Lady With A Fan

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

This is the first song in Robert Hunter's Terrapin Station Suite. In setlists, "Lady With A Fan" is often lumped together with "Terrapin Station" rather than shown as separate songs. The Dead at least once (on 13 April 1986) played "Lady With A Fan" without going on into "Terrapin Station"

Let my inspiration flow, in token rhyme suggesting rhythm
That will not forsake me, till my tale is told and done
While the fire lights aglow, strange shadows from the flames will grow
Till things we've never seen will seem familiar

Shadows of a sailor forming winds both foul and fair, all swarm
Down in Carlisle he loved a lady many years ago
Here beside him stands a man, a soldier by the looks of him, (note 1)
Who came through many fights, but lost at love

While the story teller speaks, a door within the fire creaks, (note 2)
Suddenly flies open, and a girl is standing there
Eyes alight, with glowing hair, all that fancy paints as fair
She takes her fan and throws it in the lion's den (note 3)

Which of you to gain me, tell, will risk uncertain pains of hell?
I will not forgive you if you will not take the chance
The sailor gave at least a try; the soldier, being much too wise,
Strategy was his strength, and not disaster

The sailor, coming out again, the lady fairly leapt at him
That's how it stands today. You decide if he was wise (note 4)
The story teller makes no choice, soon you will not hear his voice
His job is to shed light, and not to master

Since the end is never told we pay the teller off in gold (note 5)
In hopes he will come back, but he cannot be bought or sold
(1) these are the lyrics as published by Hunter, but both he and Garcia sing "a soldier from the looks of him"
(2) on at least one occasion (18 March 1977), Jerry very deliberately sang "... a wall within the fire creaks." (thanks to AshesRising for pointing this out)
(3) see Lady Of Carlisle for the origins of the story of a lady throwing her fan into the lion's den.
(4) this is what Hunter published and what Garcia sang, but Hunter himself sang "that's where it stands today"
(5) this is the lyric in "Box of Rain", but the various lyric books have "... we paid the teller off in gold"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     Studio 1977 Terrapin Station (2)
     26 Feb 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 29
     22 Apr 1977 30 Days Of The Dead (2021)
     25 Apr 1977 30 Trips Around The Sun
     30 Apr 1977 Download Series Vol 1
      7 May 1977 May 1977: Get Shown The Light Box
     12 May 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings (bonus disc) (7)
     17 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     19 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
     26 May 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 41
     28 May 1977 To Terrapin: Hartford '77
      7 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
      9 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
      3 Sep 1977 Dick's Picks 15
     16 Oct 1977 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 2
      2 Nov 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 12
     29 Dec 1977 Dick's Picks 10
     22 Jan 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 23
     18 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Vol 37
     24 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 7
      1 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
      8 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
     15 Sep 1978 Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978 (bonus disc)
     31 Dec 1978 The Closing Of Winterland (DVD & CD)
      6 Nov 1979 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 1 (6)
      3 Dec 1979 Dave's Picks Vol 31
     28 Dec 1979 Road Trips Vol 3, No 1
      7 May 1980 Road Trips Volume 3, Number 4
     28 Nov 1980 30 Trips Around The Sun
      6 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
     20 Sep 1982 In And Out Of The Garden
     19 Apr 1984 Dave's Picks Volume 35
     28 Jun 1985 30 Days Of The Dead (2014)
      1987 So Far (video only) (5)
     26 Jul 1987 View From The Vault IV (DVD & CD soundtrack)
     18 Sep 1987 30 Trips Around The Sun
     31 Dec 1987 Ticket To New Year's (video/DVD only)
     31 Mar 1988 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 2
     31 Mar 1989 30 Days Of The Dead (2017) (8)
      4 Jul 1989 Truckin' Up To Buffalo (DVD & CD soundtrack)
     13 Jul 1989 RFK Stadium 1989 Box
     15 Mar 1990 Terrapin Station (Limited Edition)
     24 Mar 1990 Dozin' At The Knick
     30 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
     16 Jun 1990 View From The Vault III (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
      8 Jul 1990 View From The Vault (video/DVD & CD soundtrack)
     18 Jul 1990 Dave's Picks Volume 40
     12 Sep 1991 So Many Roads (1965-1995)
     25 Sep 1991 Dick's Picks Vol 17
      1 Oct 1994 30 Trips Around The Sun
      5 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
     studio 1980 Jack O'Roses Robert Hunter
     1996 Play Terrapin Station The Mudkats
     1996 DeadBeats Acoustic DeadBeats
     1997 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead David West et al (5)
     9 Aug 1998 Jerry Jams for Rex Phish
     1999 Terrapin Joe Gallant & Illuminati
     2000 Here Come The Noisemakers Bruce Hornsby (5)
     2001 Solo Acoustic David Gans
     2001 Great Sky River Jazz Is Dead
     15 Sep 2002 Live At The Powerhouse David Gans (DVD only)
     11 Jul 2002 Live: Salt Lake City, UT Bruce Hornsby (5) (9)
     2003 Solo Acoustic David Gans
     2003 Thunder And Lightnin' Dark Star Orchestra
     11 Jun 2005 Live: Bonaroo Music Festival, Manchester, TN Gov't Mule (9)
     2006 Release The Medicine Sylvia Bagge
     2006 Piano Impressions Lore Constantine
     2007 Blue Light Cheap Hotel Wake The Dead (5)
     2008 Ithica 30 Years Later Dark Star Orchestra
     25 Jul 2009 Jerry Jams For Rex Bruce Hornsby (5)
      4 Sep 2010 House Concert, Club Meg, Missoula, MT David Gans (9)
     2011 Blottopia XII Day 1 Mr Blotto
     10 Mar 2012 Live: San Francisco, CA Railroad Earth (9)
     2013 Keys Keller Willams
     2013 Harpin' On The Dead Anela Lauren
     2013 Move Me Brightly Bob Weir et al (DVD)
     17 Apr 2015 Live: Morrison, CO Disco Biscuits
     27 Jun 2012 On The Road: Rothbury, MI String Cheese Incident (9)
     2015 It's A Hand-Me-Down David Gans
     2015 Songs Of Their Own Dead Set
     2016 Songs To Fill The Air (WFMU Pledge Drive) Anthony Pasquarosa (5)
     2016 Day Of The Dead Daniel Rosen, Christopher Bear and the National
     2016 Better Left Unsung Holly Bowling
     2019 Sabertooth Plays Dead Sabertooth
     2021 Alive And Grateful Bert Keely and Friends
     2021 Jerry's Smilin': Guitar Tribute To The Grateful Dead Damià Timoner
     Jun 2021 Live In Colorado Vol 2 Bobby Weir & Wolf Bros
(1) for almost all these recordings, the CD lists only "Terrapin Station" but this includes "Lady With A Fan"
(2) also on the compilations The Arista Years and The Best Of The Grateful Dead.
(3) Dick's Picks 3 does not include a version of Lady With a Fan--Wharf Rat segues directly into Terrapin Station
(4) Bruce Hornsby's recording of "I Know You Rider" on Furthur More begins with a brief instrumental version of "Lady With A Fan"
(5) does not include "Terrapin Station"
(6) also released on Road Trips Full Show: Spectrum 11/6/79
(7) also in the May 1977 Box Set
(8) also made available for download on 30 Days Of The Dead (2020)
(9) The list above includes only one illustrative example of the series of live recordings by these bands. For a full list see the Grateful Dead Family Discography.

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
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


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