Trade Your Soul for an Electric Guitar

‘Heaven Help The Fool’ is a song that was written by John Barlow and Bob Weir and it was released on a Live album in 1998 by Bob Weir and composer and bass player Rob Wasserman.  The Grateful Dead played this song several times in 1980 acoustic sets as an instrumental and it was also performed by most of the Bob Weir solo bands.  ‘Heaven Help The Fool’ is the title song from the second solo album by Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir, released in 1978.  It was recorded during time off from touring, in the summer of 1977, while Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart recovered from injuries sustained in a vehicular accident.

Ace is a Grateful Dead studio album that was released in 1972, that it is seen as being Bob Weir’s first solo album.  Weir was a member of the band Kingfish from 1974 to 1976 who recorded and released a live eponymous album in 1976, and Weir left the group shortly after the album’s release.  Bobby & The Midnites was a yacht rock country folk group that were together during the first half of the 1980s, when they released two albums, but they were better known for their live concerts.  They were a side project for Bob Weir who led the group playing rhythm guitar and singing vocals.  Bobby Cochran who had worked with Steppenwolf, the Flying Burrito Brothers, and Leon Russell played lead guitar, and sang vocals.  Dave Garland a composer, multi-instrumentalist and radio host played keyboards, saxophone, and sang vocals.  Alphonso Johnson who was in the jazz fusion group Weather Report played bass and sang vocals and Billy Cobham who worked with Miles Davis and then with the Mahavishnu Orchestra played drums and sang vocals.  Bob Weir later formed the rock band RatDog after the Dead disbanded.

‘Heaven Help The Fool’ is a disco-influenced tune that sounds a lot like the Grateful Dead song ‘Saint of Circumstance’ which came out later.  This song is about a guy from the Great Plains that moves to L.A. and wants to become successful by trying to be cool.  He lives in Malibu, has lots of girls, and a new Mercedes.  L.A. is a place of decadence and he can get what ever his heart desires there and even sell his soul to become more successful.  Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in Rosedale, Mississippi and the Charlie Daniels Band went down to Georgia, but apparently the devil also hangs out in L.A. and he is willing to trade guitars for souls.  Golden apples are also available in L.A. and they appear in several Greek myths.  They are very desirable items and can be used to distract others and goddesses willingly strip naked for them and offer gifts as a bribe to obtain these golden apples.  Hera had her own sacred golden apple tree which was guarded by a dragon.

I was born in Flatland, U.S.A.
And all my dreams lead me to L.A.
Another case of rags to riches
I learned to throw some fancy pitches
And I found out what ain’t, and which is
Just exactly cool

Heaven help the fool
Guess I showed the sons of bitches
Heaven help the fool

Got a place in Malibu
Like you’ve never seen
Pickin’ out your lady friends
From Penthouse magazine

You ought to see the chrome gleam
On my new Mercedes
All shiny and new
Hey, I’m the Jack of Diamonds
The boy with all the clues

Lotta pretty vanity
No not me
Glorified insanity
No not me
I’m a hyper-survivor, fast driver, star-driver
Heaven help the fool
Professional gimme-fiver
Heaven help the fool

Anything you want to be
You can buy, even get it free
Make yourself a smoother dancer
Fill your head with easy answers
Never a backward glancer
It’s you who makes the rules

Heaven help the fool
No, never a backward glancer
Heaven help the fool

The middle of a pentagram
Heart of a star (what you are)
You can trade your soul for an electric guitar

Fool, lotta pretty vanity
No, not me
Fool, glorified insanity
No, not me
When they offer golden apples
Are you sure you’ll refuse?
Heaven help the fool
Are you sure you’ll refuse?
Heaven help the fool

Just like a deaf man dancin’
Like a blind man shootin’ pool
Heaven help the fool

Written for Paula’s Thursday Inspiration 75 where this week’s theme is guitar from the 1972 Bread song ‘Guitar Man’.

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