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deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #0 of 69: (alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:58
    
Brown Eyed Women 
w: Hunter m: Garcia
AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/brown.html
LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/BROWNEYD.HTM
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #1 of 69: Alex Allan (alexallan) Wed 10 Sep 03 23:59
    
Brown-Eyed Women 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Gone are the days when the ox fall down
Take up the yoke and plough the fields around
Gone are the days when the ladies said "please
Gentle Jack Jones won't you come to me"

Chorus
Brown-eyed women and red grenadine
The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean
Sound of the thunder with the rain pouring down
And it looks like the old man's getting on

Nineteen twenty when he stepped to the bar
Drank to the dregs of the whiskey jar
Nineteen thirty when the wall caved in
He made his way selling red-eyed gin

[chorus]

Delilah Jones was the mother of twins
Two times over and the rest were sins
Raised eight boys, only I turned bad
Didn't get the lickings that the other ones had

[chorus]

Tumble-down shack in Big Foot County
Snowed so hard that the roof caved in
Delilah Jones went to meet her God
And the old man never was the same again

Daddy made whiskey and he made it well
Cost two dollars and it burned like hell
I cut hickory just to fire the still
Drink down a bottle and you're ready to kill

[chorus]

And it looks like the old man's getting on
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #2 of 69: The WELL is not involved in any aspect of (jstraw) Wed 17 Sep 03 10:00
    
I was referred here after registering surprise that the phrase "the rest was
sins" engendered some controversy. Is this true?
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #3 of 69: Neil (nlg) Wed 17 Sep 03 11:12
    
I've always understood it to simply mean they were conceived out of
wedlock.  Never heard anyone use "sins" as short for singles (as
opposed to twins).  I'd be interested to know whether anyone has any
references to such a use, though given Hunter's fertile mind, it is
entirely possible he intended that use, or a double-entendre of some
sort.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #4 of 69: The WELL is not involved in any aspect of (jstraw) Wed 17 Sep 03 11:21
    
I take it to mean the same thing you do.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #5 of 69: Tom Kozal (tkozal) Wed 17 Sep 03 11:56
    
We have been doing this lately, great fun to sing, especially the
ooos' on the bridge, if you do that version,

We take "Two times Over" as twice married, and "Sins" as being out of
wedlock. 

I always get  an image of a trailer park in my mind when I sing
this...
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #6 of 69: neil (nlg) Wed 17 Sep 03 12:09
    
I think "two times over" could mean twice married.  It could also mean
that she had two sets of twins.  I'm gonna be agnostic on that one, as
either one makes sense, depending on how you read the two lines:
"mother of twins two times over" would to me indicate two sets of
twins.  But "mother of twins.  Two times over and the rest were sins,"
could mean two marriages and a bunch of kids out of wedlock.  Heck,
maybe it means both!

I've always viewed this as a story being told from the youngest
child's perspective.  But that's me reading into the line "didn't get
the lickins that the other ones had."  IME with large families, the
youngest always seems to be raised with the least discipline.  That
would also make sense if he was the last, one of the "sins," and mom
was tired and older, and daddy was always off in the woods cooking up
another batch of whiskey.

When I hear the song, it always reminds me of some backwoods parts of
the south, where everyone seems to have an relative running a still.  I
don't see the trailer park, since there's a mention of a "tumble down
shack in Bigfoot County."  I see a somewhat typical, perhaps
stereotypical, lower class clan in the back woods of Georgia, Alabama,
West Virginia, or somewhere like that.

Anyone ever check to see if there is a Big Foot County somewhere?
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #7 of 69: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 17 Sep 03 12:55
    
I did check on that. Take a look at
http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/brown.html#bigfoot
for the results of my search.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #8 of 69: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Wed 17 Sep 03 13:09
    
We often use the term 'Bugfuck' for a place deemed the middle of
nowhere, backwoods, out in the boonies, etc.  I kinda always thought of
'Bigfoot county' as being the polite version of 'Bugfuck'.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #9 of 69: David Dodd (ddodd) Wed 17 Sep 03 13:49
    
Wow! That's great. Is it a regional expression, do you think? I could go
look it up in the Dictionary of American Regional English...
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #10 of 69: David Gans (tnf) Wed 17 Sep 03 14:01
    

"Bigfoot County" to me evokes the Sierra of Northern California.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #11 of 69: Noah Weiner (noahbw) Wed 17 Sep 03 16:44
    
Here around Chicago, our term is/was "Bumblefuck" to describe a town
way way out there.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #12 of 69: neil (nlg) Wed 17 Sep 03 16:52
    
I've heard "bumfuck" used in that context since way back when.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #13 of 69: Man Out of Time (adamice9) Thu 18 Sep 03 03:41
    
"east kabumfuck" is used in Pittsburgh. 
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #14 of 69: Marked from the Day I was Born (ssol) Thu 18 Sep 03 09:21
    
Without any real scholarship, just recollection of where various terms
for the Yeti/Bigfoot/Abominable Snowman/Sasquatch have come from,
"Bigfoot" seems to indicate north west US. The guy that created the
famous "footprint" hoax, I recall came from Washington or Oregon.I
think that semi-famous movie of the Sasquatch (aka Southern Bigfoot)
came from Alabama or Mississippi (sp? Do I get points if I spelled that
right?).

It'll take some searching to verify any of this. It's on my long list
of Hunter reference mysteries ;-)

Calling all Cryptozoologists!
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #15 of 69: neil (nlg) Thu 18 Sep 03 10:22
    
Yes, Bigfoot is a north/northwest phenom.  But if <ddodd>'s
transcription of the lyrics is as accurate as he usually is, Hunter
says "Big Foot County" rather than "Bigfoot County." Given the
references to making homemade whiskey, I still get the feeling of a
more southern geographic region.  In the Northwest, while I'm sure
there were moonshiners, the most common form of homemade booze was, and
has been for over a hundred years, hard cider from apples.

Besides, our protagonist "cut hickory just to fire the still." 
Hickory is an Eastern U.S. species.  See the distribution maps at:
<http://climchange.cr.usgs.gov/data/atlas/little/>

So, this most likely could not have been going down in the Northwest.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #16 of 69: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Fri 19 Sep 03 08:48
    
Great detective work.

"Snowed so hard that the roof caved in" tho... down south? Could be, I
suppose.

Another Hunter lyrical mystery to keep us busy.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #17 of 69: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 19 Sep 03 08:56
    
Well, it snows pretty damn hard over in the hills of E.Ky and down the
Appalachian chain into Tn.  

That's probably why this song always evoked E.Ky. to me. Moonshine,
Big Foot(Bugfuck) county, too many kids, Daddy making moonshine, snows
on hillside shanties....
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #18 of 69: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Fri 19 Sep 03 09:12
    
Hmmmmm... forgot about Appalachia. My image of the south is a bit
twisted from having flown over most of it between Virginia and Alabama.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #19 of 69: Tom Kozal (tkozal) Fri 19 Sep 03 11:15
    
As someone who has lived in Appalachia, I never thought he was talking
about anything else. Rural highland  eastern Tennessee or KY, or W.Va
comes to mind. And it will snow, very hard.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #20 of 69: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 19 Sep 03 13:56
    
This is great! Cryptogeography! I like the results.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #21 of 69: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Fri 19 Sep 03 15:19
    
Snows so hard, the schools close down.....for weeks at a time.

Where 'bouts did you live, Tom?
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #22 of 69: waves of violet go crashing and laughing (sffog) Fri 19 Sep 03 19:12
    
my take is Delilah Jones was married to Gentle Jack Jones until she
passed on 

she had two sets of twins from him

after that her other 4 kids came from affairs probably because Gentle
Jack Jones indulged too much in his product and could not get it up
anymore
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #23 of 69: AZanimal (zepezauer) Fri 19 Sep 03 22:39
    
Pardon a slight nitpick, but I've consulted Hunter's Box of Rain book,
and it confirmed what my ears have always heard:  it's "gently, Jack
Jones", not "Gentle Jack Jones".
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #24 of 69: conjecture (comet) Sat 20 Sep 03 21:03
    
Maybe Jerry decided gently was unsingable.
  
deadsongs.vue.30 : Brown Eyed Women
permalink #25 of 69: AZanimal (zepezauer) Sun 21 Sep 03 11:04
    
Possible; he did make such changes to other songs, but as I say, it
always sounded like "gently" to me anyway.  I could be wrong, but I
think if perns listen closely they will hear the "ee" sound on the end.
  

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