David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 08:43
Lost Sailor w: Barlow m: Weir AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/sail.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/LOSTSAIL.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 21:22
Lost Sailor Lyrics: John Barlow Music: Bob Weir Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. Compass card is spinning Helm is swingin' to and fro Ooh where's the dog star Ooh where's the moon You're lost sailor You've been too long at sea Some days the gales are howling Some days the sea is still as glass Ooh reef the mainsail Ooh lash the mast You're lost sailor You've been too long at sea Now the shore-lights beckon Yeah there's a price for being free Yeah the sea birds cry There's a ghost wind blowin' It's calling you to that misty swirling sea Till the chains of your dreams are broken No place in this world you can be You're lost sailor You've been way too long at sea Now the shore-lights beckon Yeah there's a price for being free Drifting yeah drifting Yeah drifting and dreaming 'Cause there's a place you've never been Maybe a place you've never seen You can hear her calling on the wind Go on and drift your life away Yeah just drifting and dreaming Maybe drift your life away Drifting and dreaming Yes I'm going on a dream Maybe going on a dream Maybe going on a dream Maybe going on a dream
Brian Noe (noebie) Mon 29 Sep 03 07:58
another one of <barlow>'s coolest lyrics -- and kind of a companion to "saint of circumstance"
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 23 Dec 13 14:14
From the "Greatest Stories Ever Told" blog I'm writing on dead.net this year, my entry on "Lost Sailor" / "Saint of Circumstance": See http://www.dead.net/features/greatest-stories-ever-told/greatest-stories-ever- told-lost-sailor-saint-circumstance to add your comments! This must be heaven pretty much sums up my life philosophy. As far as we know, its all weve got, and you have to admit, its a pretty amazing place, this planet were on, and these bodies we get to occupy for whatever amount of time we have. This pair of Bob Weir / John Barlow songs manages to get at a number of major Grateful Dead themes and motifs within their space. Ambiguity (Sure dont know ); rainbows; cats (tiger in a trance); weather; gambling (odds against me ); and Im sure Im missing something. Lost Sailor and Saint of Circumstance were written in Mill Valley in July 1979. The band first performed the pair of songs on August 31, 1979, at Glens Falls Civic Center, in Glens Falls, New York. Lost Sailor debuted earlier that month, on the fourth of August, at the Oakland Coliseum Arena, and was played four times on its own prior to August 31. Saint was played mostly (but not always!) in a pair with Sailor until March 24, 1986, at The Spectrum in Philadelphia, after which Sailor was dropped permanently from the rotation. Saint remained in the rotation thereafter. Its final performance was on July 8, 1995, at Soldier Field. Lost Sailor and Saint of Circumstance appeared on Go To Heaven, released in April 1980. The pairing of the two songs may have been musically motivated, but there is at least one distinct link between them, lyrically, in that both refer to the Dog Star (Sirius). Sailor asks Wheres the Dog Star? and Saint answers See that Dog Star shinin. And both songs feature a narrator who is unsure where he may be going, but seems willing to keep going nonetheless. Is it the same narrator / character in the two songs? Or is in one character in the first, and another in the second? If its the same character, what part of his story are we hearing in each song? Do they follow on each other? It seems appropriate that there are as many unanswered and unanswerable questions contained in the lyrics as are asked or hinted at by the narrator. Maybe going on a dream. Sure dont know what Im going for Reason is no helpthe line in Saint, Holes in whats left of my reason harkens back to Playing in the Band: Some folks trust to reason And likewise, the lines echo Dark Star (note the pun-like similarity to Dog Star) and its lines: Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis. So, forget reason. Just head off and move forward, right? (Im gonna go for it for sure, and Go on and drift your life away.) In live performance, Sailor frequently ended with a largely improvised Weir-style rave-up (with Garcias guitar lines dancing in and out) that included some strong philosophizing about the difference between freedom from and freedom to. Im pretty sure this song introduced me to that concept, and Ive been grateful for the distinction, which comes in handy, actually, in daily life. You can ask yourself, in any given situation where you are aching to be free, whether it is moving towards something, or away from something, that you are longing for. One is a negative motivation, the other, positive. Not to say that its never necessary to get free of somethingthat freedom from cannot be a positive thing. One article on freedom delineated freedom from as corresponding to safety or security, while freedom to would be characterized as liberty. The more I look at the two sets of lyrics, the more correspondences I can pick out. Is it possible that Barlow originally wrote them as a single lyric? The reference to sirens in Saint (I can hear the sirens call) makes us think of Odysseus and his journey as a lost sailor. In fact, maybe thats a key to the song(s). In Sailor, a line that never made much sense to me is Ooh, lash the mast. But if we think about the Odysseus story of his encounter with the sirens, he had his crew lash him to the mast so he would not succumb to their call. (You can hear her calling ) Hmmm. Maybe I love the musical hooks in both songs. In particular, Saint has two very strong onesthe Holes in whats left of my reason, holes in the knees of my blues, and, cheesy though it may be, Sure dont know what Im goin for, but Im gonna go for it for sure. The manner in which both of these strong hooks emerge from the drifty rain fallin down jammy sections only adds to their punch. Drifting and dreaming, indeed. So if youre on a journey (and who isnt?), and you find yourself adrift, or pursuing the call of the sirens, and the compass card is spinning around, well, the weather will change eventually. And if youre still walking, then, hey! Youre sure that you can still dance.
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