The Monkey and the Engineer

Once upon a time there was an engineer Drove a locomotive both far and near Accompanied by a monkey who would sit on a stool Watchin' everything the engineer would move – Jesse Fuller, "The Monkey and the Engineer"

YOUTUBE 5qjnbyXCwIc Jesse Fuller - The Monkey And the Engineer

Jesse Fuller was a fixture on the Bay Area blues scene for many years, and the Dead were familiar with his records and local live performances. Auszug aus The Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics David G. Dodd Dieses Material ist möglicherweise urheberrechtlich geschützt.

Born into extreme poverty in Jonesboro, Georgia, in 1896, Fuller never really knew his natural parents. He was instead brought up by a couple who treated him “worse than a dog,” until he managed to get out of the house at age nine and work as a cow grazer outside of Atlanta. Throughout his teens, he worked for next to nothing in a lumber camp. He went west in the early twenties, taking odd jobs and singing along the way. After a stay of several years in Los Angeles (he ran a hot dog stand inside the United Artists film lot and even appeared as an extra in a few films), he moved to Oakland, where he lived until he died in 1976. During those decades, he worked variously as a laborer for the Southern Pacific Railroad (hence the train imagery that fills so many of his songs), a shipbuilder, and a farm laborer. He was “discovered” in the mid-fifties, playing in Bay Area clubs and bars, and recorded his first record in 1955. Never particularly well-known, Fuller was nonetheless a fine songwriter and interpreter whose songs vividly speak of a life of hard times and hard work while still exhibiting great spirit and even humor. An interesting aspect of his talent (and Weir even alludes to this before the May 5, 1970, version of Fuller’s “The Monkey and the Engineer”) was that he made some of his own musical instruments, including a huge stand-up bass, called a fotdella, which he would play with his right foot in solo performances. (Jackson: Goin’ Down the Road) Blair Jackson, from Goin’ Down the Road: A Grateful Dead Traveling Companion.