Scarlet Begonias

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

As I was walking round Grosvenor Square
Not a chill to the winter but a nip to the air
From the other direction she was calling my eye (note 1)
It could be an illusion, but I might as well try
Might as well try

She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes
And I knew without asking she was into the blues
She wore scarlet begonias, tucked into her curls
I knew right away she was not like other girls
Other girls

In the thick of the evening when the dealing got rough (note 2)
She was too pat to open and too cool to bluff
As I picked up my matches and was closing the door
I had one of those flashes I had been there before
Been there before

Well I ain't often right but I've never been wrong
It seldom turns out the way it does in the song
Once in a while you get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way she moves
Scarlet begonias or a touch of the blues
And there's nothing wrong with the look that's in her eyes (note 3) (note 4) (note 5)
I had to learn the hard way to let her pass by
Let her pass by

The wind in the willows playing Tea for Two (note 6)
The sky was yellow and the sun was blue
Strangers stopping strangers just to shake their hand
Everybody is playing in the heart of gold band
Heart of gold band

Notes
(1) Jerry occasionally sang "From the other direction, I was calling her eye"
(2) it often sounds as if Jerry sang "In the heat of the evening when the dealer got rough"
(3) Jerry normally sang sings "the look that's in her eyes", though the original Hunter lyrics are "the love that's in her eye" - and that's what Hunter sings when he does it in concert.
(4) Jerry at least once sang "And there's nothing wrong with the way she caught my eye"
(5) for some reason, in a solo performance on 8 August 1984, Robert Hunter sang this couplet as something like "And all around her's whole wide world/One of them strangers, and our Bristol girls"
(6) there are a few minor differences between Garcia's and Hunter's version of the lyrics to this verse. Hunter has "... played Tea for Two" rather than "playing"; he also has "Strangers stop strangers" rather then "stopping".

Sublime recorded this on "40oz To Freedom", with an additional passage inserted in the middle. Thanks to James McCann for help with the transcription.
It was the summer of love, and I thank the stars above
Because the woman took a-lovin' over me
And just to gain her trust, I bought a microbus
Because I sold up all my personal property
A tight tie-dyed dress, she was a psychedelic mess
We toured to the north, south, east and west
We sold some mushroom tea, we sold some ecstacy
We sold nitrous, opium, acid, heroin and PCP
And now I hear the police coming after me
Yes now I hear the police coming after me
The one scarlet with the flowers in her hair
She's got the police coming after me

Well there ain't nothing wrong with the way she moves ...
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     Studio 1974 From The Mars Hotel
     23 Mar 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 24
     14 May 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 9
     28 Jun 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 12
     31 Jul 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 2
      5 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
      6 Aug 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 31
      9 Sep 1974 Dick's Picks Vol 7
      Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (DVD and CD)
     16 Oct 1974 From The Mars Hotel   (note a)
      9 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5
     21 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     25 Sep 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 20
     30 Sep 1976 Live At The Cow Palace (note b)
      3 Oct 1976 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)
      9 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     31 Dec 1976 Live At The Cow Palace
     29 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
     11 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     13 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     17 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     21 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
     25 May 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 1
      7 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
     16 Oct 1977 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 2
     31 Dec 1977 New Year's Eve At The Winterland
      5 Feb 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 18
     24 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 7
      7 May 1978 30 Days Of The Dead (2013)
     11 May 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 25
     22 Oct 1978 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 4 ("From Egypt With Love")
     31 Dec 1978 The Closing Of Winterland (DVD & CD)
      1 Nov 1979 Dick's Picks Vol 13
     30 Dec 1979 Road Trips Vol 3, No 1 (bonus disc)
     30 Aug 1980 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)
     30 Nov 1980 Dave's Picks Volume 8
     31 Jul 1982 30 Days Of The Dead (2012)
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
     27 Dec 1983 Grateful Dead Scrapbook (DVD) (note c)
     24 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
     27 Mar 1988 Download Series Vol 5
     31 Mar 1988 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 2
      7 Jul 1989 Crimson, White and Indigo (DVD & CD)
     16 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (note f)
     22 Mar 1990 So Many Roads (1965-1995) (note e)
     19 Jun 1991 Download Series Vol 11

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings
 
Phil Lesh and Friends Recordings
     18 May 2006 Live At The Warfield

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series
 
Dead-related Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     10 Jul 1980 The Ghosts Playing In The Heart Of Gold Band Heart Of Gold Band (note d)
     1990 Box Of Rain Robert Hunter

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs

Mickey Hart Downloads
 
Tribute Albums
                 Date Album Recorded By
     1997 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead David West et al
     1998 Blue Light Rain Jazz Is Dead
     1999 Swingin' To The Grateful Dead Steve Marsh et al
     2002 Elecronic Tribute To The Grateful Dead Various (Jun Jun Clinic)
     2002 Buckdancer's Choice Wake The Dead
     2003 Grateful Guitar David Cullen
     2005 Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares Caren Kennedy
     2013 First Reearsals Sycamore Slough String Band
     2013 Harpin' On The Dead Anela Lauren
 
Covers By Other Artists
     Date Album Recorded By
     1992 40oz To Freedom Sublime
     1995 Step On It Best Of The Ska Parade Radio Show
     2000 Over The Edge Professor Louie and The Crowmatix
     2004 Licence To Chill Jimmy Buffet
     2005 Live At Fenway Park Jimmy Buffet (DVD)
     2005 Live At Wrigley Field Jimmy Buffet (DVD)
     2005 The Jason Sinay Band The Jason Sinay Band
     2006 Jewish Pirate Steve Liberman The Gangsta Rabbi
      8 Feb 2006 Live At The Fillmore Grateful Grass
     2007 Boston Jam Party Vol 1 Various Artists
     2010 Blottopia XI Day 2 Mr Blotto
     2013 3 Ring Circus: The Bootleg Series: Live At The Palace, Hollywood Sublime
Notes
(a) issued as a bonus track on the version in the box set Beyond Description (1973-1990)
(b) on bonus disc Spirit Of '76 issued with advance orders from GDStore
(c) DVD included with deluxe edition of the Scrapbook
(d) also on the compilations Double Dose and Heart Of Gold Band
(e) also on the box set Spring 1990
(f) also on the compilation So Glad You Made It



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
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)

 


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