Tennessee Jed

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Cold iron shackles, ball and chain
Listen to the whistle of the evening train (note 1)
You know you bound to wind up dead
If you don't head back to Tennessee Jed

Rich man step on my poor head
When you get back you better butter my bread
Well you know it's like I said
You better head back to Tennessee Jed

Tennessee, Tennessee
There ain't no place I'd rather be
Baby won't you carry me
Back to Tennessee

Drink all day and rock all night
The law come to get you if you don't walk right
Got a letter this morning, baby, and all it read
You better head back to Tennessee Jed

I dropped four flights and cracked my spine
Buddy come quick with the iodine
Catch a few winks, baby, under the bed
Then you head back to Tennessee Jed


I ran into Charlie Phogg (note 2)
Blacked my eye and he kicked my dog
My doggie turned to me and he said
Let's head back to Tennessee Jed

I woke up feeling mean
I went down to play the slot machine
The wheels turned around and the letters read
You better head back to Tennessee Jed

(1) in some early performances, Jerry sang "Listen to the whistle of the passing train". (thanks to Ian Shure for pointing this out)
(2) "Phogg" is the spelling in Hunter's lyric collection "Box Of Rain", though the songbooks spell it "Fog"

Grateful Dead Recordings

Other Dead-related Recordings

Covers By Other Artists

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


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