Mexicali Blues (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

"Mexicali Blues" is a song from Bob Weir's 1972 Ace solo album that, like the rest of the material on that record, was de facto by the Grateful Dead. Indeed it appears on the 1974 Skeletons from the Closet: The Best of Grateful Dead compilation.

"Mexicali Blues" was written by Bob Weir and lyricist John Perry Barlow. This was the first songwriting collaboration for Weir and Barlow. Barlow has noted that Weir had an idea for a "cowboy song" and asked Barlow to write the lyrics after Robert Hunter declined. Weir would soon switch to using Barlow rather than Hunter for the bulk of his songwriting.

The song concerns a man who had recently ridden into town from Bakersfield, meets a girl named "Billie Jean", falls under her spell, who then tells the narrator to shoot a stranger when she tells him that unless he uses his gun to prevent it, the stranger will take her away. He shoots and kills the stranger (who never even drew his gun in the first place and was most likely an authority figure given the consequences that happen next), and flees into the desert rather than face hanging for his crime.