deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #0 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 8 Sep 03 09:50
    
Wharf Rat
w: Hunter m: Garcia
AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/wrat.html
LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/WHARFRAT.HTM
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #1 of 55: Alex Allan (alexallan) Mon 8 Sep 03 18:42
    
Wharf Rat 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Old man down
Way down, down by the docks of the city
Blind and dirty
Asked me for a dime, a dime for a cup of coffee
I got no dime, but I got some time to hear his story

My name is August West
And I love my Pearly Baker best, more than my wine
More than my wine
More than my maker, though he's no friend of mine

Everyone said
I'd come to no good, I knew I would Pearly, believe them
Half of my life
Spent doing time for some other fucker's crime
The other half found me
Stumbling around, drunk on burgundy wine

But I'll get back on my feet someday
The good lord willing, if he says I may
I know that the life I'm living's no good
I'll get a new start, live the life I should
I'll get up and fly away
I'll get up and fly away

Pearly's been true
True to me, true to my dying day, he said
I said to him
I said to him, I'm sure she's been
I said to him, I'm sure she's been true to you

I got up and wandered
Wandered downtown, nowhere to go but just to hang around
I've got a girl
Named Bonny Lee, I know that girl's been true to me
I know she's been, I'm sure she's been true to me
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #2 of 55: Neil (nlg) Tue 16 Sep 03 16:58
    
This one was one of those dead songs that resonated with me powerfully
for many, many years, and still does.  The gritty reality of life on
the bottom of society married to hope eternal.  One of their true, and
truly underrated, masterpieces.  Every note bespeaks, informs, and
underscores the narrative.  A very perfect song, about real life.  One
of the few that first made me a convert to a band that could do more
than provide cosmic adventures, but could tap into deep reserves of
emotions, high and low, while telling a very simple tale of someone
most of us ignore (if we notice them at all) every day while walking
the streets of the city.

Are you kind?  (To borrow a phrase from another song.)  Ask yourself
that tomorrow, when you come upon August West while rushing from point
A to Point B.

A truly remarkable gift to humanity, if only people would take it to
heart.  A lesson not only wrt how we look on and treat our fellow
travellers on this whirling sphere, but how we treat ourselves when we
feel like life's got us down.

That's a gift, and it's worth more than whatever change we can toss
impersonally into someone's outreached hand.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #3 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 17 Sep 03 09:56
    
I agree wholeheartedly with this. First: it's a "very perfect song." Always
a key song for me in the entire repertoire. Second: the message is hugely
important from many perspectives. I think of Whitman's preface to Leaves of
Grass, where he says: "give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the
stupid and crazy." And of Allen Ginsberg's wonderful rewrite of Amazing
Grace, which is about dealing with street people as human beings.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #4 of 55: Marked from the Day I was Born (ssol) Wed 17 Sep 03 10:16
    
Toward the end, to hear Garcia wail away at the limits of his
capacities, it became even more touching and penetrating into my own
heart.

"I'll get up and fly away".

Indeed.

Look into those eyes of the besotted or down-trodden on the street or
down by the railroad tracks and wharfs. Double dare ya.

See yourself with such troubles. You decide at the moment if they
deserve the spare change clanking in your pocket.If they're really
beyond redemption or return to "decent society" (the one that likely
wrecked them with the complicity of the beggar's own mistakes and
society's ill-education)... well, you can pass them by

Your change could, indeed do more harm than good.Then again, the coin
of the realm might simply be Human kindness in a smile and a chat, even
with some folk that seem incoherent. A couple of quarters might also
give them a cup of coffee or a sip of cheap wine.

You choose. No judgement is demanded but your own. Each of those folks
is an individual and you have to read them swiftly in passing.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #5 of 55: David Gans (tnf) Wed 17 Sep 03 12:42
    

I love the story-within-a-story aspect of it, and at times I use the first
and last verses in my own performances as a framing device for other songs.

There's also the "there but for the grace of God go I" aspect, in which our
first narrator realizes he's got a lot in common with the fellow whose story
he heears.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #6 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 17 Sep 03 13:51
    
And to me, there's always been this sense that he WILL be there in whatever
number of years, asking for a buck for a cup of coffee...
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #7 of 55: Gary Burnett (jera) Wed 17 Sep 03 15:45
    
I agree.  There's a wonderful tension in these lyrics ... has he
learned something from August West (and we could spend some time just
talking about that name!), or is he just on a parallel path, telling
the story without learning its lessons, and destined to repeat it?  

One of the wonderful things about the song (as with much of Hunter's
work) is the way that it leaves those questions in suspension,
unanswered.  Suggesting, but not answering.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #8 of 55: David Gans (tnf) Wed 17 Sep 03 16:14
    

> August West

-- and the unmistakable reference in "Days Between":  "Summer flies and
August dies / And the world grows dark and mean..."
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #9 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 17 Sep 03 16:21
    
Hunter's journal had an interesting quip about future songwriting, something
like there being still "much to reveal, much to conceal."
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #10 of 55: neil (nlg) Wed 17 Sep 03 16:36
    
Has Hunter ever spoken about whether in his newer songwriting he makes
a conscious effort to include oblique references to story lines and
characters introduced in earlier songs?
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #11 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 19 Sep 03 13:58
    
Not to my knowledge.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #12 of 55: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sat 20 Sep 03 09:16
    
I don't think August == August West, unless you need it to. 

A few years after Days Between came out, when Jerry died, in August,
having been born in August, having ruled the Dead universe like a
benevolent Augustus, having wrestling with Roman Catholic ethics and
personal guilt like Augustine, with his august bearing, I couldn't not
hear "Summer flies, and August dies" as an eerie foretelling.

Of course, the Japanese liner note writer heard Wharf Rat's lyrics as
saying, "My name is obviously wasted..."
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #13 of 55: David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 09:20
    
Whoa!  What Japanese liner notes?
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #14 of 55: Herbert Stencil (xian) Sat 20 Sep 03 09:58
    
As quoted in Golden Road circa 1986. Some classic stuff. Resurfaces on
Usenet now and again. In fact, hang on... 

Thank google,

http://groups.google.com/groups?q=%22my+name+is+obviously+wasted%22&hl=en&lr=&
ie=UTF-8&safe=off&selm=39pas3%24lm1%40agate.berkeley.edu&rnum=1

From: Graham Knight
Subject: Wharf Rat (japanese)
Newsgroups: rec.music.gdead
Date: 1994-11-08 18:06:59 PST

Hey folks,
        Back by popular demand it's japanese interpretations
of Grateful Dead songs from the liner notes of Japanese
Import LP's!!

        Here is the Japanese interpretaion of Wharf Rat:

Old men died hound
way down, down, down
down by the docks of the city
lyin' and dirty
ask me for a dime, a dime for a cup of coffee
i got no dime but i got some time to hear a story

My name is obviously wasted
im not a money maker, just holding my wine
more than my wine, more than my making
always going to a friend of mine

Everyone is saying
i got no girl, i'm in my wharf, really need him
care for my life, i spent two in time
for some other thoughts this kind
the other have found, is stolen around
from a burgundy wine

But ill get back on my feet someday
but good love women, if he says i may
i know that a lot, i'm livin' to no good
again a new start, livin life i should

I'll get up and fly away
I'll get up and fly away, fly away

Pearly's been true, duty mean
during my dying day's in
i said to him, i said to him im sure she's been
i said to him, i'm sure shes been true to you

....and the rest is actually pretty damn close to correct!
they did fairly well on some parts of this
the part about my name being obviously wasted is almost
to good to be true (but it is folks!!)

        Got more! Wanna hear it? terrapin?????


 Can anyone tell me if the "doin that rag" on my tape
of Colgate University 11/4/77 is actually from that show?

--

Graham Knight            
probaby@expired.addy           
XXX-XXX-XXXX

^^^^
me again, remember when people put their phone numbers on USENET?
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #15 of 55: David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 10:08
    
Wow.  Thanks for that!  Are there any others?
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #16 of 55: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Sat 20 Sep 03 10:10
    
Wow. I mean, wow!

Now that I think of it, somebody once sent me a supposedly Japanese
Grateful Dead sweatshirt. While wearing one day, my Japanese friend,
Hero, looked at it and commented, "you know that writing is sideways."
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #17 of 55: My name is obviously wasted (xian) Sat 20 Sep 03 11:06
    
There were a few others in the Golden Road article. Is Blair around? I
could thumb through my nearly complete collection.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #18 of 55: David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 11:56
    
Blair seems to have let his WELL subscription lapse, dammit.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #19 of 55: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Sat 20 Sep 03 12:59
    
Truly. Batman, where are you now that we need you?
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #20 of 55: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 22 Sep 03 10:45
    
Here's a couple more, though I should probably post them in those songs'
topics:
Me And My Uncle:
http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=39oicq%24ain%40agate.berkeley.edu&oe=UTF-
8&output=gplain
Me and my uncle went ridin' down
stop around watch taxis bound
we stopped over in Sante Fe
about ten to four, just about a half way
then you know it was the hottest part of the day

and i took the halsey, look to the stars
went to the bar room, would have drink for hour
three days in the saddle, you know my body hurt
if being summer, like to go on a ship
and i try to watch all summer that dusty day

went taxi's cowboys, there's all around
we lived in money, have they loaded down
so soon at the payday, no exceeding has changed
you know ill go, please talked at lil a gain
then my heart go jack
and i wouldn't take him in

Mama, stop winning, a cowboy's got soul
a woman in calling, and empty more
gives in the cheating
oh no, it could be pleading
i know my uncle, kisses on its knee
baby, i was as deadly man as could be

One of them cowboy, he start to draw
and i shot him down low, he never saw
shot me another, i'm beginning a hop to wall!
you make confusion, mind if i grab to go?
and we had a tail right down to mexico

you know i love them cowboys, i love to go
love my uncle, god bless his soul
sort the good moon, drippin' all i know
drivin' so well, well i got to go
and i lived that day, that deal
with the side of the road.

-------
 I added the ! and the ? -> the rest is exact! <-

The Other One:
Here's Japanese interpretaion of The Other One:

Spanish lady came to maze lace on me this rose
it rimbles by around and around
then tremble and explode
he loved to smoke in crater of my mind
like a donaway
for then he come around and busted me
for smiling on a crowded day

coming, coming, .....

escaping to the lily pills
i came across in to an empty place
it trembled and exploded
like a bus stop in his place
the bus come by it might at home
it went in off again
there was cahoney who left
but whole'll you bustin' in the land.

coming, coming, .....

--
        you have to wonder what was going through this person's
mind, he must have thought the dead were _really_ out there!
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #21 of 55: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Mon 22 Sep 03 12:28
    
Yeah, I was wondering if the Japanese wonder why these lyrics make no
sense.  Or if they even realize they make no sense.  Or think they make
no sense because of the copious amounts of drugs all American rock
bands ingest.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #22 of 55: Dan Levity (danlevy) Mon 22 Sep 03 15:42
    

Maybe they make sense.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #23 of 55: Wholesome, but flat. (izzie) Tue 23 Sep 03 19:30
    

this stuff reads like Japanese anime, translated into the English subtitles
by Chinese speakers.  for real, I mean.  It really does.  the straight
Japanese to English is totally different than the Japenese-to-Chinese-to-
English.
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #24 of 55: John Shahabian (comet) Tue 23 Sep 03 20:17
    
This conversation is not without it's own surreal quality. 
Considering that we are all translating the lyrics every time we hear
or mishear the songs, it seems sort of arbitrary to conclude that the
Japanese translation doesn't make sense.  
  
deadsongs.vue.221 : Wharf Rat
permalink #25 of 55: My name is obviously wasted (xian) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:36
    
Actually, to me it seems like a misch-masch of the actual lyrics and a
lot of reasonable phonetic guesses. The wrong lyrics match up pretty
well with syllables-as-sung. I always liked "went taxi's cowboys" and

"he loved to smoke in crater of my mind"

I think I know that guy.
  

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