Crazy Fingers

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Your rain falls like crazy fingers
Peals of fragile thunder
Keeping time
Recall the days that still are to come
Some sing blue

Hang your heart on laughing willow
Stray down to the water
Deep sea of love
Beneath the sweet calm face of the sea
Swift undertow

Life may be sweeter for this, I don't know
See how it feels in the end
May Lady Lullaby sing plainly for you
Soft, strong, sweet and true


Cloud hands reaching from a rainbow
Tapping at the window
Touch your hair
So swift and bright, strange figures of light (note 1)
Float in air

Who can stop what must arrive now?
Something new is waiting
To be born
Dark as the night you're still by my side
Shining side (note 2)

Gone are the days we stopped to decide
Where we should go, we just ride
Gone are the broken eyes
We saw through in dreams (note 3)
Gone, both dream and lie

Life may be sweeter for this, I don't know
Feels like it might be alright
While Lady Lullaby sings plainly for you (note 4)
Love still rings true


Midnight on a carousel ride (note 5)
Reaching for the gold ring
Down inside
Never could reach it, just slips away
But I try (note 6)
Notes
(1) these are the lyrics in "Box Of Rain." The sheet music has "strange fingers of light," and it certainly sounds as if that is what Jerry sings on "Blues For Allah" and on DP17. What seems to be the original typed lyrics also has "strange fingers", so it may be that what's in "Box Of Rain" is a mistake.
(2) these are the lyrics in "Box Of Rain." The sheet music has "Shine inside" and the original typed version of the lyrics has "shine in side". It's almost impossible to tell which one Jerry actually sang.
(3) the original typed lyrics here have "My lady, you know" with "you know" crossed out and replaced with "you see". The next line is put as "How to hold and let go" with "let go" crossed our and replaced with "be free". There's also, in brackets, "How to hold letting go"
(4) it sounds as if Jerry normally sang "... sings plainly through you", and that is what is in the original typed lyrics.
(5) the typed lyrics have "Midnight mountain carousel ride"
(6) Jerry normally sang "When I try"
(7) the typed lyrics have another verse, not sung by Garcia:
It's so hard to get a free ride
Lucky if you catch it
And don't get tied
With all the trials it takes to twist free
All I hope
See also below for other related typescripts.

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1975 Blues For Allah (note a)
     13 Aug 1975 One From The Vault
      9 Jun 1976 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 5 (note b)
     14 Jun 1976 June 1976 Box Set
     18 Jun 1976 Download Series Vol 4
     13 Jul 1976 30 Days Of The Dead (2015)
      3 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
     27 Dec 1989 30 Days Of The Dead (2018)
     14 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     21 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     25 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
      3 Apr 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     27 Oct 1990 30 Trips Around The Sun
     16 Jun 1991 Giants Stadium 1987, 1989, 1991 Boxed Set
     25 Sep 1991 Dick's Picks Vol 17
     26 May 1993 Road Trips Vol 2, No 4
      3 Jul 2015 Fare Thee Well (CD and DVD)
 
(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
     1996 Blues For Allah Joe Gallant and Illuminati
     1998 Blue Light Rain Jazz Is Dead
     2003 Lost & Profound Otter Lunacy
     2004 Werewolves Of Atlanta: Halloween 2004 Dark Star Orchestra
     2006 June 29 2006, High Sierra Music Festival Zero (note c)
     2007 Sept 8 20017, George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, AR Steve Kimock & Friends
     1 Sep 2008 Jerry Jams for Rex II Umphrey's McGee
     2008 Sept 1 2008, Fox Theatre, Boulder, CO Umphrey's McGee (note c)
     2012 March 10 2012, San Francisco, CA Railroad Earth
     2013 Back Around Donna Jean Godchaux Band with Jeff Mattson
     2015 Apr 17 2015, Morrison, CO Disco Biscuits
     2015 Songs Of Their Own Tod Stoops & Hayley Jane
     2016 Better Left Unsung Holly Bowling
     2017 Begin To Dance Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm
     2017 Let The Steel Play Andy Hall & Roosevelt Collier
     2018 Garcia Songbook Joe Craven & The Sometimers

Notes
(a) one of the bonus tracks on the 2004 reissue of "Blues for Allah" is "Distorto" which is an early instrumental version of "Crazy Fingers"
(b) also released on bonus disc Spirit Of '76 issued with advance orders for Live At The Cow Palace.
(c) The list above includes only one illustrative example of the series of live recordings by these artists. For a full list see the Grateful Dead Family Discography.

Another page of typed lyrics looks like it might be a slightly earlier, though similar version (differences in italics). Thanks to Jesse Jarnow for posting this and the other versions.
Your rain falls like crazy fingers
Peals of fragile thunder
Keeping time
Recalling pain that still is to come
Some sing blue

Hang your heart on laughing willow
Stray down to the water
Deep sea of love
Lovers of love return to this sea
When they go

Love may be sweeter than life, I don't know
Feels like they could be the same
May Lady Lullaby sing each strain for you
Soft, strong, sweet and true

Cloud hands reaching from a rainbow
Tapping at the window
Touch your hair
So swift and bright, cool fingers of light
Float in air

Malaguena Salerosa
Blue light city tango
Columbine
Dark as the night you're still by my side
Shine and shine

Gone are the lights that flicker and die
Changing each dream in midstream
While Lady Lullaby still lies here by me
Bells chime out from the sea


Life may be longer than love, I don't know
See how it feels in the end
While Lady Lullaby sings plainly through you
This much is true

Midnight on the carousel ride
Mirror of changing faces
Gold ring glides
When I reach for it, my hand touches yours
By my side
There is also a page of typed lyrics that starts with the first two lines of "Crazy Fingers" but then has nothing else in common. It may have been a very early, aborted version:
Your rain fall like crazy fingers
Peels of fragile thunder clapping
Satisfaction in the wine
A little time and who can tell?

She can change into [?] (note 1a)
And fly away at night
Nothing the matter with my baby
She's a little crazy but so what?

I been taking things as easy as I can
Inventing further dreams to go fulfill
Company is one, a crowd is two or more
I don't think I've ever been alone before

One by one the marks get wise
Everyone gets civilised
I saw the wolf light in your eyes
Flicker like a match inside the wind
It was getting thin

I'm just pickin' in the scraps
Few old beads, some dusty maps
That never led to anywhere
This place is fine, beyond compare
Like to build a fire here

Petal fingers tapping tarantelle
Six slow winters into seven sliding
Seven is an easy slider
Three ways you can make it
Three ways you can slide in easy

Mark time
Treadmill city gothic
Half a promise in your sideways glance (note 1b)
If I followed you down (to the river)
Would I have a chance?
Your eyes say no but your lips say yes
I'll just have to guess
(1a) the lyrics here have a crossed-out line "My socks don't often match but love will conquer even that".
(1b) the lyrics here have "Touch of Venus" crossed out and "Half a promise" written in.

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 2 (piano arrangement)
          Grateful Dead Songbook Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)

 


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