The Promised Land

Lyrics: Chuck Berry
Music: Chuck Berry

Apparently played by the Warlocks and the Grateful Dead in their earliest days, Bob Weir started playing this with the Dead in 1971, and it remained a regular right through to 1995. He also played it with Kingfish, Bobby & The Midnites and on the 1996 Furthur Festival tour.

I left my home in Norfolk, Virginia
California on my mind
I straddled that Greyhound and rode him past Raleigh
And on across Caroline (note 1)
We stopped at Charlotte, we by-passed Rockhill
We never was a minute late
We was ninety miles out of Atlanta by sundown
Rollin' 'cross Georgia State (note 2)
We had motor trouble that turned into a struggle
Half-way across Alabam'
And that 'Hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham

Right away I bought me a through train ticket
Ridin' 'cross Mississippi clean
And I was on the Midnight Flyer out of Birmingham
Smokin' into New Orleans
Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just help me get to Houston town
There are people there who care a little 'bout me
And they won't let the poor boy down
Sure as you're born, they bought me a silk suit
They put luggage in my hand
And I woke up high over Albuquerque
On a jet to the promised land

Workin' on a T-bone steak a la carte
Flyin' over to the Golden State
When the pilot told us in thirteen minutes
We'd be headed in the terminal gate (note 3)
Swing low sweet chariot, come down easy
Taxi to the terminal zone
Cut your engines and cool your wings
And let me make it to the telephone
Los Angeles, give me Norfolk, Virginia
Tidewater four-ten-o-nine
Tell the folks back home, this is the promised land calling
And the poor boy is on the line
(1) the Chuck Berry version is "... into Raleigh", but Weir sings "past Raleigh"
(2) Chuck Berry sings "Rollin' out of Georgia State"
(3) Chuck Berry sings "He would set us at the terminal gate"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1966 Rare Cuts And Oddities
      7 Aug 1971 Dick's Picks Vol 35
     16 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     23 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     25 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     27 Aug 1972 Sunshine Daydream (CD and DVD)
     17 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 23
     21 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 36
     27 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 11
     17 Nov 1972 Dave's Picks Volume 11
     26 Feb 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 28
     19 Oct 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 19
      9 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     11 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     24 Feb 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 13
     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
     20 Oct 1974 Steal Your Face
      9 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     24 Sep 1976 Dave's Picks Vol 4
      9 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     31 Dec 1976 Live At The Cow Palace
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
     11 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     19 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
     25 May 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 1
     28 May 1977 To Terrapin: Hartford '77
      3 Sep 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 15
      2 Nov 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 12
     29 Dec 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 10
     24 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 7
      6 Nov 1979 Road Trips Full Show: Spectrum 11/6/79
     10 Nov 1979 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 1
     26 Dec 1979 Dick's Picks Vol 5
      6 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
     26 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
      8 Oct 1989 Warlocks Box
     21 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     29 Mar 1990 Wake Up To Find Out (note a)
      3 Apr 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)

Recordings from Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs
Bob Weir Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
      3 Apr 1976 In Concert (King Biscuit Flower Hour) Kingfish
      ? 1985 Kingfish (Relix) Kingfish

(a) also included as part of box set Spring 1990 (The Other One)

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 online chords and TAB see


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