Sorry about the long hiatus, but I hope to be back on schedule now! Thank you for a post well worth waiting for When you think of it, it is kinda funny to have such a wonderfully detailed post about a song and a band that is so elliptical.
While one of the sure things is that we can never really know, I am grateful for Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa energy you, and the others in this quartet of blogs, expend in illuminating what can be known. This is the best Dead blog I've ever found. I, too, was waiting all month for your post! There is an absolute wealth of Dead history here. I should probably have more spacing; in these narrow blogspot columns, the paragraphs tend to run together into big blocks of text.
I plan to have more ready this month I tried to avoid mentioning any non-literal interpretation of the song, but it's worth mentioning a couple possible meanings people have drawn from it. One, that Rosemary is a song about 'expanded consciousness,' that the garden represents the psychedelic experience.
Or, to put it bluntly, it's a drug song, one of many from the early Dead. Or, that Rosemary is a song about childhood experience, and the lyrics portray the loss of childhood perceptions. I am not sure how seriously to take this. As often, Hunter's words can take us down many different paths Robert Hunter once made an interesting comment on Garcia's preference for ambiguity Bertine Zetlitz - My Italian Greyhound a song: "Bonnie Dobson's song "Morning Dew" made famous by Garcia's singing of it is set in the aftermath of nuclear war.
Reason he can't "walk you out in the morning dew, my honey" is because of fallout, though Garcia has wisely dropped the verse containing this denouement, allowing the song a heightened romantic mystery, achieved through open-ended ambiguity.
But the Dead took their own creative path. Garcia ignored that verse and added a new last line to the song - Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa every Dead fan knows: Can't walk you out in the morning dew, my honey I guess it doesn't matter anyway. Miss Jerry. Love the dead. Great post, keep up the good work. I love the blog as a source of info on the GD! I have recently learned about the GD teaming up with the Eden's Rose Foundation to help fund children's basic needs centers.
They offer an exclusive line of direct trade GD alpaca hoodies. Check it out and if there is room for this on this blog you should write about it. I was surprise to not hear about this sooner.
A couple more related references - In Garcia's interview with Steve Weitzman, he mentions writing songs with Hunter: "I edit his work an awful lot, and for example, a tune like US Blues really will start off with possible verses. Then it's a matter of carving them down to ones that are singable. Other songs are like stories. A lot of times I edit out the sense of Hunter's songs. I prefer the open - you don't know Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa happened, we don't know what happened It's like the storyteller makes no choice - and neither do we.
And neither do you, and neither does anybody else. I prefer that. I prefer to be hanging In folk music, I've always been Janis & Jason - Look What Weve Started of the fragment. The song that has one verse. And you don't Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa anything about the characters, you don't know what they're doing, but they're doing something important.
I love that. I'm really a sucker for that kind of song. Saturday (Lewis Ferrier Instrumental Remix) - Steven Stone featuring Robina - Saturday a couple of songs in my acoustic set now, I get a chance to do the originals of Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa of the songs that Hunter and I later warped into alternate reality.
Its lyrics sound as though they date from about that period of time. But it's a fragment - it tells very little about what's happening. There's only three verses in it This tune starts off with a Boston boy and a friend sitting around a campfire, and the Boston boy is saying, "I'll do what you want me to, provided you write to my mother, if something happens to me. He talks about his mother a little, and then they go off to the battle. And then there's a great verse of battle stuff that has Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa lines in it.
And the battle is over, and at the end of the battle the people who are dead, left on the hill after the battle, are the boy with the curly hair, the Boston boy, and the person he was talking to. So there's nobody to write to mother, and it ends. There's so little to it that you just barely understand what happened. Undoubtedly it was originally 20 verses. But it's got a beautiful melody and it's just real evocative. It's the kind of thing I'm a real sucker for. It's just a beautiful tune.
For so many years I could never quite understand what Jerry was saying in the opening lines of this very hauntingly beautiful song. Thanks to the internet I've found out. I recently bough a CD of "Aoxomoxoa'' and went straight to "Rosemary''. Hadn't heard it in years. Bought back a lot of memories. I feel as you do Simon, I miss ol' Jah Save Us - Lucky Dube - Together As One Trips.
It's twenty years this month that he left us. Damn you jerry, why didn't you take better care of yourself? I recently came into possession of the master protection reel of Podívám Se Zblízka - Marsyas - 1978-2004. Rosemary stands out as a beautiful, eerie song. The 2 guitars work well with each other. I also noticed on the reel that the vocals of Don' That Rag seem to have been recorded out of phase.
I can't say I ever noticed that before. From a Garcia interview with Peter Simon: Q: I noticed on your albums that any song that comes from you is also associated with Robert Hunter.
How does that work? Have you ever tried to actually write words yourself? JG: Yeah, I've tried. Q: Nothing that you would say would stand the test of time? JG: No, I don't - I have never developed the necessary discipline to really write gracefully.
I'm Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa better editor than I am a writer, for sure. I do some writing, but I'm not at all serious about it, and I usually find that if I have an idea that wants to be expressed in words, that Hunter can express it better than I can - and also, he and I have such a Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa working relationship that if I have a suggestion of any sort, it works just very smoothly, we don't clash in terms of our egos, we both tend to focus on the work and neither of us focuses on ourselves, so it works out to be very comfortable My capacity as a person who chooses a lyric to sing is really about as much as I would want to have toward the responsibility for the content.
Q: Do you usually sing the melody and he adapts the lyrics, or -? JG: It works both ways - sometimes I think of the changes, the melody, the phrasing, where there should be vowels and where there should be consonants - I can get down to as much Ocean Drive - Lighthouse Family - Ocean Drive detail without actually having words And sometimes he has a lyric and I'll read it and I'll say 'this is amazing, I want to set it,' and I'll take it and work on it - and sometimes we'll take bits and pieces of things, different ideas, stick 'em together, polish them - I mean, we work every different way.
That also is not limited by some particular stylistic approach, it's just whatever works. Q: His lyrics do have a certain feel to them, they're very unusual, they're kind of very surreal, and you can't always grab them and say 'oh yeah, I understand this song,' it's like very amorphous in a way. I like songs that are more evocative than, say, thought-provoking or obvious. Q: Protest songs. JG: Right, topical songs. We've written a few topical songs but they were just that [or "just bad"], Believe Me (Us Single Mix) - CJ Stone Feat Anna Turska & Sherlock - Believe Me the way they work out, is they end up being topical because they're frozen to Rosemary - Grateful Dead* - Aoxomoxoa certain time.
Q: Like which ones? JG: Like Speedway Boogie, for example, I think that's probably the most topical song we've ever written. February 1, Rosemary.
Rosemary is one of the simplest, shortest songs to appear on a Grateful Dead album. A graceful tune, accompanied by only a couple acoustic guitars, it tells the mysterious, atmospheric tale of a solitary lady in an ominous garden. Hunter very likely had these folkloric associations in mind when he wrote the song. He loves the mournful death-connected ballad, the Child Ballad stuff. The mystery is part of what makes it interesting to me. It seemed to speak at some level other than the most obvious one, and it was more moving for that reason.
The story goes that Henry hid her in a bower garden surrounded by a forest labyrinth, so only he could find the way in; but his jealous queen Eleanor used a thread to discover the path, and poisoned Rosamund. Certainly I liked that sort of writing. There are many such literary pieces about women in gardens that could be found; but which exactly Hunter might have been thinking of, is uncertain.
Up til then, most songs had been written by the whole band, with each person pitching in — many of their best songs came out of band jams.
Omnibus - The Move - The Best Of The Move, She Thinks I Still Care (Unedited Overdubbed Master) - Elvis Presley - Unedited Masters, Reverend & The Makers* - A French Kiss In The Chaos (Instrumentals), Renegade Rewind Rewound - Various - Off Yer Nut - To The Max, Kaziu Zakochaj Się - Piotr Ruciński - Lets Play A Blues