Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Running with the Dead: Terrapin Station

Running with the Dead: Terrapin Station
Result: Positive
Best Line: Some rise, some fall, some climb, to get to Terrapin
Link: A husky Jerry from '88. Make sure you click on Space... not Terrapin. The song list is screwed up.

Since I typically move at the velocity of a turtle, this is a perfect running song for me. For a long time I refused to put it on my player. I assumed it was a lolly-gagger. Also, Terrapin Station contains a big tempo change in the middle (which divides the song into two parts). But, eh, I like the lyrics and this uncharacteristically precise song has a steady, rolling rhythm. The ending is also a lot of fun. It has a heralding guitar that ever-so-slowly dampens and eventually fades off.

Terrapin didn't change much throughout the years. A '78 sounds a lot like an '88. Even Jerry's guitar solo stays obedient (although I'm sure there are exceptions). It is a many-layered tune with each musician's part carefully mapped out. It almost reminds me of a Yes song. Or even early Rush. And the lyrics are some of Hunter's best. If you are a poetry fan, I think I hear references to the romantics. Coleridge and Shelley.

You may wonder why I picked this version? It is an obscure show from Atlanta, March 24, 1988. One of the Dead's few side-trips into the deep south. Well, if you listen close, especially to the audience version, you may be able to pick out my voice. Yep, I was there. It was my one and only Dead show. And one show does not make a dead head. As Hunter says, the storyteller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice. His job is to shed light, and not to master.


  1. I too am a Dead fan-with-a-lowercase-f who made it to exactly one show; mine was a little later - 91 I think though I'm guessing. And while I think the obsessing over which drum solo was better goes to 11 with some true Dead Heads, I think a Dead concert was an experience I'd have been sad to miss.

  2. I agree, Rob. . . A Dead show was an unusual thing. A circus that somehow kept wandering through time. I think I will write out my experience. . . just for fun. Well, not the entire experience. :)