David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 09:29
Reuben And Cerise w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/reub.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/REUBEN.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 20:53
Reuben And Cerise Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. Cerise was brushing her long hair gently down It was the afternoon of Carnival As she brushes it gently down Reuben was strumming his painted mandolin It was enlaid with a pretty face in jade Played the Carnival Parade Cerise was dressing as Pirouette in white When a fatal vision gripped her tight Cerise, beware tonight Reuben, Reuben, tell me truly true I feel afraid and I don't know why I do Is there another girl for you If you could see in my heart You would know it's true There is none, Cerise, except for you Except for you I swear to it on my very soul If I lie may I fall down cold When Reuben played on his painted mandolin The breeze would stop and listen in Before going its way again Masquerade began when nightfall finally woke Like waves against the bandstand dancers broke To the painted mandolin Looking out on the crowd, who is standing there? Sweet Ruby Claire at Reuben stared At Reuben stared She was dressed as Pirouette in red And her hair hung gently down The crowd pressed round, Ruby stood as though alone Reuben's song took on a different tone And he played it just for her The song that he played was the Carnival Parade Each note cut a thread of Cerise's fate It cut through like a blade Reuben was playing his painted mandolin When Ruby froze and turned to stone For the strings played all alone If you could see in my heart You would know it's true There is none, Cerise, except for you Except for you The voice of Cerise from the face of the mandolin Singing Reuben, Reuben, tell me true For I have no one but you If you could see my heart You would know it's true There is none, Cerise, except for you Except for you I swear to it on my very soul If I lie, may I fall down cold The truth of love an unsung song must tell The course of love must follow blind Without a look behind (note 10) Reuben walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn Cerise so lightly in his arms And her hair hung gently down Additional lyrics: Ahoy, old ferryman, riverboat of Charon ride Though alive, take Reuben to the other side For his sweet Cerise has died It's a long lonely walk from Hell to the burying ground Cerise may return but don't you look around For your glance would cut her down
David Gans (tnf) Mon 10 May 04 11:34
from an excellent discussion on the GDH mailing list, this post by Paul Eskridge: Hi folks, Jordan (firstname.lastname@example.org) sez: >Well, my wife and I were just listening to Jerry's concert in the >Oregon State Prison in '82 and loving this version of Reuben and >Cherise. But sadly, we don't understand what the song is trying to >say. Hunter re-cast the legend of Orpheus and Euridyce. As far as I know, Hunter made up the betrayal part, although I've read three or four different versions of how Euridyce died, and could easily have missed a betrayal version. I sing this song all the time, and have a VERY strong preference for Hunter's version over Garcia's. First there is the lyrics to refrains 1 & 3: Hunter: Reuben swear to it on your very soul If you lie may you fall down cold Garcia: I swear to it on my very soul If I lie may I fall down cold "If you lie *I* will die" hits me a lot harder than "cross my heart and hope to die" in this case. Hunter: Reuben put down the painted mandolin Ruby froze and turned to stone For the strings played all alone Garcia: Reuben was playing his painted mandolin When Ruby froze and turned to stone For the strings played all alone Garcia's version seems practically non-sensical to me. But Hunter's tells the story of a whole evening in one line. See, he's been staring at this babe in the crowd for the whole show. And afterward, the two of them wander off together to someplace quiet. He's been strumming along, singing sweet nothings to her the whole time. They find a nice, private spot. He puts down his axe. And the music keeps on playing. Garcia didn't sing the verses that connect the story explicitly to the Orpheus and Euridyce legend ("Ahoy old ferryman. . . " etc). That's a little bit of a problem, because without them it's more difficult to sort out what came down. But not SO hard, if you think about it for awhile. The biggest problem with this omission is that it leaves out "For your glance would cut her down" Which brings us to Hunter: The truth of love an unsung song must tell The course of love must follow blind Reuben looked behind Garcia: The truth of love an unsung song must tell The course of love must follow blind Without a look behind The first one hits me like a sledgehammer. The second one is just a fluffy cliche. And finally: Hunter: Reuben walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn With the ghost of Cerise in his empty arms And her hair hung gently down Garcia: Reuben walked the streets of New Orleans till dawn Cerise so lightly in his arms And her hair hung gently down The first is absolutly haunting in it's finality. The second doesn't really show the last broken-hearted hand. The thing about this song that moves me so much is that it is such a paegn to glorious failure. Here's this guy. He's talented and all. But he's still just a normal human schmuck, with all those normal petty human foibles. And those foibles cost him BIG time. But he doesn't just accept the loss. He transcends the bounds of his humanity and travels to Hell to attempt to atone for his mistake. He charms death itself into giving him a second chance -- pulling something off that all people dream of being able to do. The problem is that he's *still* just a normal human schmuck, and with the gold ring right there in his hand, he blows it a second, FINAL time. So here he is, wandering the streets at night. Knowing full well that he transcended anything normally possible for a human. And he still failed. And is left with nothing but "the ghost of Cerise in his empty arms". The essence of tragedy. Paul Eskridge
rubin or reuben? (xian) Tue 11 May 04 12:43
See also Black Orpheus, which sets the myth in Brazil during Carnaval (analogous to New Orleans' Mardi Gras). I asked Hunter about this once (in email) and he had seen the "Orfeo" movie.
David Dodd (ddodd) Tue 7 Jan 14 15:39
From a 1985 Jerry Garcia interview with Jas Obrecht, published in full transcript online recently: Were any of the songs youve written particularly frustrating? Oh, yeah. Some were really frustrating. Reuben and Cherise took about three years to write, literally maybe longer than that. I kept writing and writing versions of it Oh, this sucks. Hunter would rewrite the lyrics: No, that doesnt make it. Id write a new melody: No, that isnt it. Its so utterly and totally different from the very first conception of it. That went on forever. It just went on forever. http://jasobrecht.com/jerry-garcia-the-complete-1985-interview/
David Gans (tnf) Tue 7 Jan 14 15:55
And Hunter published an alternative last verse in hie lyrics book.
Members: Enter the conference to participate
Non-members: Submit a comment or question