Caution (Do Not Stop On Tracks)

Lyrics: Grateful Dead
Music: Grateful Dead

This is Bob Weir's account of the origins of Caution:

"How the Caution jam developed is we were driving around listening to the radio, like we used to do a lot, and the song Mystic Eyes by Them was on, and we were all saying, 'Check this out! We can do this!' So we got to the club where we were playing and we warmed up on it. We lifted the riff from Mystic Eyes and extrapolated it ito Caution, and I think Pigpen just made up the words."
But see below for a different and longer account by Phil Lesh.

The words varied a bit from performance to performance. This is the (studio) version from "So Many Roads":
I went down to see a gypsy woman
Wanna find out, oh, what's wrong with me
I said please, please, please tell me now
What's wrong with me
All right
Well she looked at me and she said "Man"
She said "Man, all you need"
All you need, all you need, all you need
All you need is a mojo hand
Mojo hand
All you need a mojo hand
That's what I'm gonna do
Get myself a mojo hand
And everything will be all right
This is the live version from "Anthem Of The Sun" - see below for a much longer live version:
I went down one day
I went down to see a gypsy woman just one day, yes I did
I wanna find out
What's wrong with me and my baby
We ain't been getting down like we used to do
I mean it's pretty good now
But there was a time when it didn't work out too well
I went down to see this gypsy woman, you understand
And I told her my story
I told her what was going on
And she turned to me and she said
All you need
All you gotta have
Just a touch, that's all you gotta have
Just a touch of mojo hand
And it feels pretty good
This is the second half of the version on "Rare Cuts & Oddities":
I went down
I went down to see a gypsy woman one day
I wanna, I wanna find, I wannna, wrong with me
I wanna find out, girl, I wanna say
Don't you see, I gotta get a little bit of mojo
I got to get myself just a taste of mojo hand
Just a little bit of mojo hand
Come on
Slap on that black cat bone (note a)
Come on baby
Why don't you slap it, slap it on, hold it baby
Slap it, stack it, hold it, one more time for me
(a) See the line "Got a black cat bone, I got a mojo hand" in Hoochie Coochie Man

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
      3 Nov 1965 So Many Roads (1965-1995) (note 1) (note 9)
     12 Mar 1966 Rare Cuts And Oddities
     10 Nov 1967 30 Trips Around The Sun (note 10)
     Nov 67 - Mar 68 Anthem Of The Sun
     14 Feb 1968 Road Trips Volume 2, Number 2
     24 Feb 1968 Dick's Picks 22
     17 Mar 1968 Download Series Vol 6
     14 Jun 1968 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings (note 2)
     23 Aug 1968 Anthem Of The Sun and Two From The Vault (note 3)
     20 Oct 1968 30 Trips Around The Sun
     25 Jan 1969 Aoxomoxoa (2019 bonus disc)
     11 Feb 1969 Fillmore East 2-11-69
     28 Feb 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings
      2 Mar 1969 Fillmore West 1969 - The Complete Recordings
     17 Apr 1969 Download Series Vol 12
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks 16 (note 4)
     12 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10 (note 8)
     14 Feb 1970 Dick's Picks 4
     18 Mar 1971 30 Trips Around The Sun
     22 Mar 1972 Rockin' The Rhein (bonus disc)
      8 Apr 1972 Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (note 5)
     14 Apr 1972 Europe '72 (note 6) (note 5)
     17 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     29 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     11 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     18 Sep 1974 30 Trips Around The Sun (note 7)
     19 Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (CD only) (note 7)
     27 Oct 1979 30 Trips Around The Sun (note 7)
      6 May 1981 Dick's Picks 13 (note 7)
Phil Lesh and Friends Recordings
     19 May 2006 Live At The Warfield

(1) also on the album Birth Of The Dead, originally issued as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)
(2) released on the bonus disc issued with advance orders
(3) bonus track on remastered version of Anthem Of The Sun, first released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973). Now also issued on Disk 3 of the reissued version of Two From The Vault
(4) just before the end of "Caution" on DP16 someone recites:
When ya goin truckin' down the line
Just past that neighbor
You're fine
Give him that bright eye
A sad smile
And know that we've all been walkin'
This same long mile
Jeff Hollbeck tells me it's Ken Babbs, which seems very plausible (it's not a band member). Compare with Ken Babbs' longer monologue on 31 May 1969.
(5) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
(6) included as a bonus track on remastered album, first released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)
(7) jam only: no lyrics
(8) previously released on Best Of The Grateful Dead Hour
(9) also released on a 7-inch vinyl single as part of the box set 30 Trips Around The Sun
(10) a version dated 10 November 1967 was released as part of 30 Days Of The Dead (2013). But it seems that version may have been from the following night, 11 November. (thanks to Caleb Kennedy for this information).

Other versions
This is a much longer live version, from 18 March 1971: thanks to Christopher Wallis for the transcription.
You know I went down, one ol' day
I went down to see a gypsy woman one day
I wanted to find out
What's the matter with my baby and me
Yes I did, yes I did
She said "Son, what seem to be goin' on wrong?"
She said "Son, what seem to be goin' on wrong?"
And I begin to tol' her
Commence to tell her my story
"Please, please, Miss Gypsy Woman
Tell me how come me and my rider ain't gettin' on the way we used to do?"
So she kinda asked me some questions
She say, "Now do you leave your lady home alone too long, for some times?"
I said "Well, yes, I'm gone awhile, you know"
She said "Well, that could be number one
"When the cat's away the mouse will play an' all that"
And then she say, "Now do you bother your old lady too much?
"Do you wanta get it on more than she does?"
An' I said, "I wanta get it on any damn time I can"
She said, "Well, I don't know about that"
Asked another question, asked what I need, asked what I need

Asked a whole lotta questions, yeah she did
An' then you know, she said "Son, don't go see no doctor
I got just the thing that's good for you
She said, "I got all you need for ya"
All you need, all you need, yes I do
"I'm gonna whip up a little frog's eye, rattlesnake hide and batwing too"
She pitched up something she said will do
She said "Son, this is all you need, all you need"
All you need, all you need, all you need, all you need
All you need, all you need, all you need
Is just a little bit of Mojo
Just a little bit of Mojo
I got it whipped up for you, got it whipped up fine
She said now, that all I needed, all I needed
All I got to have, all I got to have, all I got to have
Is just a touch, just a touch of Mojo Hand
You know she gave it to me
And I bring it back home and it felt mighty nice, yes it did

Everything begin to get good, everything begin to get better
"Say baby," I rolled over, I tapped my rider on the shoulder
I said "hey now mama, I need some of that love, and I know you got it"
I got to get it
And she said, "What you say?"
I say, "Help my baby, I got to get it"
She say, "You can't get it if I ain't gonna give it"
And I seen what that old lady have give to me before
I just kinda peep out of the room, and walk over
And pick up my little Mojo bag
Just kinda stick it right under the pillow
While she's sleepin', she don't ever know
In just a little while, when I begin to be sleepin'
She begin to stir, and then I know
All I needed was that little Mojo
She just couldn't get away from it
I know it did that magic just right for me
Just slip it under the pillow one night
If you ever have trouble with your lady, fella
Just slip it under the pillow one night
Then you can come home from a hard day's work
Eat breakfast, then go to sleep again
Get into bed, begin to go to sleep
Feelin' all tired, kinda run all down
An' next thing you hear her saying
You hear a little whisper in your ear
She said, "Baby, you awake?"
And you know your Mojo is working
Keep that woman under control
That's all you got to do
Mo-mo-mo-mo-mojo is the thing you need
And if you got it, and your lady ain't got it
Why don't you just give her some of it
An' everything will be all right, yes it will
That ol' gypsy woman said tol' me when I went down
She said, she said "Son," she said "Son"
All you need, all you need, all you need, all you need
All you got to have
And she told me, that all you need
All you need and all you got to have
All you need, all you need, all you need, all you need
All you need, all you need, all you need
Ah my my my Mojo Hand
Just a little bit of Mojo
Just a little bit of Mojo, get yourself on straight
A little bit of Mojo, baby to get yourself straight
My my my
Phil's account of the origins of the song came in an introduction to the Phil & Friends show at Terrapin Crossroads on 2 January 2015, when they played Grateful Dead songs from 1965:
[Jay Blakesberg] There's a lot of different stories about how Caution came about - one chord, play it fast, and the train, and Jerry almost getting hit by - do you want to talk a little bit about "Caution"? 'Cause that was one of the first big, mega, crazy songs

[Phil Lesh] OK. It's quite a story really. And it stretches out over time, of course. But we were on a train. I think we were going to Vancouver. And we're in the vestibule - between the cars. And the train is going [makes train on tracks moises]. And this monster groove just driving forward, and it's not speeding up. So we're looking at each other and saying "we gotta play this, we gotta play this". And Jerry is on the outside, by the opening. And all of a sudden he just leans over, and starts to fall outwards. Bob like a snake goes [makes grabbing gesture]. Grabs him and pulls him in. Just then another train goes by at about 90 million miles an hour [makes noise of train roaring by]. That was a close one. To be sure. I mean, that would have nipped it right in the bud. So, later that night - I just remembered this today - we worked up "Caution" from that experience. And I just realised, I just remembered today, the sound of that train going by in the other direction is exactly the sound of Jerry going [repeats noise of train roaring by] in "Caution" - that was his signature lick in "Caution". Well, I mean, maybe you had to be there. It's very significant to me.

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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