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Robert Hunter, wrote this song in 1970 in London in the same afternoon he wrote “Brokedown Palace” and “To Lay Me Down” (reputedly also drinking an entire bottle of retsina in the process). The song debuted August 18, 1970 at Fillmore West in San Francisco.
Like many folk songs, “Ripple” addresses itself as a song and an instrument of the performers’ emotional expression. Several lines throughout the song echo the 23rd Psalm of the Bible.