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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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..."
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."
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?
David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 19 Sep 03 13:58
Not to my knowledge.
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..."
David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 09:20
Whoa! What Japanese liner notes?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org XXX-XXX-XXXX ^^^^ me again, remember when people put their phone numbers on USENET?
David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 10:08
Wow. Thanks for that! Are there any others?
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."
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.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 20 Sep 03 11:56
Blair seems to have let his WELL subscription lapse, dammit.
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?
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!
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.
Dan Levity (danlevy) Mon 22 Sep 03 15:42
Maybe they make sense.
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.
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.
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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