Might As Well

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Great North Special, were you on board?
You can't find a ride like that no more
Night the chariot swung down low
Ninety nine children had a chance to go

One long party from front to end
Tune to the whistle going round the bend
No big hurry, what do you say
Might as well travel the elegant way

Might as well, might as well (note 1)
(Might as well, might as well)
Might as well, might as well
(Might as well, might as well)
Might as well, might as well
(Might as well, might as well)
Might as well, might as well
(Might as well, might as well)

Ragtime solid for twenty five miles
Then slip over to the Cajun style
Bar car loaded with rhythm and blues
Rock and roll wailing in the old caboose

Long train running from coast to coast
Bringing 'long the party where they need it the most
Whup on the box car, beat on the bell
Nothing else shaking so you might just as well


Never had such a good time
In my life before
I'd like to have it one time more
One good ride from start to end (note 2)
I'd like to take that ride again

Run out of track and I caught the plane (note 3)
Back in the county with the blues again
Great North Special been on my mind (note 4)
Might like to ride it just one more time

(1) in an interview with David Gans on the KPFA Marathon on 9 February 2008, Bob Weir commented on the origin of the chorus:
"Well we could talk about 'Might As Well', the song you just lifted off. Actually, I wrote that line. You know, something like thirty years ago, I was in my studio, where I am now, and Jerry came up and we were just sort of messing around, and I had this line "Might as well, might as well", and he liked that, so he traded me that for a descending figure that he was working on that he couldn't figure out what to do with, which I used for the first few lines of 'This Time Forever'"
(2) on occasions (eg 6 Apr 1982) Jerry sang "One long ride from start to end" (thanks to Ed Altman for this)
(3) on occasions (eg 6 Apr 1982) Jerry sang "Ran out of track and I lost the train" (thanks to Ed Altman for this)
(4) on 6 Apr 1984 it sounds as if Jerry sang "The late John Lennon's been on my mind" (thanks to Tim Lynch for spotting this)

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1976 Reflections (Jerry Garcia) (note a) (note b)
     10 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     11 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     14 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     15 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     19 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     24 Sep 1976 Dave's Picks Vol 4
     27 Sep 1976 30 Days Of The Dead (2022)
      2 Oct 1976 Live At The Cow Palace (note c)
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     29 Oct 1977 Dave's Picks Vol 33
      2 Nov 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 34
      6 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
     10 Apr 1983 30 Days Of The Dead (2017)
     12 Oct 1983 In And Out Of The Garden
     26 Jun 1984 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)
     17 Jun 1991 Giants Stadium 1987, 1989, 1991 Boxed Set (CD and DVD)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2000 Might As Well The Persuasions (note d)
     2018 Dead Songs Vol 2 Barton Hills Choir
(a) although it appears on a Jerry Garcia solo album, the recording was made by the members of the Grateful Dead.
(b) also on the compilation The Best Of Jerry Garcia
(c) on bonus disc Spirit Of '76 issued with advance orders from GDStore
(d) re-released in 2011 on "Persuasions of the Dead"

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)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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