Big Ed

Lyrics: Gauthier
Music: Gauthier

Played by the New Riders of the Purple Sage in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Introduced on one occasion by John Dawson:

[Dawson] "Rusty's gonna sing you a song about a camping trip that he and some friends of his took on time. They went down to the Great Smokey Mountains of North Carolina - well it's actually up to the Great Smokey Mounains from here. Anyway, they were having a great time, they'd brought all sorts of good stuff in with them, they brought a [?] jelly-roll, some Budweiser beer - hang on, let me get my five dollars from the Anheuser-Busch guy now - yeah, well, anyway. So they were sitting there having a great old time, partying, and this large black dog came wandering up. Only it turned out not to be a dog at all.
[Gauthier} Turned out to be a bear. His name was Ed.
[Dawson] How do you know his name was Ed?
[Gauthier] You had to be there, John. Anyway, his name was Ed, he ate our sandwiches, drank our Budweiser. We wrote a song about him. Ballad Of Bid Ed The Bear.
It's listed on some setlists as "Lawdy Mama". Lyrics:
Heading down south towards greener lands
We'll make it to the caves as quick as we can
Picking up coffee and friendly smiles
We found some [thaws?], had to walk a few miles

Going through the mountains, sloshing in the streams
Think I'll make it on back next spring
Talking to the [hatfields] back-row store
Listen to the birds sing, makes you want more
I said it makes you want more
Lawdy, Mama, it makes you want more

[Springman's stone] was sure mighty fine
Talking to the boys and drinking cheap wine
Oh we'll take Ed the bear just to have him some fun
He ate a little [kick] but did he have to run
Did he have to run


[Smoked a little nature] and looking at the walls
Find a lot of faces that no one else saw
Eeten-dee eeten-deedle eeten-deedle-eeten-dee
Eet-eet-en-deedle-eeten deedle-eedle-ee

Lawdy Mama it makes you want more
New Riders Recordings
     Date Album
     1978 Keep On Keepin' On

Further Information
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography


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