Greatest Story Ever Told

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Bob Weir, Mickey Hart

Moses come riding up on a quasar (note 1)
His spurs was a-jingling, the door was ajar
His buckle was silver, his manner was bold (note 2)
I asked him to come on in out of the cold
His brain was boiling, his reason was spent
Nothing is borrowed, nothing is lent
I asked him for mercy, he gave me a gun
Now and again these things just got to be done

Abraham and Isaac sitting on a fence
Get right to work if you have any sense
You know the one thing we need is a left-hand monkey wrench

Gideon come in with his eyes on the floor
Says, "you ain't got a hinge, you can't close the door"
Moses stood up a full six foot ten
Said "you can't close the door when the wall's caved in"
I asked him for water he poured me some wine
We finished the bottle then broke into mine
You get what you come for, you're ready to go
And it's one in ten thousand done come for the show

Abraham and Isaac digging on a well
Mama come quick with the water witch spell
Cool clear water where you can't never tell
Notes
(1) Hunter originally wrote this as "Moses come riding up on a guitar." That was what Weir sang in very early versions, but he subsequently changed the lyrics to "... on a quasar" - having also used "car" in intermediate versions. Thanks to Brian Poronsky for this information.
(2) some have suggested it should be "His buckler was silver ..." This would make equal sense, but Robert Hunter's printed lyrics in "Box Of Rain" show it as "buckle."

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     19 Feb 1971 Three From The Vault
      7 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     11 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     16 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     29 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
      3 May 1972 Europe '72: Vol. 2 (note 3)
      4 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
      7 May 1972 Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (note 3)
     10 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     27 Aug 1972 Sunshine Daydream (CD and DVD)
     27 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 11
     26 Feb 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 28
      9 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     11 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
      6 Dec 1973 Road Trips Volume 4 (bonus disc)
     16 Jun 1974 Road Trips Number 2, Volume 3 (bonus disc)
     31 Jul 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 2
     28 Dec 1979 Road Trips Vol 3, No 1
      6 May 1981 Dick's Picks Vol 13
      9 Oct 1981 Dead Set
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
      3 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
      4 Jul 1989 Truckin' Up To Buffalo (DVD & CD soundtrack)
     25 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
      8 Jul 1990 View From The Vault (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
     20 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section
 
Other Dead-related Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     studio 1972 Ace Bob Weir
     studio 1972 Rolling Thunder Mickey Hart (titled "The Pump Song")

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Mickey Hart Downloads
Other recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2011 Persuasions of the Dead The Persuasions
      7 Dec 2013 Dos Grateful Grass

Notes
(3) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings

A documentary produced by David Gans and issued on Best Of The Grateful Dead Hour traces the development of this song


Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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