Ivory Wheels/Rosewood Track

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

This is the fifth song in Robert Hunter's Terrapin Station Suite. Ivory Wheels was never played by the Grateful Dead. Hunter himself recorded it on his LP "Jack O' Roses" (never issued as a CD). He sings it to the riff played by the Dead in the jam after the "Terrapin Station" portion of the suite.

Ivory wheels on a rosewood track
Take us back again and again to Terrapin (note 1)

Smokestack thunder - pay the ticket price (note 2)
Clock in the sky says quarter to twice - we roll again

Hello, good soldier, where you been?
Did you take the wrong round to get to Terrapin? (note 3)

Some for reasons great or small
Rise, climb, fall, to get to Terrapin

The demon's daughter used to lay for gin (note 4)
In a shack way back on the skirts of the fens of Terrapin

The demon himself got drunk all night
Collapsed at the sunrise service - he was very tight

Captain Billy Lyon from Louisiana low
Used to chase a bayou girl through here named Peggy-o

Some say he died of love for Peggy-o (note 5)
Others say it was the devil himself laid Billy low (note 6)

Some for reasons known but to them
Rise, climb, fall, to get to Terrapin

One-eyed sailor with a Cheshire grin
That must be the Jack O'Roses bound for Terrapin

Chasing that lady-o through the bayou (note 7)
Swore to God in lightning storm he'd catch her, too

Fortune dealt him such a straight high hand
He saw no reason not to trust it more, and retrieved her fan

The lions looked up in surprise
But they backed right off when they saw the madness in his eyes

Venus rises from the sea
On the back of a mighty Terrapin with a coral fan

Throws that fan to the diamond beach (note 8)
Always a little out of reach - but try again

Some for reasons great or small
Rise, climb, fall, to get to Terrapin
(1) In his 1980 recording, Hunter sang: "Quick, Jack, take us back to Terrapin." In a 1978 perormance Hunter sang "With a click and a clack, that takes us back to Terrapin"
(2) In that recording Hunter also added an extra verse in here:
Long John Silver at the wheel, you bet
That deuce of a Staggerlee in the firebox pouring sweat
(3) Hunter sang: "You must have took the wrong way round to get to Terrapin"
(4) in a 1978 version, Hunter sang "deacon" instead of "demon" in this verse and the next
(5) Hunter added an extra verse:
Must have made pretty good time between
Fennario and DeLyon's club down in New Orleans
(6) Hunter sang: "But I believe it was Staggerlee laid Billy low"
(7) Hunter sang "Peggy-o" rather than "lady-o"
(7) Hunter sang "Tosses that fan"

     Date Album Recorded By
     1980 Jack O'Roses Robert Hunter

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


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