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Robert Hunter's Once-Lost Manuscript, 'The Silver Snarling Trumpet: The Birth of the Grateful Dead,' Scheduled for Publication

The news of the book from the longtime Grateful Dead collaborator arrives on the same day as Rhino Records' announcement of a deluxe edition of Hunter's solo debut, 1974 'Tales Of The Great Rum Runners.'

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Source: MEGA

Robert Hunter attending the Songwriters Hall Of Fame 46th Annual Induction in 2015.

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If you’re a fan of Robert Hunter, co-founder of the Grateful Dead as well as the band’s primary lyricist, then this is turning out to be a pretty good week in terms of news about upcoming releases.

Yes, Hunter passed away back on September 23, 2019, but despite that sizable hindrance, Rhino Records will be releasing a deluxe edition of Hunter’s solo debut, Tales of the Great Rum Runners, on June 7, while on October 8, Hatchette Books will be releasing a new book by Hunter: The Silver Snarling Trumpet: The Birth of the Grateful Dead, a manuscript once believed to be lost.

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Bob Weir and Mickey Hart, longtime members of the Grateful Dead.

Let's start with the book, which was originally penned by Hunter in the early 1960s, before the Grateful Dead had even become the Grateful Dead. Truly, it is the secret origin of the band, particularly in that precious few people have ever been able to read Hunter's reminiscences about this time in his life, or the life of his longtime friend and collaborator, Jerry Garcia.

This is an instance where it's actually worth quoting directly for the press release, not for the sake of convenience but, indeed, because it's the only place that anyone can currently get any information about the book:

"In these pages, readers are privy to the early days of Hunter, Garcia, and their cohorts, who sit at coffee shops passing around a single cup of bottomless coffee because they lacked the funds for more than one. Follow these truth-seeking souls into the stacks at Kepler’s Books, renting instruments at Swain’s House of Music, and through the countryside on mind-expanding road trips. Witness impromptu jams, inspired intellectual pranks, and a dialogue that is, by turns, amusing and brilliant and outrageous. Hunter shares his impressions of his first gig with Garcia for a college audience, along with descriptions of his most intense dreams and psychedelic explorations. All of it, enlivened by Hunter’s visionary spirit and profound ideas about creativity and collaboration."

In addition, the book features a foreword by John Mayer, an introduction by Dennis McNally, an afterword by Brigid Meier, and -- perhaps most importantly for those seeking historical context -- a segment written by Hunter in 1982 in which he assesses his work while also explaining how he shared it with a handful of his confidants before opting to leave it unpublished.

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Which brings us back to the deluxe edition of Tales of the Great Rum Runners, which, in addition to being Hunter’s first solo album, was also notable at the time its original release for being the inaugural LP issued by Round Records, a subsidiary of – what else? – Grateful Dead Records.

Recorded at Mickey Hart’s converted barn studio in Novato, California, it gave Hunter the opportunity to spotlight more than his lyrics for a change, providing him with the chance to display his abilities as a multi-instrumental musician as well as a vocalist. The album also featured a number of notable musicians assisting him on the project, including Garcia, Hart, Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux, guitarist Barry Melton (Country Joe & The Fish), bassist David Freiberg (Quicksilver Messenger Service/Jefferson Starship), and pedal steel guitarist Buddy Cage (New Riders Of The Purple Sage).

Here's the full track listing for the CD and LP versions, and you’ll note that any track anointed with an asterisk is one that’s previously unreleased:

2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2024 Remaster)

“Lady Simplicity”

“That Train”

“Dry Dusty Road”

“I Heard You Singing”

“Rum Runners”

“Children’s Lament”

“Maybe She’s A Bluebird”

“Boys In The Barroom”

“It Must Have Been The Roses”

“Arizona Lightning”

“Standing At Your Door”

“Mad”

“Keys To The Rain”

Disc Two: Bonus Tracks (2024 Remaster)

“Boys In The Barroom” – Alternate Version *

“Elijah” *

“The Word” *

“Rum Runners” – Alternate Version *

“It Must Have Been The Roses” – Alternate Version *

“Road Hog” *

“Green Briar Song” *

“Reelin’ And A-Pitchin’” *

“Briney Deep” *

“Children’s Lament” – Alternate Version *

“Lady Simplicity” – Alternate Version *

“Southern Fried Shuffle” *

“West Virginia Steel Guitar” *

“Buck Dancer’s Choice” *

“Boats” *

“Keys To The Rain” – Alternate Version *

2-LP Track Listing

Original Album (2024 Remaster)

Side One

“Lady Simplicity”

“That Train”

“Dry Dusty Road”

“I Heard You Singing”

“Rum Runners”

“Children’s Lament”

“Maybe She’s A Bluebird”

Side Two

“Boys In The Barroom”

“It Must Have Been The Roses”

“Arizona Lightning”

“Standing At Your Door”

“Mad”

“Keys To The Rain”

Bonus Tracks (2024 Remaster)

Side One

“Boys In The Barroom” *

“Elijah” *

“The Word” *

“Rum Runners” – Alternate Version *

“It Must Have Been The Roses” – Alternate Version *

“Road Hog” *

“Green Briar Song” *

“Reelin’ And A-Pitchin’” *

Side Two

“Briney Deep” *

“Children’s Lament” – Alternate Version *

“Lady Simplicity” – Alternate Version *

“Southern Fried Shuffle” *

“West Virginia Steel Guitar” *

“Buck Dancer’s Choice” *

“Boats” *

“Keys To The Rain” – Alternate Version *

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