Song Lyric Sunday: Alcohol – ‘Brown Eyed Women’

“Daddy made whiskey and he made it well.
Cost two dollars and it burned like hell”

This week’s theme is ‘Alcohol’; I can deal with that.

It’s been a month since I last featured a Grateful Dead song, but here’s one that meets the brief.

There is a popular misconception about the Grateful Dead, in my experience, which is that – assuming people have even heard of them in the first place  (which I imagine is less of a problem in the US) – they think that all they did was noodle away endlessly and aimlessly and deploy a lot of atonal electronic noise.

While there’s an element of truth in this (and it might even be the best bit), the fact is that, especially in the first half of their shows, they performed a lot of songs that reflected American social history – there are plenty of cowboy tunes, for a start.

Included in these would be ‘Brown Eyed Women’, which is about the twin evils of the Great Depression and Prohibition.

Gone are the days when the ox fall down,
Take up the yoke and plow the fields around.
Gone are the days when the ladies said’ “Please,
Gentle Jack Jones won’t you come to me.”

Brown-eyed women and red grenadine,
The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean.
Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin’ down,
And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on.

1929 when he stepped to the bar, drank to the dregs of the whiskey jar.
1930 when the wall caved in, he made his way selling red-eyed gin.

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 lickin’s that the other ones had.

Tumble down shack on Big Foot country.
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 hick’ry just to fire the still,
Drink down a bottle and be ready to kill.

Brown-eyed women and red grenadine,
The bottle was dusty but the liquor was clean.
Sound of the thunder with the rain pourin’ down,
And it looks like the old man’s gettin’ on.

Lyrics by Robert Hunter; Music by Jerry Garcia

Song Lyric Sunday 11 June 2017

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