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deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #0 of 21: (alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:04
    
Casey Jones 
w: Hunter m: Garcia
AGDL: http://arts.ucsc.edu/gdead/agdl/kcj.html
LASF: http://www.whitegum.com/songfile/CASEYJON.HTM
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #1 of 21: Alex Allan (alexallan) Thu 11 Sep 03 00:05
    
Casey Jones 
Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Copyright Ice Nine Publishing; used by permission.

Chorus:
Driving that train, high on cocaine
Casey Jones you'd better watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind

This old engine makes it on time
Leaves Central Station 'bout a quarter to nine
Hits River Junction at seventeen to
At a quarter to ten you know it's travelling again

[chorus]

Trouble ahead, the lady in red
Take my advice you'd be better off dead
Switchman's sleeping, train Hundred and Two
Is on the wrong track and headed for you

[chorus]

Trouble with you is the trouble with me
Got two good eyes but we still don't see
Come round the bend, you know it's the end
The fireman screams and the engine just gleams

[chorus - repeated]
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #2 of 21: last fair deal in the country sweet susy (sumarcus) Thu 11 Sep 03 16:49
    
My almost-12-year-old cocker spaniel is named Casey Jones Black Peter.
When we got Casey, I gave my kids a choice for names-Casey Jones or
Cassidy. They chose Casey Jones.  And the name fits perfectly-he is
trouble ahead trouble behind. I love that phrase.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #3 of 21: David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 12 Sep 03 15:41
    
Such a simple phrase, too! It drops into my consciousness at the oddest
moments...in the strangest of places, as do many of those deceptively simple
phrases of Hunter's.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #4 of 21: Christian Crumlish (xian) Sun 14 Sep 03 13:22
    
Closest thing to an old-school hit in their repertoire, if you ask me,
but sabotaged, like all their best songs, by prudery about lyrics.
Things like "high on cocaine," "Goddammn! Well, I declare" and "living
on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine" all sound so tame now.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #5 of 21: David Gans (tnf) Sun 14 Sep 03 13:48
    
Hunter said once that he saw a copy of "Workingman's Dead" at a radio station
with a big ol' scratch across "Casey Jones" so the DJs couldn't play it.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #6 of 21: Gary Burnett (jera) Mon 15 Sep 03 05:45
    
Ah, for the good old days of radio stations like KMPX and KSAN.  They
never hesitated over songs like Casey Jones.  I remember hearing lots
of overtly pro-drug songs way back when (Don't Bogart That Joint, Sweet
Cocaine, lots of others ...)
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #7 of 21: deep (ellen) Thu 18 Sep 03 16:11
    

well, we still (in the SF Bay Area) have a commercial station that starts
the weekend at 5pm every Friday with the dulcet tones of "I smoke two joints
in the morning, and then I smoke two joints..."
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #8 of 21: AZanimal (zepezauer) Thu 18 Sep 03 17:39
    
The irony, of course, is that Casey Jones is not pro-drug, overtly or
otherwise.  I mean:

> better watch your speed
> Trouble ahead, trouble behind
> you'd be better off dead
> on the wrong track and headed for you
> you know it's the end
> The fireman screams

do not make "drivin' that train, high on cocaine" sound like much fun
to me.

The other irony, of course, is that it was/is not just anti-drug
prudes who misinterpret it; none of those lines discouraged me or
thousands of other deadheads from happily reaching for our vials when
they played it in the 80s.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #9 of 21: Oooh, it's Charlotte the.... (comet) Thu 18 Sep 03 22:26
    
Yeah, it mimics the enthusiastic fatalism of a drinking song. 
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #10 of 21: neil (nlg) Fri 19 Sep 03 07:36
    
I remember once in the late 80s, speaking to a reporter outside the
Spectrum in Philly, who was asking about all the pro-drug references in
the band's repetoire.  I pointed out that Casey Jones was about the
train wreck cocaine abuse leads to, and that in Truckin', "all a friend
could say is ain't it a shame" that she was "livin' on reds, Vitamin C
and cocaine."  I asked how that was pro-drug, and the reporter just
turned away and started interviewing others.  I have no idea whether
the story ever ran, but if it did, I'm confident my points never made
it in.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #11 of 21: Marked from the Day That I was Born (ssol) Fri 19 Sep 03 08:54
    
Typical.

I was at a show years ago where a hapless TV News Hairstyle and her
videographer trapsed around for twenty minutes in the fruitless pursuit
of young Deadheads who would tell the public why their parents should
be worried about them at the show. Failing, she skulked off in a huff.
It was very funny to observe.

It never occured to her to ask anybody why they were at the show and
feeling so safe and at home. 
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #12 of 21: Geraldo (comet) Fri 19 Sep 03 21:00
    
A dead song being "anti-drug" runs counter to the whole GD storyline,
and thus has neither purpose nor validity in the media.


  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #13 of 21: David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 22 Sep 03 10:40
    
Well put.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #14 of 21: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:32
    
Then again, there is the big sniff at the end, and like "Born in the
USA" the exuberance of the singing can be easily mistaken for
enthusiasm.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #15 of 21: David Gans (tnf) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:39
    
Uh, the big sniff is before the first drum hit.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #16 of 21: Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:40
    
There's a sniff?  I don't think I've ever heard the sniff.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #17 of 21: Christian Crumlish (xian) Wed 24 Sep 03 11:13
    
I meant the beginning. Some strange mental lapse or spatio-conceptual
dyslexia intefered. 

Melinda, put on the LP, turn up the volume loud, listen to the very
beginning of the track...
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #18 of 21: Brian Penney (bpenney) Sun 26 Oct 03 07:30
    
the big sniff is naively sarcastic.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #19 of 21: Brian Penney (bpenney) Sun 26 Oct 03 07:40
    
that "sniff" followed by the tune made this tune something different
after i'd done coke. there was alot more, too, but that sniff is
definately naive.
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #20 of 21: Robin Russell (rrussell8) Tue 24 Feb 04 12:55
    
I was fifteen years old when Workingman's Dead came out. My school
handed out Saturday morning detentions for crimes like hair over the
collar, not wearing your hat outside the school grounds etc.

One Saturday afternoon I was sitting on a railway platform waiting for
a train. The only other person on the platform was a shaggy sort of
guy with a back pack and guitar.

With an hour or more until the train's scheduled departure, it was
inevitable that he noticed I was reading High Times magazine (for the
record reviews, of course). So we started talking.

He was heading for north Queensland (where the climate suited his
clothes). Had I heard of the Grateful Dead? Then he showed me the lead
intro and chord changes for Casey Jones.

It is a great song to sing and play, and we always had the "sniff" in
there, right at the start, instead of counting in.

Happy Trails
  
deadsongs.vue.35 : Casey Jones
permalink #21 of 21: from MANACAT SUNFLOWER (tnf) Tue 18 Oct 05 08:44
    



Manacat Sunflower writes:



Hi David,

I had heard that in street drug slang "White Horse" refers to heroin and
"White Lady" refers to cocaine. Since the Dead song Casey Jones makes direct
reference to cocaine, I had always interpreted "Lady in red, you'd be better
off dead" to mean "using cocaine intravenously is not recomended".

Thanks for all the work on the Annotated Dead. It is a great resource.

Aloha,

Manacat
  



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