Don’t Forget My Name

This song ‘Down So Long’ was a short-lived Grateful Dead original that featured traditional-sounding chord changes and it was sung a few times by Jerry Garcia in 1966.  The lyrics were supposedly inspired by Richard Fariña’s 1966 novel Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me.  The novel was based largely on Fariña’s college experiences and travels, and it is a comic picaresque story that is set in the Western United States, in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution, and at an upstate New York university.  Richard Farina took the line from a 1920s Furry Lewis song ‘I Will Turn Your Money Green’ and it is possible that is where the Dead got the idea for this song.  The Doors’ recorded a completely different song titled ‘Been Down So Long’.  Near the end of this song Jerry Garcia sings, “please don’t forget my name”, which always makes me think of his song ‘Sugaree’, where he sings, “Please forget you knew my name”.  It is also interesting that the candyman makes an appearance in this song, which was another Hunter and Garcia song.  The Candyman is a shady character, a gambler, a drinker, a musician, a ladies’ man, and possibly a drug dealer.

Hard headed lover, won’t you please let me stay all night
If you just let me stay, I think everything’s all right
With my shoes in my pockets, eyes on the door
Mama won’t you give me the key
I been down so long it looks like up to me

I’m afraid of going but I can’t stand standing still
The hole that I’ve been in looks more and more like a hill
In a rowboat on the ocean, swept offshore
I started to feel all at sea
I been down so long it looks like up to me

The candyman is standing with his friends outside my door
There’s a hole in the circle and I’m [going down in the floor]
Been told many times, but again my friend, the best things in life are free
I been down so long it looks like up to me

[You gotta have plans] please don’t forget my name
‘Cause the hand that I got just won’t let me win the game
If I had plenty of time […]
[…] looks like I’ve started to see
I been down so long it looks like up to me

Written for Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge Don’t You (Forget About Me) Week 87.

4 thoughts on “Don’t Forget My Name

  1. Jim…I gotta get this song…love the style of it! It kind reminds me of Don’t Ease Me In…not that it sounds like it but that sorta similar style .

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