(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
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...)
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..."
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.
Oooh, it's Charlotte the.... (comet) Thu 18 Sep 03 22:26
Yeah, it mimics the enthusiastic fatalism of a drinking song.
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.
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.
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.
David Dodd (ddodd) Mon 22 Sep 03 10:40
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.
David Gans (tnf) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:39
Uh, the big sniff is before the first drum hit.
Melinda Belleville (mellobelle) Wed 24 Sep 03 09:40
There's a sniff? I don't think I've ever heard the sniff.
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...
Brian Penney (bpenney) Sun 26 Oct 03 07:30
the big sniff is naively sarcastic.
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.
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
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
Members: Enter the conference to participate
Non-members: Submit a comment or question