A Couple More Classic Grateful Dead Songs

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDNOIFAg7rc&w=425&h=349]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVdTQ3OPtGY&w=425&h=349]

The lyrics, by Robert Hunter, for the latter tune, Ripple:

If my words did glow, with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung,
Would you hear my voice come thru the music,
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It’s a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken,
Perhaps they’re better left unsung.
I don’t know, don’t really care
Let there be songs to fill the air.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty,
If your cup is full may it be again,
Let it be known there is a fountain,
That was not made by the hands of men.

There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.

Ripple in still water,
When there is no pebble tossed,
Nor wind to blow.

You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone,
If you should stand then who’s to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home.

La dee da da da, la da da da da, da da da, da da, da da da da da
La da da da, la da da, da da, la da da da, la da, da da.


Up On Cripple Creek

This is wonderful music, a song from The Band’s peak years:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDnlU6rPfwY&w=560&h=349]

The Band was sort of a Canadian equivalent of the Beatles; their songs incorporated influences from a variety of musical genres.

The song brings to mind the Grateful Dead’s “Sugar Magnolia”; listen to it:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWuQiGaIsso&w=560&h=349]


Midnight Special

The Lomax father-and-son team recorded a prisoner in a southern prison way back when; his nickname was Leadbelly. Listen to this:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqgysixP_48&w=425&h=349]

Come back later and hear former CCR member John Fogerty’s version:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrXMXg_y7YA&w=425&h=349]


He Didn’t Survive

It’s such a shame that Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead, died so early from diabetes and heroin addiction. Here’s one of his last gigs:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmT6udys8Tc&w=425&h=349]


Robert Hunter

One important aspect of the Grateful Dead’s music are the lyrics of song-writer Robert Hunter. His lyrics are true poetry; not quite immediately understandable but evocative nonetheless. An example; the lyrics to “Mountains Of The Moon”, from the album Aoxomoxoa, (a palindromic title), many years ago:

Cold mountain water, the jade merchant’s daughter
Mountains of the moon, Electra, bow and bend to me
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me
Hey, Tom Banjo
Hey, a laurel
More than laurel you may sow
More than laurel you may sow
Hey, the laurel, hey, the city in the rain
Hey, hey, the wild wheat waving in the wind
Twenty degrees of solitude, twenty degrees in all
All the dancing kings and wives assembled in the hall
Lost is the long and loneliest time, fairy Sybil flying
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon
Hey, Tom Banjo
It’s time to matter
The earth will see you on through this time
The earth will see you on through this time
Down by the water, the marsh king’s daughter, did you know
Clothed in tatters, always will be, Tom where did you go?
Mountains of the moon, Electra, mountains of the moon
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon
Heigh ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle
Heigh ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me
Bend to me…

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o18YLPHDiD0&w=425&h=349]

I’ve always liked the line “Heigh, ho, the carrion crow” and the references to the jade merchant’s and the marsh-king’s daughters. It’s like a medieval fantasy condensed into a song.


Dark Star

When I was about seventeen years old I got a double album from the Quincy library; it was The Grateful Dead performing way back when they were at their peak. Notice the innovative electric bass playing of Phil Lesh; he was as much of a lead melody player as guitar player Jerry Garcia. Take a listen:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwT8HNn5prQ&w=560&h=349]

And these two as well:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m68lFBKkthU&w=425&h=349]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRqa-5kE0gg&w=425&h=349]


A Couple of Great Grateful Dead Songs

The Grateful Dead in their prime were superb interpreters of a variety of musical genres, from R&B to country and blues. Jerry Garcia on lead guitar along with Bobby Weir on rhythm guitar and innovative bass guitar player Phil Lesh melded well; from Wikipedia:

“I Know You Rider” (aka “Woman Blues” and “I Know My Rider”) is a traditional woman’s blues song that has been adapted by numerous artists. Modern versions can be traced back to the song’s appearance in the 1934 book, American Ballads and Folk Songs, by the noted father and son musicologists and folklorists, John Lomax and Alan Lomax. The book notes that “An eighteen-year old black girl, in prison for murder, sang the song and the first stanza of these blues.” The Lomaxes then added a number of verses from other sources and named it ‘Woman Blue’

These songs were performed back in 1972:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebWm_76riIc&w=425&h=349]

This one is from the band’s psychedelic era; the lyrics don’t really make sense, but I’ve always liked them:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOXPVRLpoQA&w=425&h=349]

Look for a while at the china cat sunflower,
Proud walking jingle in the midnight sun.
Copperdome bodhi drip a silver kimono,
Like a crazy quilt stargown through a dream night wind.

Crazy cat peekin through a lace bandanna,
Like a one-eyed cheshire, like a diamond-eye jack.
A leaf of all colors plays a golden-string fiddle,
To a double-e waterfall over my back.

Comic book colors on a violin river cryin leonardo,
Words from out a silk trombone.
I rang a silent bell, beneath a shower of pearls,
In the eagle-winged palace of the queen chinee.

I saw this band live three times years ago and I still cherish the memories.


Rock Music Lullabies

A couple of rock lullabies. First, the classic Beatles tune from the White Album, “Golden Slumbers”:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXXJhrnNr7I&w=425&h=349]

And next, an old Grateful Dead song with which the band often ended concerts, “We Bid You Goodnight”; it was originally composed and recorded by Bahamian musician Joseph Spence, who died in 1984:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROPcZ8S_nwE&w=425&h=349]

Such sweet music!