David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 09:40
Terrapin Station (entire suite) w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/terr.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/LADYFAN.HTM LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/TERRAPIN.HTM LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/ATASIDIN.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 20:09
Lady With A Fan Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. Let my inspiration flow, in token rhyme suggesting rhythm That will not forsake me, till my tale is told and done While the fire lights aglow, strange shadows from the flames will grow Till things we've never seen will seem familiar Shadows of a sailor forming winds both foul and fair, all swarm Down in Carlisle he loved a lady many years ago Here beside him stands a man, a soldier by the looks of him Who came through many fights, but lost at love While the story teller speaks, a door within the fire creaks, Suddenly flies open, and a girl is standing there Eyes alight, with glowing hair, all that fancy paints as fair She takes her fan and throws it in the lion's den Which of you to gain me, tell, will risk uncertain pains of hell? I will not forgive you if you will not take the chance The sailor gave at least a try; the soldier, being much too wise, Strategy was his strength, and not disaster The sailor, coming out again, the lady fairly leapt at him That's how it stands today. You decide if he was wise The story teller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice His job is to shed light, and not to master Since the end is never told we paid the teller off in gold In hopes he will come back, but he cannot be bought or sold Terrapin Station Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. Inspiration, move me brightly Light the song with sense of colour Hold away despair More than this I will not ask Faced with mysteries deep and vast Statements just seem vain at last Some rise, some fall, some climb To get to Terrapin Counting stars by candlelight Some are dim but one is bright The spiral light on Venus Rising first and shining best Oh, from the north-west corner Of a brand new crescent moon Where crickets and cicadas sing A rare and different tune Terrapin Station In the shadow of the moon Terrapin Station And I know we'll be there soon (Terrapin) I can't figure out (Terrapin) If it's the end or beginning (Terrapin) But the train's put it brakes on (Terrapin) And the whistle is screaming Terrapin At A Siding Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Mickey Hart Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. While you were gone These faces filled with darkness The obvious was hidden With nothing to believe in The compass always points to Terrapin Sullen wings of fortune beat like rain You're back in Terrapin for good or ill again For good or ill again
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:41
I was a little late coming to this one (hey, if you become a Deadhead in 1981, it takes you a while to work your way through the prior art), but when I got there it hit me like a ton of bricks that whoa, this was the Lady of Carlisle, and look what that Hunter dude did with it. Lady of Carlisle is the folk song telling the lady-with-a-fan story, and I was well steeped in Ian & Sylvia's version (and if you don't know Ian & Sylvia, I'm sorry for you...), which, probably in keeping with the traditional approach, was a clear endorsement of the sailor ("I am a true lover of a woman, and I will return her fan or die") over the soldier ("I am a true lover of a woman, but I will not give my life for love"). And so here's Hunter the storyteller invoking the muse, telling the story, and saying good idea? bad idea? you decide! Which is consistent with a lot of his turning of traditional stories to a different message entirely (the kind of thing I loved in my comp-lit major days anyway). And then, that as a jumping off place for the meta stuff, that we're all just kinda muddling along clueless here, and who knows why, and it's all by way of getting to Terrapin, which we don't exactly know what it is but it's our homw and it's where we're going and it's fundamentally the music that's conveying us and it's no good making a bunch of dogmatic pronouncments about it. Somewhere some grad student is probably writing a thesis about the overlap of Terrapin, the isle where windswept tress of teak and mahogany clatter their twigs like castanets, and the distant city in American Adventure. I think they're all facets of the same elusive thing, and that elusive thing is the point of the whole adventure. But then, I like the meta songs best. And to me, Terrapin is the one that sums it all up, what it is and why it's worth doing. There's a big slugfest for my second-favorite Dead song, but it's Terrapin at the top for me.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:45
It is truly a masterpiece.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:49
Long ago I got this idea of "Terrapin" as a man (person) upright on earth, the integer vitae.
Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:50
In contrast to my typos. Sheesh! Sorry, folks!
Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:33
Terrapin is definitely one of their masterpieces. The "Lady With a Fan" part was completely familiar to me the very 1st time I heard it, having raised myself on folkstories and mythologies. I loved what Hunter did with the story. To me, Terrapin represents the place where 'it' can manifest itself into a corporeal form. Whether that is person or place is entirely up to the person going there.
porn and whiskey (noah) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:40
Is Terrapin the song that Garcia wrote the melody for during a huge SF thunderstorm? Only to discover HUnter was writing the words across town during the same storm?
David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:43
porn and whiskey (noah) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:45
It has that sort of serendipitous feel to it.
Gary Burnett (jera) Fri 12 Sep 03 13:02
What Melinda said: Terrapin is that point of manifestation, though I don't think it's necessarily always corporeal, but can also be some flash of enlightnment of whatever form, one that makes all the difference, could be either beginning or ending. It's a moment of awe-ful power, danger, and exhilaration, when the train may be going off the tracks or pulling into the station. And the music at that key point is so perfect for majestic combination of terror and promise: I can't figure out (Terrapin) If it's the end or beginning (Terrapin) But the train's put it brakes on (Terrapin) And the whistle is screaming Terrapin Whew!
Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 12 Sep 03 13:04
God, I love that! And I love to hear thousands of Deadheads screaming Terrapin!
David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 12 Sep 03 15:39
Much more dignified than screaming "turtle!"
HK-DH (saikung-cwb) Thu 17 Mar 05 19:16
Definitely more dignified, and it scans better too. Thinking about "Lions' Den" in Terrapin. Over at Mudcat.org "Digital Tradition" they say that in the song "Lady of Carlisle", the Lion's Den refers to the lions kept in the Tower of London. In this thread they have links to a version of the ballad that takes place in London. http://www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=65185#1071531 However, the first thing that jumps to my mind when I hear the phrase "lions den" is the story of Daniel in the lions den. (you can read a version here, if you want http://bible.gospelcom.net/passage/?search=daniel%206:16-6:23;&version=31; Then I think of "DeLyon's Club" where Delia kills Stagger Lee. Somewhat similar - the time or place of peril in which you have to prove your strength of character, love, and faith. Which I guess is a very obvious point, when one considers the order of tracks 5-8 on Hunter's album "Jack O Roses". http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/huntdisc.html#jack 5 - Delia DeLyon and Stagger Lee": melody trad. 6 -"Lady of Carlisle": trad. arr. Hunter 7- "Book of Daniel": m: Freiberg 8 - "Terrapin": m: Garcia But, since there was no reference to the lions den on the annotated lyrics page or here, I'd thought I'd bring it up.
Robin Russell (rrussell8) Mon 21 Mar 05 06:52
I recall there is a Native American myth (can't remeber the tribe) that the Earth is borne on the back of a turtle (really a terrapin, I suspect). When an old shaman was asked what was supporting the turtle, he replied, "It's turtles all the way down."
lifes rich pageant (izzie) Mon 21 Mar 05 16:39
In archeology graduate school, we're taught that as an urban myth that started with a tribe in the Amazon. but, there are Native American tribes who's mythologies hold that the earth is carrried on the back of a turtle. In some Japanese anime, whenever a character is an archeologist, there is pretty much always a turtle reference, too. and finally, when we're digging a site and it's the same damned stratigraphy (or lack of it) in an excavation unit, you might could hear it reported as "It's pretty much turtles all the way down." not that this has anything to do with Terrapin Station.
turtle keeper in Hong Kong (saikung-cwb) Mon 21 Mar 05 19:03
Izzie & Robin, Have you visited the Terrapin reference at the Annotated Lyrics page? http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/terr.html#terrapin There, you will find discussion of the "turtles all the way down" and references Turtles are also among the 4 divine animals in Chinese culture (Dragon, Phoenix, Chimera and Turtle). Here's an interesting article on the place of the turtle in Chinese culture, specifically Taiwan. They are symbols of longevity and good fortune & strength. At the same time "turtle" is also an insult or curse-word. http://www.sinorama.com.tw/8506/506090e1.html
Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Tue 22 Mar 05 11:51
I heard a version of the turtle-joke that involved an kindly old physicist and an exasperated old lady.After the guy's speech on the creation of the Universe, she took him aside and corrected him, saying that the Universe sat on the back of a turtle. After he several times inquired "and what does that turtle sit upon?" she had to explain, "buddy, it's turtles all the way, up and down".
Christian Crumlish (xian) Tue 22 Mar 05 14:33
i imagine turtles or tortoises would be divine in Chinese mythology from their long-livedness and thus purported immortality?
neil (nlg) Wed 23 Mar 05 09:43
And then, of course, there is Gary Snyder's masterpiece, Turtle Island.
Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Wed 23 Mar 05 12:11
Yes! Great poems, all of a piece. I remember reading that book front to back in a quite corner of an old farm house in the midst of a truly loony, blizzard-bound, 48 hour acid test back in the mid-70's. I was moved to tears. As I finished the little book, my girlfriend walked in and sat down, all saucer-eyed and she asked me why I was weeping. I just said..."so-ooo, beautiful... I want to be a writer...", and fell over into her lap.
Paul Keniston (cross-road) Mon 25 Apr 05 22:08
"Counting stars by candlelight Some are dim but one is bright The spiral light on Venus Rising first and shining best Oh, from the north-west corner Of a brand new crescent moon Where crickets and cicadas sing A rare and different tune Terrapin Station" This particular line suggests so much, but exactly what? The song begins with the beckoning for inspiration to "move me brightly" What is the source of this inspiration? Is it the resonance of the planet Venus in it's peculiar orbiting relationship with Earth? Is it rather, a spirit being symbolized by this planet? and if so which spirit being? there are many you know Venus is also know as The Bright and Morning Star, and also The Evening Star. It's glories are celebrated in many different cultures and ideologies; and has been given a number of names. Which is the true name? The story teller appears to look to the heavens for the best source of inspiration. He vainly (?) utilizes the light of a candle to discern his point of contact, and finds the brightest and the best in Venus. any thoughts?
*%* (jewel) Fri 29 Apr 05 13:39
I have always thought of Venus as the spirit of Love in that line. To me that line speaks of the concept of love being triumphant.
David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 29 Apr 05 13:40
Me, too. Goddess of Love, and all that.
Paul Keniston (cross-road) Fri 29 Apr 05 22:25
So. This is a love song after all. I like that. I never quite saw it this way before, so thank you. The spirit of Love is definitely one of the brightest, and throws away despair like no other.
neil (nlg) Fri 13 May 05 10:49
This is precisely why, at my best friend's wedding in the Smokey Mountains last weekend, Terrapin Station was the song played just as the ceremony ended. It was something I suggested when we were struggling over playlists for various points in the evening, and my buddy immediately said yes, and his then bride-to-be listened to it closely and called me to say that she could not think of a better song to play at that point.
Members: Enter the conference to participate