(alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:48
Bird Song w: Hunter m: Garcia AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/bird.html LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/BIRDSONG.HTM
Alex Allan (alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:49
Bird Song Lyrics: Robert Hunter Music: Jerry Garcia Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission. All I know is something like a bird within her sang All I know she sang a little while and then flew on Tell me all that you know I'll show you Snow and rain If you hear that same sweet song again, will you know why? Anyone who sings a tune so sweet is passing by Laugh in the sunshine Sing, cry in the dark Fly through the night Don't cry now Don't you cry Don't you cry any more La da da da Sleep in the stars Don't you cry Dry your eyes on the wind La da da da da da All I know is something like a bird within her sang All I know she sang a little while and then flew on Tell me all that you know I'll show you Snow and rain
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 10 May 04 00:14
Interesting notes by Hunter in the "All Good Things" booklet about the writing of "Bird Song": "Don't remember where I wrote the words for 'Bird Song.' Probably when we were all living in Larkspur (where we wrote 'Workingman's Dead' and 'American Beauty') because it's intended as a tribute to Janis, after her death, and she lived down the block from us in Madrone County. "The birdsong image came from a beautiful collage someone had constructed and hung on the wall when I was a waiter at St Michael's Alley on University Avenue in Palo Alto, a year or two before the transition from folk and bluegrass into rock - maybe 1963. The collage had a picture of a bird and a quote: 'All I know is something in me sang that in me sings no more.' I don't know whose quote that is, but it stuck with me over the years and finally found its expression in 'Bird Song'." The quote is in fact a slight misquote from a sonnet by Edna St Vincent Millay: "I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more"
Lightning in a Box (unkljohn) Mon 10 May 04 05:03
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 10 May 04 08:41
Wow! Thanks, Alex. Guess I'd better break down and buy the Jerry box...sigh.
Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 10 May 04 18:05
Do buy it David - the sound quality is great and the bonus tracks are patchy but with some real gems. Re "Birdsong", I love the way that allusions and references in Hunter lyrics can emerge 30 years after they were written. And the fact that Hunter's half-remembered quote from an old collage turns out to be from another poet is great. I'd never heard of Edna St Vincent Millay before (I guess a UK eduction is biased towards UK authors/poets). A fascinating life, and I'm enjoying the bits of her poetry I've now read. One of the fun bits of being a deadhead is the links it brings.
Passerby (comet) Mon 10 May 04 22:15
The line that comes back to me now and then is "anyone who sings a song so sweet is passing by"; as a way of accepting the loss of something too precious to last. Birdsong was retired in 73, perhaps because it had taken on the weight of a dirge. I remember my elation at hearing it revived at the Warfield 80 shows, soaring from the ashes in a new acoustic arrangement.
from JEFF FERMON (tnf) Fri 4 Jun 04 10:15
Jeff Fermon writes: I used to sing this to my daughter when I would visit her. She was always missing her mom and would cry for most of my visitation. I would spend the entire time cradling her and trying to console. This is the song I would sing to her, over and over and over. Eventually she would fall asleep on my shoulder and I would keep singing. "don't cry now...don't you cry...don't you cry...anymore...sleep in the stars... .... ...." I realized something about death and consolation, nothing new or profound, in fact it reminds me of de saint exupery's little prince in some ways, or the tibetan book of the dead (which was a manual for the living). Mourning is so much about our own sense of loss, and not so much for the 'departed'. As I sang this song to her, I realized it was at least as much to comfort my own despair and a paradox of love- where you cherish and love someone so much that your heart aches- you miss them, even when they are right there in your arms. Love is a true force in nature, like the nuclear force that binds particles in the nucleus of an atom? This binding of souls, and the ache of separation, the strong resistance you feel in separating. It was my own eyes I was drying on the wind.
David Gans (tnf) Tue 11 Aug 09 23:00
From Paul Keniston: I was investigating the life of Fanny Crosby on WikipediA, and this quote which rings much like Bird Song: Eliza Hewitt memorialized Fannys passing in a poem: Away to the country of sunshine and song, Our songbird has taken her flight, And she who has sung in the darkness so long Now sings in the beautiful light. << http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanny_Crosby Fanny Crosby was a blind American lyricist who lived from 1820 to 1915. She is credited with writting over 8,000 songs and enjoyed great success. Some of her hymnns are still sung today in the Christian Church. They are words that will live forever. I bet old Billy Sunday liked to sing her songs at his revivals.
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