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morticia



Joined: 08 Jan 2009
Posts: 289

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject: Let my inspiration flow ... Reply with quote

    in token lines suggesting rhythm
    that will not forsake me
    till my tale is told and done

Was there ever such an opening line that invited one in and promised so much, with very broad hints of mystery ?

I have only recently come to really appreciate this song since hearing the excellent version from the 1979/12/28 Oakland Auditorium show.
Up until then I did not appreciate the finer points of both the musical and lyrical content.

Even before that breathtaking opening line has come in, the 'Lady With A Fan' section has just seemed melt in from nowhere. It has a lovely syncopated section (putting accents where they don't usually go - literally staggering from bar to bar) in 4/4 time.
Alternate verses have a very nice 4 bar 3/4 (waltz) time interlude between them.

The opening line is a reference to the Muses: In Greek mythology, they were a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits who embody the arts and inspire the creative process. They have endured through Neo-classical and Renaissance art, also through literature from Homer through to Chaucer and Robert Graves. The muses are typically invoked at the start of an epic poem or prose.

How cosmopolitan and rooted in a diverse and eclectic range of influences Robert Hunter's lyrics are.
His vision and scope extends well beyond the much discussed "essence of America".

    While the firelight's aglow
    strange shadows in the flames will grow
    till things we've never seen
    will seem familia
    r

For me this invokes many strong and vivid childhood memories of looking into a coal fire. How often have we gazed into a coal or wood fire and and let our imagination form shapes, sequences, characters, imaginary friends or moving pictures in the flames ?

Robert Hunter begins to sketch out the players in our story:
a sailor who "down in Carlisle he loved a lady many years ago"
A soldier who "came through many fights but lost at love".
Here we have two characters with directly opposite experiences of love.

The story now becomes positively surreal:

    a door within the fire creaks
    suddenly flies open
    and a girl is standing there

Could this possibly a reference to Aldous Huxley's 'The Doors Of Perception' or Lewis Carrol's 'Alice In Wonderland' ?
I have a very strong visualisation of a girl in a flowing dress, her hair in ringlets; rather like a model in a pre-raphaelite painting -


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but, of course she has a fan.

    She takes her fan and throws it in the lion's den

    Which of you to gain me tell, will risk uncertain pains of Hell?

I find that I come back once again to one of Robert Hunter's recurring themes; death. Is the girl asking 'Will you give up your life for me' ?

    The sailor gave at least a try, the soldier being much too wise

    The sailor coming out again
    the lady fairly lept at him
    that's how it stands today
    you decide if he was wise

Is is better to risk death in the pursuit of love than to play it safe and be wise ?

    The storyteller makes no choice

We of course never find out. Does it matter ?
Every one of us will follow our own instincts and in the end there is no difference.

The whole feel of the song changes for the 'Terrapin Station' section. The music becomes more strident with more of a 'rock' feel.
Once again the muse is invoked by the beautiful and spiritually uplifting lines -

    Inspiration, move me brightly
    light the song with sense and colour

We are then introduced to Terrapin Station:

    statements just seem vain at last
    some rise, some fall, some climb
    to get to Terrapin

Does this refer to dying or to moving to another level of understanding or enlightenment ?

    From the northwest corner
    of a brand-new crescent moon
    crickets and cicadas sing
    a rare and different tune

To me, these lines just sum up the whole Taoist concept of the wonder of the flow of life and nature.

    Terrapin - I can't figure out
    Terrapin - if it's an end or the beginning

Is it about life and death or is it telling of a renaissance ?

This is a truly, truly epic song.
One day I will understand its true meaning, on the other hand probably not.

* Apologies to anyone who remembers me posting this at Deadhook a while ago. I thought it was worth another post here Smile
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you like this one... do me a favor, and listen to two from 93...
9/13/93 for excellent execution and 6/23/93 for the most amazing post Terrapin jam out there.

3/15/90 is also a HUGE winner.

Nice breakdown of the song. I don't mind at all if you post something from another forum here.
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deadheaddave



Joined: 28 Dec 2008
Posts: 63
Location: KY

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just love this song an yes 12/28/79 is a great version, I love the way you broke the song down into part's, telliing what it means to you, but really that song could mean so much an so many things.
I once saw a giant lion''' one night while tripping'' an he was standing by a big gate an told me i couldn't go no further, Now I don't really no what he meant by that but it's something I'll keep with me the rest of my life, an evertime i listen to that song i look around for that lion,,,, Im afraid someday he'll let me in.
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fillmoreeast



Joined: 08 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"

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Last edited by fillmoreeast on Fri Feb 27, 2009 11:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sugarmag



Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 481

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Let my inspiration flow ... Reply with quote

morticia wrote:
    in token lines suggesting rhythm
    that will not forsake me
    till my tale is told and done

Was there ever such an opening line that invited one in and promised so much, with very broad hints of mystery ?

I have only recently come to really appreciate this song since hearing the excellent version from the 1979/12/28 Oakland Auditorium show.
Up until then I did not appreciate the finer points of both the musical and lyrical content.

Even before that breathtaking opening line has come in, the 'Lady With A Fan' section has just seemed melt in from nowhere. It has a lovely syncopated section (putting accents where they don't usually go - literally staggering from bar to bar) in 4/4 time.
Alternate verses have a very nice 4 bar 3/4 (waltz) time interlude between them.

The opening line is a reference to the Muses: In Greek mythology, they were a sisterhood of goddesses or spirits who embody the arts and inspire the creative process. They have endured through Neo-classical and Renaissance art, also through literature from Homer through to Chaucer and Robert Graves. The muses are typically invoked at the start of an epic poem or prose.

How cosmopolitan and rooted in a diverse and eclectic range of influences Robert Hunter's lyrics are.
His vision and scope extends well beyond the much discussed "essence of America".

    While the firelight's aglow
    strange shadows in the flames will grow
    till things we've never seen
    will seem familia
    r

For me this invokes many strong and vivid childhood memories of looking into a coal fire. How often have we gazed into a coal or wood fire and and let our imagination form shapes, sequences, characters, imaginary friends or moving pictures in the flames ?

Robert Hunter begins to sketch out the players in our story:
a sailor who "down in Carlisle he loved a lady many years ago"
A soldier who "came through many fights but lost at love".
Here we have two characters with directly opposite experiences of love.

The story now becomes positively surreal:

    a door within the fire creaks
    suddenly flies open
    and a girl is standing there

Could this possibly a reference to Aldous Huxley's 'The Doors Of Perception' or Lewis Carrol's 'Alice In Wonderland' ?
I have a very strong visualisation of a girl in a flowing dress, her hair in ringlets; rather like a model in a pre-raphaelite painting -


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but, of course she has a fan.

    She takes her fan and throws it in the lion's den

    Which of you to gain me tell, will risk uncertain pains of Hell?

I find that I come back once again to one of Robert Hunter's recurring themes; death. Is the girl asking 'Will you give up your life for me' ?

    The sailor gave at least a try, the soldier being much too wise

    The sailor coming out again
    the lady fairly lept at him
    that's how it stands today
    you decide if he was wise

Is is better to risk death in the pursuit of love than to play it safe and be wise ?

    The storyteller makes no choice

We of course never find out. Does it matter ?
Every one of us will follow our own instincts and in the end there is no difference.

The whole feel of the song changes for the 'Terrapin Station' section. The music becomes more strident with more of a 'rock' feel.
Once again the muse is invoked by the beautiful and spiritually uplifting lines -

    Inspiration, move me brightly
    light the song with sense and colour

We are then introduced to Terrapin Station:

    statements just seem vain at last
    some rise, some fall, some climb
    to get to Terrapin

Does this refer to dying or to moving to another level of understanding or enlightenment ?

    From the northwest corner
    of a brand-new crescent moon
    crickets and cicadas sing
    a rare and different tune

To me, these lines just sum up the whole Taoist concept of the wonder of the flow of life and nature.

    Terrapin - I can't figure out
    Terrapin - if it's an end or the beginning

Is it about life and death or is it telling of a renaissance ?

This is a truly, truly epic song.
One day I will understand its true meaning, on the other hand probably not.

* Apologies to anyone who remembers me posting this at Deadhook a while ago. I thought it was worth another post here Smile


I really enjoyed reading this, Stephanie. Terrapin is truly epic, I love the story, love the way Robert Hunter tells it. It's so funny how I so often think I know the lyrics to songs and then find that I misunderstood. I thought that the second line of Terrapin was "Tolkien" lines, a reference to J. R. R. Tolkien. I know about the muses but did not make that connection here. Not a major difference, but interesting LOL!
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Kochman
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Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 10252
Location: Davy Jones' Locker

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

deadheaddave wrote:
I love the way you broke the song down into part's, telliing what it means to you, but really that song could mean so much an so many things.


The very definition of art.
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dogstarz
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.
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Zephyr
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Joined: 07 Jul 2008
Posts: 917
Location: Under the sea, dressed in green.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 04, 2010 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was there ever an era in which Terrapin was played too often? Did it make concert-goers feel like they had been "chewed to bits by giant turtles"? Did it lead to "Belly Up Dead"? Is the girl in this picture the same one who was in the fire "Eyes alight, with glowing hair"? Is the man in the picture Koch? What ARE his "Masculine Inadequacies"? Can we get some too? I thought the soldier was much too much of a fucking wiseguy.

What happened to Morticia? IS THIS MORTICIA???


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Kochman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always knew turtles were bad news.
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Duderino



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
Posts: 3031
Location: Baltimore

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FEAR THE TURTLE-head!

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cheesebeer



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
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Location: maggies farm

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dogstarz wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.

I pretty much agree with this assessment.
Terrapin is like Fool in the Rain by Zeppelin or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in a way that they are studio creations that can't be really recreated the way it was done in the studio, and I really dig the album version in all its studio glory. At A Siding is as good as any of their train songs.
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tizi



Joined: 07 Apr 2010
Posts: 985
Location: Lost somewhere in the Northen Adriatic

PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheesebeer wrote:
dogstarz wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.

I pretty much agree with this assessment.
Terrapin is like Fool in the Rain by Zeppelin or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in a way that they are studio creations that can't be really recreated the way it was done in the studio, and I really dig the album version in all its studio glory. At A Siding is as good as any of their train songs.


Never heard the studio version Very Happy as I followed the ortodox Dedhead phliosophy of ignoring the studio albums. So, I am writting in my notebook " ... and listen to the studio Terrapin album". That list is so long ..............

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Zephyr
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 06, 2010 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tizi wrote:
cheesebeer wrote:
dogstarz wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.

I pretty much agree with this assessment.
Terrapin is like Fool in the Rain by Zeppelin or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in a way that they are studio creations that can't be really recreated the way it was done in the studio, and I really dig the album version in all its studio glory. At A Siding is as good as any of their train songs.


Never heard the studio version Very Happy as I followed the ortodox Dedhead phliosophy of ignoring the studio albums. So, I am writting in my notebook " ... and listen to the studio Terrapin album". That list is so long ..............


You'll love it. Highlights on side 1: Good Love and Estimated.

The side 2 Terrapin suite is awesome. It has many incredible highlights plus a laughably absurd finale. It combines their finest and worst studio moments in one gigantic dollop.

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tizi



Joined: 07 Apr 2010
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zephyr wrote:
tizi wrote:
cheesebeer wrote:
dogstarz wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.

I pretty much agree with this assessment.
Terrapin is like Fool in the Rain by Zeppelin or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in a way that they are studio creations that can't be really recreated the way it was done in the studio, and I really dig the album version in all its studio glory. At A Siding is as good as any of their train songs.


Never heard the studio version Very Happy as I followed the ortodox Dedhead phliosophy of ignoring the studio albums. So, I am writting in my notebook " ... and listen to the studio Terrapin album". That list is so long ..............


You'll love it. Highlights on side 1: Good Love and Estimated.

The side 2 Terrapin suite is awesome. It has many incredible highlights plus a laughably absurd finale. It combines their finest and worst studio moments in one gigantic dollop.


I'll check it out .... definetly! Thanks!

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Duderino



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tizi wrote:
Zephyr wrote:
tizi wrote:
cheesebeer wrote:
dogstarz wrote:
fillmoreeast wrote:
Beautiful interpretation of a beautiful piece of music. Call me crazy but I enjoy the studio version probably more than the live one's. Actually I think there are a number of tunes that were better in the studio than live. Box of Rain, Crazy Fingers The Wheel to name a few. "Don't murder me!"


I understand where you are coming from. Terrapin always great live, but never as epic as the choir or orchestra parts. The studio version has an intense depth that got lost live.

I enjoy listening to most of the studio albums as much as a live performance. The ground works laid on those albums (even if the song was road tested) are very interesting.

I pretty much agree with this assessment.


Terrapin is like Fool in the Rain by Zeppelin or Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen in a way that they are studio creations that can't be really recreated the way it was done in the studio, and I really dig the album version in all its studio glory. At A Siding is as good as any of their train songs.


Never heard the studio version Very Happy as I followed the ortodox Dedhead phliosophy of ignoring the studio albums. So, I am writting in my notebook " ... and listen to the studio Terrapin album". That list is so long ..............


You'll love it. Highlights on side 1: Good Love and Estimated.

The side 2 Terrapin suite is awesome. It has many incredible highlights plus a laughably absurd finale. It combines their finest and worst studio moments in one gigantic dollop.


I'll check it out .... definetly! Thanks!

" Edit :Good Lovin is on Shakedown Street - I think you mean Samson & Delilah?
Terrapin Station is an interesting album. A bit overproduced, but some great songs and performances. Passenger sounds awesome, and the Terrapin Flyer section is really cool.
Tizi - After you listen to the studio version, check out 3/18/77 Terrapin - the only time they did the exotic part after the main Terrapin outro.

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Zephyr
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duderino wrote:
" Edit :Good Lovin is on Shakedown Street - I think you mean Samson & Delilah?


Thanks for the correction. To paraphrase Bob (and to quote from a show played TODAY 29 years ago): My memory is better than I have any right to expect it to be, but still not all that good. Laughing

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tdm841



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a huge Terrapin fan, and have always been. Some time ago I discovered this snippet while cruising about David Dodd's annotated lyrics site, Written by Robert Hunter no less. Kind of gave an insight into the mind of the creative soul in the aftermath of 9/11.

Hold Away Despair

Hunter's new journal of September 24, 2001, contains this entry:

Later:

After dark fell, I sat alone on the roof, fifteen stories high, of a building in Soho commanding a panoramic and unobstructed view of the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan and the lights of the bridges. I had my guitar in hand and felt moved to sing "Terrapin Station" to the City. While I sang, rain began falling - I stood and edged around to the other side of the roof, still singing, to the corner of the roof facing the World Trade Center, some fifteen blocks away, where the sky is bright with floodlight illuminating the work of the excavation crew. A great plume of smoke continues to rise from the site of the devastation. As I sang, a powerful wind blew up very suddenly - wind so strong it threatened to rip my guitar out of my hands - reminding me of the storm in which I first composed the words I now sang. I wondered if I was involved in some kind of sacrilege, singing like this in the face of all that had gone down - the wind roaring increasingly louder and stronger, as though filled with spirits, as though trying to blow me over, make me stop. I kept singing until the end, repeating the "hold away despair," expressing all the sorrow I felt for the lost loved ones and for the healing of this magnificent and resilient City. I hope it helped. Helped me, anyway.
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Kochman
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a very interesting story...
I would like to sit down and drink a coffee with this guy... of anyone other than Jerry, he would probably be the one.
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tizi



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 2010 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes very moving .... the scene is apocalyptic! But in my imagination the song had to be "So many Roads" ... the last part of Jerry repeating the lyrics on and on .... I have chills ....

Thanks for this little story ... this kind of situations happen just a couple of times in a lifetime, you know when you are in a kind of a mood and something happens which makes you feel that you are connected with the stars the nature and so on ...... Cool

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