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10.34-MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON (Grateful Dead)

Grateful Dead
At Home in Haight Ashbury

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[Intro]

Cold mountain water, the jade merchant's daughter
Mountains of the moon, Electra, bow and bend to me.
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle.
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me.

     Hey, Tom Banjo
     Hey, a laurel
     More than laurel you may sow.
     More than laurel you may sow.
     Hey, the laurel, hey, the city in the rain
     Hey, hey, hey, the wild wheat waving in the wind.

Twenty degrees of solitude, twenty degrees in all.
All the dancing kings and wives assembled in the hall.
Lost is the long and loneliest time, fairy Sybil flying
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon.

     Hey, Tom Banjo
     It's time to matter.
     The earth will see you on through this time.
     The earth will see you on through this time.
     Down by the water, the marsh king's daughter, did you know?
     Clothed in tatters, always will be, Tom where did you go?

Mountains of the moon, Electra, mountains of the moon
All along the, all along the mountains of the moon.
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, folderol-de-riddle.
Hi-ho, the carrion crow, bow and bend to me.

Bend to me…

[Coda]


Mountains of the Moon is another piece of Baroque-influenced psychedelic music, and is often considered in critical writing as a companion of Rosemary. It too finds its musical structure in old English folk tunes. Though driven by Garcia’s finger picking on acoustic guitar, the song also features Tom Constanten on one of the last uses of harpsichord in a classic psychedelic manner. The 1969 studio mix, available on YouTube as of this writing, features eerie and ethereal vocal harmonies in the background which were removed in the 1971 re-issue of the album.

Robert Hunter's lyrics are somewhat confusing. Some listeners think the Mountains of the Moon refer to the Ruwenzori Mountains, thought in ancient history to be the source of the River Nile, bordering Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It appears there was a real person with the stage name “Tom Banjo” (Tom Azarian) who was part of the Springfield Massachusetts folk scene in the early 1960s, when it was possible that Hunter may have known him, before Azarian “disappeared” to live a rural life near Burlington Vermont with his family. “Carrion crow” is an image drawn from a late 18th century folk song, and “folderol-de-riddle” is said to have derived from a Mother Goose story. It’s a montage of images that seem senseless to form relationships between, but altogether support the madrigal mood of the music with a minimum use of clichés.

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