Breedloves's Folk Songs


    “Me and My Uncle”, often also written “Me & My Uncle”, is a song composed by John
    Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas, and popularized by the Grateful Dead and Judy
    Collins. John Phillips originally wrote “Me and My Uncle” at a drinking session in a
    hotel room with Judy Collins and Neil Young (among others) in 1963. According to
    Grateful Dead Lyric & Song Finder,
    John often used to tell the story behind “Me and My
    Uncle”. Years ago he began receiving publishing royalties from a song on a Judy Collins
    record with which he was unfamiliar. It was titled “Me and My Uncle”. He called Judy to
    let her know of the mistake because he hadn’t written any such song. She laughed and
    told him that about a year before, in Arizona after one of her concerts, they had a ‘Tequila
    Night’ back at the hotel with Stephen Stills, Neil Young and a few others. They were
    running a blank cassette and John proceeded to write “Me and My Uncle” on the spot.
    The next day, John woke up to the tequila sunrise with no recollection of the songwriting
    incident. Judy kept the cassette from that evening and then, without informing John,
    recorded the song for her own record. Over the years the song was recorded by several
    people, and eventually became a standard of the Grateful Dead. John used to joke that,
    little by little, with each royalty check, the memory of writing the song would come back
    to him.
    “Me and My Uncle” has also been performed by John Denver, Dino Valente, Mike
    Wilhelm and by John Phillips himself.
    Me and my uncle went ridin’ down,
    South Colorado, West Texas bound.
    We stopped over in Santa Fe,
    That bein’ the point just about half way,
    And you know it was the hottest part of the day.
    I took the horses up to the stall,
    Went to the barroom, ordered drinks for all.
    Three days in the saddle, you know my body hurt,
    It bein’ summer, I took off my shirt,
    And I tried to wash off some of that dusty dirt.
    West Texas cowboys, they’s all around,
    With liquor and money, they’re loaded down.
    So soon after payday, know it seemed a shame;
    You know my uncle, he starts a friendly game,
    High-low jack and the winner take the hand.
    My uncle starts winnin’; cowboys got sore.
    One of them called him, and then two more,
    Accused him of cheatin’; Oh no, it couldn’t be.
    I know my uncle, he’s as honest as me,
  • And I’m as honest as a Denver man can be.
    One of them cowboys, he starts to draw,
    And I shot him down, Lord he never saw.
    Shot me another, oh damn he won’t grow old.
    In the confusion, my uncle grabbed the gold,
    And we high-tailed it down to Mexico.
    I love those cowboys, I love their gold,
    I loved my uncle, God rest his soul,
    Taught me good, Lord, Taught me all I know
    Taught me so well, I grabbed that gold
    And I left his dead ass there by the side of the road.

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