on “Make Sure It’s Clear Now

  1. I like this one, too. I do remember the Hullabaloo tv show and watched it all the time. (in fact that was one of my silly nicknames back in jr. high – haha). Good prompt words, as there are lots to choose from. 🙂

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  2. Another new one for me. Feels a little disjointed as it is performed. I like the lyrics but it is as if the music doesn’t quite fit. Always enjoy hearing new music though.

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  3. I feel like each week I learn a lot more about the Grateful Dead. Thanks for the “new” song, haha, well “new” in my experience. Thanks again!

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    1. I don’t always write about Grateful Dead songs, but using this group to meet the prompt words works out, as there is a good chance that I will be the only one writing about that song each week.


  4. Too bad that drugs had to be the driving force of many songs getting written. This is a great song choice this week.
    It would have ruined the Grateful Dead’s image. Much like Foreigner got bit when they did “I Want to Know What Love Is”. Even though it was their biggest hit, it killed their rock image. 🙂

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    1. The Grateful Dead were a party band that enjoyed concerts much more than they enjoyed being in the studio. Drugs are not inherently bad even though many of them are against the law, it is what people that are under the influence of drugs do that can be considered bad. You could do good things while being on drugs, like painting a picture, writing poetry or playing a song. I am not against drugs, but I don’t think that idiots should be taking them.

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      1. Well, that is the key isn’t it! Idiots taking them! Many of them kill and we had 2 people OD & die within our family in the last few weeks because of drugs. Kids that my kids grew up with….there have been so many that have died because of drug overdose. I am a survivor of child abuse because of drugs so my outlook on them is not good. Marijuana is not included in that list even though I’ve never done it myself. I believe in the medical marijuana and I think our prisons could be a little lighter with its legality everywhere. I can’t stand the smell of it though! 🙂

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