Happy 75th Birthday Robert Hunter: The Unreleased ‘Alligator Moon’ LP
Grateful Dead lyricist and Songwriters Hall Of Fame inductee alongside longtime collaborator Jerry Garcia, the renowned Robert Hunter celebrates his 75th birthday today. The man who penned the words to such classic Dead tunes such as “Friend Of The Devil,” “Ripple,” “Dire Wolf,” “Sugaree” and scores of others has also fostered a several-decades-long solo career of his own and for his birthday today, here’s a look back at an unreleased “lost” album he recorded in the late 1970s.
In 1977 and into early 1978, Hunter toured with his band Comfort. Though the group composed of guitarist Kevin Morgenstern, violin/mandolin/banjo player Rodney Albin, drummer Pat Lorenzano, bassist Larry Klein, keyboardist Ozzie Ahlers and vocalists Marleen Molle and Kathleen Klein continued to tour through May 1978, soon after they disbanded. In October 1977, Comfort assembled with keyboardist Richard McNees to record an album purportedly titled Alligator Moon which featured the multi-part, title track suite.
The record was never officially released, though the recordings of “Hooker’s Ball,” “Promontory Rider” and “Drunkard’s Carol” were included in the 1982 compilation Promontory Rider. YouTube user Chinacat Sunflower compiled a mix featuring those three tracks, plus rough mixes from the 1977 studio session and a few live soundboard recordings to produce an estimation of what Alligator Moon might have sounded like had it been released.
Alligator Moon Tracklist & Timings
- 1. Drunkard’s Carol – 0:00 (from Promontory Rider LP)
- 2. Hooker’s Ball (Walking The Block) – 1:14 (from Promontory Rider LP)
- 3. Jesse James – 4:00 (from Live SBD recording 1978)
- 4. Promontory Rider – 11:05 (from Promontory Rider LP)
- 5. Alligator Moon Suite:
- A) Mesa Linda – 15:18 (from Studio Rough Mix of Album, 10/18/1977 Front Street)
- B) Domino, Cigarette and Melina – 19:43 (from Studio Rough Mix of Album, 10/18/1977 Front Street)
- C) Domino – 21:13 (from Studio Rough Mix of Album, 10/18/1977 Front Street)
- D) Blue Note – 25:15 (from Studio Rough Mix of Album, 10/18/1977 Front Street)
- E) New East St. Louis Blues/Cigarette – 29:36 (from Studio Rough Mix of Album, 10/18/1977 Front Street)