Cumberland Blues/Shakedown Street

In 2004 and 2005 playwrite Michael Mann produced two plays staged in San Francisco that were based on Robert Hunter lyrics and the Grateful Dead albums of the same name. Along with Garcia/Hunter compositions and Lesh/Hunter compositions, Greg wrote several songs with Hunter that were featured in the plays.

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CUMBERLAND BLUES

st_cumberland-blues_poster2The years of working with coal has given Jones a case of Black Lung and a date with the grave. With what time he has left, Jones desires one last chance at reconciliation with his sons, Pete Jr. and Mick. The family reunion comes crashing down when old passions and conflicts boil to the surface with the sudden death of Jones. Now all attention turns to Jones’s will and the ultimate ownership of the Palace Hotel and Cumberland Mine.


SHAKEDOWN STREET

st_shakedown-street_posterPrivate Investigator Duke Bishop has been hired to foil a blackmail scheme involving a crooked judge and a lounge singer named Lucille. Duke realizes that there is more than meets the eye when rumors of lost Spanish Mission artwork holds the clues as to the whereabouts of a fortune in missing Spanish gold believed lost in the San Francisco Bay leads Duke through a tale of deception and murder set against high society parties, nightclubs, drunk-tanks and boxing rings.


PBS Documentaries

st_angola_prisonIn 2003 and 2004 Greg composed and recorded the instrumental music for three one-hour Documentaries aired on PBS TV. The documentaries took place in Louisiana and dealt with issues involving crime and law enforcement.

One of the documentaries gave an inside look at Angola Prison, the county’s largest prison. They were shooting on location and the show’s producer suggested I come down there “to get the feel of the place”. 85% of the prisoners that go into Angola don’t come out alive, and every inmate I spoke with brought up that number during our conversation, expressing their hopes and laying out their plans to become part of the 15% through appeals and pardons. The ‘star’ of the show, serving consecutive life sentences, was one of the most personable, handsome and articulate people I’ve ever met. We hung out in his 4’X6’ foot solitary cell. It was a profound experience for me, but nothing like his.

Back home, I completed the instrumental soundtrack and gave a CD of it to Robert Hunter. I told him about my meeting with the prisoner. A few days later Hunter sent me a song he wrote to one of the instrumental tracks…a powerful lyric about the pain of a lifetime in a prison cell.

~ Greg

LIFETIME

Robert Hunter/ Greg Anton © 2008

A day in the life of a dead man’s soul
Rise up weary in this Goddamned hole
Season my supper with the salt of tears
Sentenced to life plus 99 years

I did the crime and I don’t deny
In prison to live and in prison to die
No one to remember me on the outside
Far as they’re concerned I already died

Lifetime————plus 99 years
A voice in the dark that no one hears
Forgotten by God until judgment nears
Lifetime————plus 99 years

They get on with their lives like I didn’t exist
For all I know I’ve never been missed
Never had a visit, a letter or a call
Not even a snapshot to hang on my wall

Dead to the world outside these bars
Dead to the ocean, the fields, the stars
Dead to hope and dead to fear
Dead to the thought of getting out of here

Lifetime————plus 99 years
A voice in the dark that no one hears
Forgotten by God until judgment nears
Lifetime————plus 99 years

A day in the life of a dead man’s soul
Rise up weary in this Goddamned hole
Season my supper with the salt of tears
Sentenced to life plus 99 years

Dead to the world outside these bars
Dead to the ocean, the fields, the stars
Dead to hope and dead to fear
Dead to the thought of getting out of here

You wonder why I don’t try suicide?
It’s because of a still small light inside
Just a flicker, not a full fledged spark
In the the dead of night when the cells are dark

Lifetime————plus 99 years
A voice in the dark that no one hears
Forgotten by God until judgment nears
Lifetime————plus 99 years

MUSICIANS

Tim Hockenberry; vocals
Chris Wilson; bass
Futoshi Morioka; guitar
Greg Anton; drums, piano

Recorded by Brian Risner

THE PAWNBROKER (ZERO BLUES)

The movie The Pawnbroker, starring Rod Stieger, came out in the mid-sixties. It’s a sad, dramatic story about a man who escaped a German concentration camp after losing his family there. He makes his way to New York City but can’t escape being haunted by the experiences he’s had. The screenplay was adapted to the theater and Greg composed and recorded the soundtrack for the play. He recruited Steve Kimock, Martin Fierro, and Liam Hanarahan from Zero who put down their own haunting, stellar tracks. The soundtrack was released on Taxim Records in Germany and titled ‘Zero Blues’. Maureen Hunter created the artwork. To listen to a song or view the artwork, go to the recordings page.

‘68 THE MOVIE

st_68_the_movie’68 The Movie, an independent feature film by producers Dale Djerossi and Steve Kovacs, featuring Neal Young. Greg produced the soundtrack with John Cippolina. Greg also appeared in the movie in a band in a simulated concert in Golden Gate Park that featured John Cippolina, Steve Kimock and John Wilhelm. (Greg also briefly appeared in the movie on his Harley as part of a motorcycle gang).

My favorite memory of making the movie: after a long day of filming in Golden Gate Park, I got on my Harley to drive home over the Golden Gate Bridge, started it up, put it in gear, and my clutch cable snapped. Steve Kimock took the E string off his guitar, replaced my clutch cable, and I made it home safely.

~ Greg