deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #0 of 106: 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
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #1 of 106: 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
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #2 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #3 of 106: David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:45
    
It is truly a masterpiece.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #4 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #5 of 106: Mary Eisenhart (marye) Fri 12 Sep 03 09:50
    
In contrast to my typos. Sheesh! Sorry, folks!
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #6 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #7 of 106: 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?
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #8 of 106: David Gans (tnf) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:43
    
Yes.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #9 of 106: porn and whiskey (noah) Fri 12 Sep 03 12:45
    
It has that sort of serendipitous feel to it.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #10 of 106: 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!
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #11 of 106: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 12 Sep 03 13:04
    
God, I love that! And I love to hear thousands of Deadheads screaming
Terrapin!
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #12 of 106: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 12 Sep 03 15:39
    
Much more dignified than screaming "turtle!"
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #13 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #14 of 106: 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."
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #15 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #16 of 106: 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
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #17 of 106: 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".
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #18 of 106: 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?
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #19 of 106: neil (nlg) Wed 23 Mar 05 09:43
    
And then, of course, there is Gary Snyder's masterpiece, Turtle
Island.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #20 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #21 of 106: 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?
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #22 of 106: *%* (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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #23 of 106: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 29 Apr 05 13:40
    
Me, too. Goddess of Love, and all that.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #24 of 106: 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.
  
deadsongs.vue.197 : Terrapin Station (entire suite)
permalink #25 of 106: 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.
  

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