Robert Hunter's Tales of the Great Rum Runners out June 7th

Article Contributed by | Published on Wednesday, April 10, 2024

“I considered myself a folksinger, and then we all became bluegrass musicians. When it turned rock and roll, I turned to my typewriter.” - Robert Hunter, The Golden Road, 1984

And we're certainly glad he did! We're confident you're familiar with the tremendous impact of songwriter and lyricist Robert Hunter's work with the Grateful Dead. He may have been the sixth member unseen, but his contribution to their songs stands testament to their everlasting effect on generations of Dead Heads. Now we're offering up the chance to explore Hunter's 1974 solo debut, one that Rolling Stone once called "perhaps the most interesting solo album to emerge from the Dead’s quirky ambit." Hear it for yourself with the 50th anniversary edition of TALES OF THE GREAT RUM RUNNERS due June 7th.

TALES OF THE GREAT RUM RUNNERS (DELUXE EDITION) introduces a freshly remastered version of the original album alongside 16 previously unreleased recordings, including alternate versions of album tracks and several session outtakes. All the music has been remastered from the original master tapes by GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer David Glasser using Plangent Processes tape restoration and speed correction.

Originally released in spring 1974, TALES OF THE GREAT RUM RUNNERS marked the inaugural release on Round Records, an offshoot of the newly formed Grateful Dead Records. Among its 13 tracks were several destined to become staples of Hunter’s live repertoire, like “Boys In The Barroom,” “Rum Runners,” and “It Must Have Been The Roses.”

Recorded at Mickey Hart’s converted barn studio in Novato, California, the album reveals Hunter’s multifaceted talents and features him singing and playing various instruments, including guitar, tin whistle, and bagpipes on “Children’s Lament.” He was accompanied by a revolving cast of Bay Area musicians on the album, including Jerry Garcia, Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux, and Mickey Hart of the Dead, as well as 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).

TALES OF THE GREAT RUM RUNNERS (DELUXE EDITION) comes with 16 previously unreleased bonus tracks, offering new insight into the album’s evolution. Among these are alternate versions of six songs that made the album (“Keys To The Rain” and “It Must Have Been The Roses”), plus ten gems that did not (“The Word,” “Buck Dancer’s Choice,” and “Elijah.”)

Pre-order the 2CD, 2LP, and high-definition digital downloads here:

COMING SOON: THE SILVER SNARLING TRUMPET: The Birth of the Grateful Dead—The Lost Manuscript of Robert Hunter, featuring a foreword by John Mayer, an introduction by Dennis McNally, and an afterword by Brigid Meier, a close friend of Hunter’s. Stay tuned for more details.