FRIEND OF THE DEVIL

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • FRIEND OF THE DEVIL
    “Friend of the Devil” is about an outlaw, on the run from the police. His crime is never
    explicitly stated. The Devil helps him escape, but winds up chasing him just as the law
    does; several lines of the song are ambiguous, and could refer to either law enforcement
    or servants of Satan, such as “I was trailed by twenty hounds”, which could refer to either
    police dogs sniffing his trail, or mythical hellhounds. The song is acoustic, like most of
    American Beauty. It is known for the riff lead guitarist Jerry Garcia plays, which is a
    descending G major scale (G F# E D C B A G). The song is among the most covered
    song written by the Grateful Dead; Hunter later stated, “That was the closest we’ve come
    to what may be a classic song.”
    I lit out from Reno, I was trailed by twenty hounds
    Didn’t get to sleep last night ’till the morning came around.
    Set out runnin’ but I take my time
    A friend of the devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.
    Ran into the devil, babe, he loaned me twenty bills
    I spent the night in Utah in a cave up in the hills.
    Set out runnin’ but I take my time, a friend of the devil is a friend of mine,
    If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.
    I ran down to the levee but the devil caught me there
    He took my twenty dollar bill and vanished in the air.
    Set out runnin’ but I take my time
    A friend of the devil is a friend of mine
    If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.
    Got two reasons why I cry away each lonely night,
    The first one’s named Sweet Anne Marie, and she’s my hearts delight.
    The second one is prison, babe, the sheriff’s on my trail,
    And if he catches up with me, I’ll spend my life in jail.
    Got a wife in Chino, babe, and one in Cherokee
    The first one says she’s got my child, but it don’t look like me.
    Set out runnin’ but I take my time,
    A friend of the devil is a friend of mine,
    If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight.
     Got two reasons why I cry away each lonely night,
    The first one’s named Sweet Anne Marie, and she’s my hearts delight.
    The second one is prison, babe, the sheriff’s on my trail,
    And if he catches up with me, I’ll spend my life in jail.
    Got a wife in Chino, babe, and one in Cherokee
    The first one says she’s got my child, but it don’t look like me.
    Set out runnin’ but I take my time,
    A friend of the devil is a friend of mine,
    If I get home before daylight, I just might get some sleep tonight