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." For a long time, the only version in circulation was of simply terrible quality, but more recently better-sounding versions have appeared (though there are still parts of the lyrics I can't make out).
She reclines, closing her eyes
The sun that set is bound to rise
Night birds and fireflies settle round her
Days grow long, spring is here
Waterfalls shine again
Our minds have gone down stream
Shooting the rapids

Bright as gold, the arms you gave
Bright as the eye of a hurricane
We're all just the [sins] growing [children]
Every moment is perfect, every [sin] is a jewel
Every man is a prophet at the mercy of a fool

Watch the seasons go, as sunshine turns to cold snow
Showers and rain
[Numbers of] tomorrow
The great globe spins, the music starts
Every beat knows its part
To keep it spinning in a circle
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)

(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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