Equinox

Lyrics: Phil Lesh
Music: Phil Lesh

This is an oddity. It was written by Phil Lesh as a song to be sung by Jerry Garcia, but never issued on record and never played live. It is often called "Mercy of a Fool" in bootleg lyric lists but it seems that "Equinox" is the correct title. Bob Weir gave this account of its origins in a conversation with David Gans on 9 August 1977 about the recording of the album "Terrapin Station":

"One tune that took the longest to get was one that we didn't use. Another of Phil's originals. It was just too long, the song itself was too long to put on without crowding something else off the record. It was just very long and quite involved, and it was looking to require a good deal of work, and we only had so much time for what we could do on the record--you can only put about nineteen minutes per side on a record before you start losing fidelity. Phil's tune was six minutes long or so, and it would have put both sides well over that, so we decided to axe it and bring it back some other time. We got a great basic on it."
The recording circulated with other outtakes from "Terrapin Station." Nicholas Meriwether has posted Phil Lesh's manuscript of the lyriocs on his blog Documenting The Dead which clears up many of the hard-to-hear porrtions of the lyrics.

These are the lyrics in the order the Dead sang them:

She reclines, closing her eyes
The sun that set's is bound to rise
Night birds and fireflies settle round her

Days grow long, spring is here (note 1)
Waterfalls [shine again]
Our minds have gone off down stream
Shooting the rapids

Fire is for the young to claim
Bright as the eye of a hurricane
We're all just the same as growing children

Every moment is perfect
Every cell is a jewel
Every man is a prophet
At the mercy of a fool

It's easy watchin' seasons go
As sunshine turns to new born snow
And children learn, the numbers of tomorrow

The great globe spins, the music's heart
Every being knows its part
To keep it singing in the circle

Every moment is perfect
Every eye's a jewel
Every man is a prophet
With the mercy of a fool
Notes
(1) this verse isn't on the page of lyrics in Nicholas Meriwether's blog - I asked him whether it was on the reverse, but all there is is a fragment "Days grow long, seasons go".

The order of the verses in Phil's manuscript is:
She reclines, closing her eyes
The sun that set's is bound to rise
Night birds and fireflies settle round her

It's easy watchin' seasons go
As sunshine turns to new born snow
And children learn, the numbers of tomorrow

The great globe spins, the music's heart
Every being knows its part
To keep it singing in the circle

Every moment is perfect
Every cell is a jewel
Every man is a prophet
At the mercy of a fool

Fire is for the young to claim
Bright as the eye of a hurricane
We're all just the same as growing children

Every moment is perfect
Every eye's a jewel
Every man is a prophet
With the mercy of a fool
Grateful Dead Recordings
     (studio) 17 Feb 1977 Terrapin Station   (note 1)

Notes
(1) issued as a bonus track on the version in the box set Beyond Description (1973-1990)


Futher Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


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