Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Ripple
If you have followed my posts both here and on Oliver di Place, you know that I am a great fan of the Grateful Dead. Why then am I posting a cover of Ripple? Simply because Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s version is stunning and will not be denied.
Ripple is a Robert Hunter - Jerry Garcia collaboration, with Hunter responsible for the lyrics. The song comes from the early 70s, a period when many young people were engaged in spiritual searches, and Ripple reflects this. Hunter believes in a higher power, he just hasn’t identified it yet. Some of the lyrics seem to echo Judeo-Christian writings, while other parts of the song hint at Eastern beliefs. The brief chorus is in the form of a haiku. But, whatever the tradition, Ripple is a statement of faith. And that is why the song works as a whole.
For Gilmore, that statement of faith is the key. His delivery of the lines makes it clear that he believes. Gilmore’s arrangement is an added bonus, especially the fiddle solo. This one just shines.