Me and My Uncle

"Me and My Uncle", often also written as "Me & My Uncle," is a song composed by John Phillips of The Mamas and the Papas, and popularized in versions by Judy Collins and the Grateful Dead. It relates the journey of a narrator and his uncle from southern Colorado towards west Texas, involving standard cowboy song themes like a poker game in Santa Fe, accusations of cheating, gunplay, gold, and death.[1]


John Phillips originally wrote "Me and My Uncle" at a drinking session in a hotel room with Judy Collins, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young among others in 1963. It was first recorded by Judy Collins in 1964 on The Judy Collins Concert.[1]

The song was later covered by the Grateful Dead, who adopted it as part of their standard repertoire. Bob Weir is reported to have learned it from James “Curley” Cooke, a member of the Bay Area band A.B. Skhy. The earliest commercially released performance of the song by the Grateful Dead is from the Electric Theater in Chicago, on April 26, 1969, and is available on Dick's Picks Volume 26. One of the earliest performances at the Matrix is available on recorded on December 4, 1966. The song continued to be performed regularly until Jerry Garcia's death and the end of the band in 1995. Since the Grateful Dead disbanded in 1995, the song continues to be a staple of the surviving members' performances.

"Me and My Uncle" has also been performed by Joni Mitchell, John Denver, Dino Valente, Mike Wilhelm, Widespread Panic, Michael Longcor, Billy Strings, Whisky Crick, Max Creek, Goose, and by John Phillips himself.


  1. ^ a b Jermance, Frank, ed. (2003). Navigating the Music Industry: Current Issues & Business Models. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-634-02652-2.