The Stranger (Two Souls in Communion)

Lyrics: Ron McKernan
Music: Ron McKernan

Played by the Grateful Dead a dozen times in 1972, with Pigpen singing the lead vocals. Until recently, it wasn't entirely clear whether or not this was a Pigpen original, or what the title was - most setlists had the title as just "Two Souls In Communion". But when it was first released on a Grateful Dead album (as one of the bonus tracks on "Europe '72" on the box set The Golden Road (1965-1972)), the title was given as "The Stranger," with Pigpen confirmed as the author .

It is also mentioned in the liner notes for So Many Roads:

In Europe [Pigpen] gave his all, and even introduced a pair of tunes he'd written - the jaunty "Chinatown Shuffle" ... and the gospel-tinged "Two Souls In Communion"
What are they seeing, when they look in each other's eyes?
What are they feeling, when they see each other's smile?
Is it a love I've never known - or an emotion that I've outgrown?

Did I take a wrong turning on life's winding road?
Won't somebody help me find the right way to go?
My life need some correction, alteration in direction
Won't somebody comfort me for a while - yes, I'm lost

What is the secret of this tie that binds?
Two souls in communion, both body and mind
Is it special magic, or just the nature of things?
Conceived of great spirit, not for beggars but kings

You who have found it, please help me along
I'm a man, I'm a man, - I'm not made out of stone
My needs they are simple, I don't want many things,
But I truly want to fly on those wings of love one more time.

That's all I need (fly up, fly home)
I want to fly on them wings (fly up, fly home)
I want to fly on them wings of love (fly up, fly home)
I'm a stranger here (fly up, fly home)
Won't somebody help me now (fly up, fly home)
I wake up early in the morning (fly up, fly home)
you know I never saw you babe (fly up, fly home)
I just can't seem to understand
Can't seem to understand what's wrong (fly up, fly home)
What I wanna do is take a little ride with you, on the wings of love
Woh-oh one more time, one more time.
Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     26 Mar 1972 Dave's Picks Vol 14
     28 Mar 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 30
     26 Apr 1972 Europe '72 (note 1) (note 2)
      4 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     10 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     11 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     23 May 1972 Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (note 2)
     24 May 1972 Rockin' The Rhein (note 2)
     26 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings

(1) included as a bonus track on remastered album, first released as part of the box set The Golden Road (1965-1973)
(2) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings

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 online chords and TAB see


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