Can't Come Down

Lyrics: Jerry Garcia
Music: Grateful Dead

One of the songs played in 1965-66 by the Dead but then dropped from their repertoire. Revived by Phil Lesh & Friends in 2012.

Bob Weir described the writing of the song in an interview: "Well, we wrote all the music and Jerry wrote the lyrics. Jerry excused himself for a moment and went off. He came back with a couple of verses and we put together a chorus."

I'm flying down deserted streets
Wrapped in mother's winding sheets
Asbestos boots on flaming feet
Dreaming of forbidden treats
When uniforms on nighttime beats
Ask me where I'm going and what I eat
I answer them with a voice so sweet

I can't come down, it's plain to see
I can't come down, I've been set free
Who you are and what you do don't make no difference to me

Well someone trying to tell me where it's at
And how I do this and why I do that
With secret smiles like a Cheshire cat
And leather wings like a vampire bat
I fly away to my cold water flat
And eat my way through a bowl of fat
And I say to the man with the funny hat (note 1)


They say I've begun to lose my grip
My hold on reality is starting to slip
They tell me to get off this trip
They say that it's like a sinking ship
Life's sweet wine's too warm to sip (note 2)
And if I drink I'll surely flip
I just say as I take a nip


So as I dream of forgotten seas
And granite walls and redwood trees
And of the eye that only sees
Endless mirrors and infinite me's
About the winter's coming freeze
This afterthought I say with ease
To all of you who made your pleas

(1) what seem to be Garcia's handwritten lyrics have this line as "I say to the stranger with his funny hat.
(2) the handwritten lyrics have "Life's sweet wine's too strong to sip".

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     3 Nov 1965 So Many Roads (1965-1995) (note 1)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2013 Keys Keller Willams

(1) also on Birth Of The Dead, originally released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)

Further 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 David Dodd's discussion of this song on see Greatest Stories Ever Told


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