Dire Wolf

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Sung by Jerry Garcia on Workingman's Dead and in almost all Grateful Dead live shows. But in at least a couple of the early performances of the song (21 June and 4 July 1969) it was sung by Bob Weir (thanks to Mike Scheier for pointing this out).

In the timbers of Fennario the wolves are running round (note 1)
The winter was so hard and cold, froze ten feet 'neath the ground

Don't murder me, I beg of you don't murder me
Please don't murder me

I sat down to supper, 'twas a bottle of red whiskey
I said my prayers and went to bed, that's the last they saw of me

When I awoke, the dire wolf, six hundred pounds of sin
Was grinning at my window, all I said was "Come on in"

The wolf came in, I got my cards, we sat down for a game
I cut my deck to the queen of spades but the cards were all the same (note 2)

In the back-wash of Fennario, the black and bloody mire
The dire wolf collects his due while the boys sing round the fire
(1) Jerry sometimes sang "In the back-wash of Fennario ..." here - as in the last verse (thanks to Adam Carlitz for pointing this out)
(2) for some reason the Grateful Dead songbooks wrongly have "queen of hearts"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     27 Jun 1969 Workingman's Dead (note a)
     26 Oct 1969 30 Days Of The Dead (2023)
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 16
     12 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10
     21 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 6 (Bonus disc)
     studio 1970 Workingman's Dead
      2 Jan 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 30
     23 Jan 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 19
     14 Feb 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 4
     28 Feb 1970 30 Days Of The Dead (2023)
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (late show)
     31 Dec 1970 30 Days Of The Dead (2018)
     16 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 Apr 1972 Europe '72: Vol. 2 (note c)
     24 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     19 Oct 1972 Listen To The River: St Louis '71 '72 73
     21 Nov 1973 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 3
     30 Nov 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
     19 Dec 1973 30 Days Of The Dead (2022)
     23 Feb 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 42
     17 May 1974 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
     1 Oct 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 45
     29 Oct 1977 Dave's Picks Vol 33
      5 Nov 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 34
      6 Nov 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 25
     22 Jan 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 23
      5 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
      8 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
     26 Dec 1979 Dick's Picks Vol 5
      9 Oct 1980 The Warfield, San Francisco, CA 10/9/80 & 10/10/80
     11 Oct 1980 Reckoning (note b)
      6 May 1981 Dick's Picks Vol 13
      7 May 1981 The Tomorrow Show (DVD)
     16 Sep 1987 30 Days Of The Dead (2021)
      2 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
     30 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
     25 Sep 1991 Dick's Picks Vol 17
     27 May 1993 Road Trips Vol 2, No 4
(Plus live recordings by The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company, Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends etc not listed here. See Grateful Dead Family Discography for a full list.)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
      3 Jun 1984 Best Of Jerry Garcia Jerry Garcia and John Kahn
     27 Jan 1986 GarciaLive Volume 14 Jerry Garcia/John Kahn
     28 Feb 1986 Pure Jerry: Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium Jerry Garcia/John Kahn
     Aug 1993 Live In Japan New Riders Of The Purple Sage
     1994 Relix Magazine 20th Anniversary Concert Dead Ringers
     2000 Dead Grass Vassar Clements
     2000 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead Vol 2 David West et al
     2002 The Road To California The Cyrus Clarke Expedition
     2003 Snake Oil Stiff Dead Cat
     2003 IIth Purdymouth
     2004 Drumless Americana Hippies & Hillbillie
     2005 Deadgrass Deadgrass
     2005 Innocence Shouting Thomas!
     2007 At Fine Arts Center, UMass The American Beauty Project
     2007 U Liners U Liners
     2012 Live At Hodi's Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams
     2013 Something In The Water Scattered Smothered And Covered
     2015 Punk Is Dead Punk Is Dead
     2015 Songs Of Their Own Connie West & The Bandits
      1 Oct 2016 San Rafael, CA Infamous Stringdusters
     2016 Day Of The Dead The Lone Bellow & Friends
     2018 Tarantoga Tiger Family
(a) included as a bonus track on remastered album, first released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)
(b) also on the compilation The Arista Years
(c) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings

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 online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Authentic Guitar Classics Volume 2 (guitar TAB)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Jerry Garcia Songbook (vocal line and chords)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|