*9.09-BORN CROSS EYED (Grateful Dead)

Grateful Dead


Seems like I've been here before,
Fuzzy then and still so obscure (goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye)
And I don't want to see anybody cry,
Meet me some morning in the sweet bye and bye, bye and bye, bye and bye.

Song coming on,
So pleasing to see, come and gone (goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye)
You don't have to tell me why,
Meet me some morning in the sweet bye and bye, bye and bye, bye and bye.

     It ain't cause I'm the only one left darling,
     ‘Bout the time the sun rises west,
     Feeling groovy, looking fine.

     Think I'll come back here again,
     Every now and then from time to time.


My how lovely you are, my dear,
The ball game has gone much too far my dear.

Sing to me, do your thing to me,
(Hop along honey, come along)
I'll meet you some morning, meet you some morning,
In the sweet bye and bye, bye and bye, bye and bye.

Anthem of the Sun is an album of unwieldy experimentation, and to my ear, much of it is unlistenable. Live tracks are superimposed on studio tracks; in Born Cross-Eyed there are times that there are so many voices singing different things from different versions that the listener can’t be sure of the lyrics. George Starostin in his blog Only Solitaire compared it with After Bathing at Baxter’s by the Jefferson Airplane: “It's the second album I've heard that can definitely be enjoyed only while you're tripping. Sometimes it sounds as if they recorded one piece of the 'song' on one hand-held tape recorder, another one on another, and then spliced them together by playing these two at the same time and holding a third one ten feet away.” (I feel much more kindly than Starostin about After Bathing at Baxter’s, but agree on his assessment of Anthem of the Sun.) Joe Smith, president of Warner Brothers at the time of the album’s recording, was reported as calling Anthem of the Sun "the most unreasonable project with which we have ever involved ourselves” [Jake Woodward, Grateful Dead: The Illustrated Trip 2003, p. 83]. According to the same source, Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist for the Grateful Dead said of the album: “We weren't making a record in the normal sense; we were making a collage.”

Despite the clamor of Born Cross-Eyed, however, and the near formlessness of the verses, I find the initial delivery (a slash of guitar followed by tumbling drums) powerful enough to pull me along the roller coaster ride of sounds. (Where did that trumpet come from in the break?) I don’t quite get the connection between the interesting title and the lyrics of the song. Maybe the title is to emphasize the “unfocused” or double-image tracking of the music. The verses seem to be about possibility of having a repeat sexual engagement with a partner who made the poet happy.