Maybe the single best disc GDP has ever released. Picks, Dead "St. Stephen" is a song by the Grateful Dead, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter and originally released on the 1969 studio album Aoxomoxoa. An 1833 hymn, “Saint Stephen Was a Holy Man” (credited to “traditional”) contains this verse, bringing to mind the line: “Wherever he goes, the people all complain: But when they heard him so to say,    The same year, a live version of the song was released on Live/Dead , their first concert album. That subscription is starting to pay off! And in my mind, it’s one of those Hunter lyrics that shows how wide open the lyrics can be, even with very specific imagery. BTW, to go a little off track, I was at the Boston Music Hall on 6/9/76 when the Dead opened the second set of [essentially] the first post-hiatus tour with St. Stephen, and boy, I can still feel the thrill. Discuss, vote on, and listen to the best versions of St. Stephen by Grateful Dead . Maybe he's an Astrophysicist in your box, or a Discussion Group Leader,...or maybe Steven Stills who described Jesus Christ was a Non-Violent Revolutionary. The Dead opened their 1969 Woodstock performance with "St. I forget how this happened exactly, but somehow I found myself in the arena lobby during soundcheck. The following songs were performed by the Grateful Dead either during shows or at soundchecks or rehearsals. The lyric insert is a work of high art and caligraphy. Enjoy! But, I prefer the early versions, the pre 1971 versions best. First St. Stephen in 5 years and what's most remarkable about this show is the crowd reaction upon hearing those opening notes. An interview in Relix magazine contained this exchange: Relix: Was Saint Stephen anyone specific? Every Dark Star (Grateful Dead) ... Unreal segue to St Stephen, so fluid. Saint Stephen, The Eleven, and Dark Star. 4:48. I can't believe how many times Bob Weir screwed up the "St. Stephen will remain" verse during shows in 1971. Examples include 4/28/71 Fillmore East and 4/7/71 Boston Music Hall (where Bobby's error almost causes the song to come to a complete halt).... 4/8/71 Boston as well!! Good stuff. :))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))).  After being played frequently in live concerts from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, the song fell out of regular performance. Notably, it was captured and released on Live Dead, as part of a blockbuster suite including “Dark Star,” “The Eleven,” and “Lovelight.” In that performance, the coda (included in italics in Hunter’s Box of Rain lyrics anthology as part of “Saint Stephen”) provided a bridge between “Saint Stephen” and “The Eleven”: “High green chilly winds and windy vines in loops….”. By the time "St. Stephen" made its first appearance on a studio album, leading off Aoxomoxoa in June 1969, the song had been in the Grateful Dead's concert repertoire for at least a full year. Complete Dead & Company info, including tour dates, setlists, and songs; also a comprehensive Furthur, The Other Ones, and The Dead archive I'll be the first to admit that I can't possibly understand their songs better than someone who's been listening to them and enjoying them for decades, but isn't it possible that Hunter was having one on us when he insisted that "Saint Stephen" was about Saint Stephen? St. Stephen has remained with me - in my ringtone. Kinda cold, I know, but right to the point. Stephen” is a song by the Grateful Dead, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter and originally released on the 1969 studio album Aoxomoxoa. From the first time I heard the song, I thought, "Oh, that's cool. knowing EXACTLY what they mean with the "lady finger" lineshearing it in the GD movie one time that sounded like a giant, rolling around His feast day is celebrated on December 26. Live-Dead became the powerhouse of John Coltrane style extended improvisation and jamming. The elevator at my workplace plays the first two notes of St. Stephen-- the first two notes you hear following the silence at the end of Dark Star, that tell you to settle in for a bit because, hell yes, they're going to play Saint F'ing Stephen--when it arrives on my floor to take me home at the end the day. stephen definitely didn't have the answer, and the great irony is the answer man doesn't have it either. He persistently sang "Did he doubt or did he try..." while Garcia sang the correct verse. Grateful Dead's Concert History. It was a chestnut from the mystical past of the Dead back then, and it's still one of their most precious songs! Nope, it’s about the Christian martyr. Fast forward six months later I bought Live-Dead at the same time as buying my first Dead tickets (Fillmore East 1/2/70). Lin in Bangor. It's a really "bouncy" version... Love the whole show in general! St. Stephen was the song that combined images of ivy wrapped around the manzinita like a Celtic knot. He asks and asks - "But where is the Ambiguity??? That disc doesn't contain a St. Stephen, so I apologize for getting off topic... Like Stephen's Rose, this song has delicate and subtle twists of imagery and meaning that unfold and touch upon one another and even other flowers from other songs and other stories. I can't possibly be the first person who's thought of this. Things they didn't even want to see. the imagery of the earth being our "home," being temporary, is expounded by the sea shore and dawn rising. I got my copy of that signed by Hunter when he played the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis in 1977 or 1978. Start to finish, it's gotta be the best single disc ever. 89% Upvoted. And I've always felt it was a "worrying" song. Love it! More, Recreation & To me this has always been one of the deepest, most basic Dead songs. Blair Jackson, in Grateful Dead: the Music Never Stopped, says: "AOXOMOXOA's most famous song, perhaps because it translated so beautifully to the group's live repertoire, is `St. Stephen,' a cryptic rocker (again with an unusual, irregular cadence, almost a combination of waltz and march rhythms in a rock motif) about a character who embodies the confusion of the period. It was then played regularly through to late Summer 1971. $30, $30 - The first documented performance, according to DeadBase X, took place on May 24, 1968, at the National Guard Armory (shades of “One More Saturday Night”!) A Lady Finger is also a banana variety, fairly common in Australia. I didn't know who the real St Stephen was until I wrote it. I often regret failing to ask Jerry for an autograph on that same LP insert. hide. The insert in Live Dead contains the lyrics for sides one and two of that double album, i.e. Here’s where the song’s own garden appears—appropriately, since our saint is going in and out of said garden holding a rose. Played only during ... elegant form after the band’s 1976 return, “St. Dead frontman Jerry Garcia later said he was disappointed and frustrated with their set. It definitely seems to be saying oodles. Saint Stephen had such an experience. And then, where does that speeding arrow come from? It all melts into a dream. Meanwhile ; as I attempt to compose my thoughts; I find I have an annoying Muse on my shoulder who looks curiously like Eric Idle. That was a great song to write. Ultimately we must consider "what would be the answer to the answer man?" (Although, I almost hesitate to point out, some of us may visualize the “lady finger” as a lady’s finger, some of us as a celestial pastry…). The band is known for its eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, country, jazz, bluegrass, blues, gospel, and psychedelic rock; for live performances of lengthy instrumental jams; and for its devoted fan base, known as "Deadheads." A final connection to note here, although I am certain there are many more. Unanswered questions run through the song, and not even this giant of early Christian history knows how to answer the first ones posed: “Did it matter? Vines, lavender, ivy, and manzanita…plenty of plants for your Grateful Dead garden, all languishing for lack of water in the barren landscape. Canyon Road,Santa Fe,New Mexico is where Hunter wrote St. Stephen along with other gems like China Cat. Games, Furniture & "Wishing well with a golden bell, bucket hanging clear to hell, Hell halfway twixt now and then, Stephen fill it up and lower down and lower down again." 7" Singles Inspiration hits. & Company, Under an attempt by man to grasp something that we hope helps us explain our existence. On page 175 of Paul Grushkin's Book of the Deadheads, a drawing by an unknown artist called "And They Played St. The Grateful Dead began their career as The Warlocks, a group formed in early 1965 from the remnants of a Palo Alto, California jug band called Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. You also often wonder where in the world they really come from, whether purely from your imagination or from somewhere else. I have seen it played by The Other Ones, The Dead, and Furthur multiple times. Love the St. Stephen from this show. Closest I ever came to hearing that song live. Follow. 1977, 50th Even today whenever I am listening the the closing sequence of any version of Dark Star I feel empty if St. Stephen doesn't materialize. Then someone like Stephen comes along and blows the lid off of our personal little Boxes of Rain. He was the first deacon ordained by the apostles, one of seven deacons. "St. Stephen" is a song by the Grateful Dead, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter and originally released on the 1969 studio album Aoxomoxoa. The most powerful live performance of St. Stephen I ever saw was 4th row center at the Fillmore East 9/19/70. Classic editor History Talk (0) Share. Last of four featuring the complete unreleased soundboard recording of 6/12/80 in Portland. save. Their hearts in sunder clave, Grateful Dead - "The Wheel" (Final Time Performed) (Seattle, 5/25/95) Whimperexcluded. (thanks to Brian Schnapp for this). View concert statistics of Dark Star by Grateful Dead played live. Always have, always will :). And who is that babe being wrapped in scarlet, like some character in an ancient ballad? The sheer unlikelihood of a song about an early Christian martyr as rock anthem makes “Saint Stephen” a wonderful and intriguing and endlessly fascinating piece, both lyrically and in its many musical variants over the years. stephen was twixt now and then like we are now, and since then, seems to have regained a whole lot. (It was held at a location out by the Great Highway. In my box he's the character from the Bible. $100, Saint Stephen will remain All he's lost he shall regain, my memory (again, HAHAHA) says Santa Barbara in 69, many interesting recollections of this song, "The wheelchair's turnin' and it can't slow down...". Who knows? Following a near five year absence the song returned to the live repertoire in June 1976 and was played regularly through that year and 1977. Ok.. And can’t you just see darkness shrugging, turning, and bidding the day goodbye? Does it now?”, The Relix interviewer was very likely probing Hunter to see if he would say anything about the speculations over the years that the song was really about Stephen Gaskin, the Haight Ashbury spiritual leader who eventually founded The Farm, and who led a well-attended discussion group during the heyday of the Haight. A User’s Guide to the Grateful Dead. I don't know what to say about this song, except that it was very important to me. Garcia, 1988: “When we stopped doing ‘St. Or maybe just the intro? Lyrics No more time to tell how This is the season of what now Now is the time of returning Our thought jewels polished and gleaming Now is the time past believing The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. Where all we've lost we shall regain. And although I haven't seen it, I'll bet Dead … I first listened to St.Stephen in late June of 1969 just after the release of AoxomoxoA. The song has remained very much alive in the repertoire of the various post-Grateful Dead bands, and it’s always wonderful to hear, and especially to hear the big crowd reactions to certain lines and the roaring out of others in a huge chorus. I didn't know who the real Saint Stephen was until I wrote it. so exciting when I hear your velvet thunder. question scrawled across it. I sent him the lyrics in a letter a few years ago to see if he might find them interesting. That there, without the city-walls, The Dark Star is phenomenal. So, just a tiny personal nugget on this one, inspired by Double D's reference to the insert in the Live Dead LP (a large format sheet with playful Celtic filigree borders and lyrics to St Stephen and, if I recall correctly, also The Eleven). JSegel, Oct 22, 2020 #582. About St. Stephen "St. Stephen" is a song by the Grateful Dead, written by Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh and Robert Hunter and originally released on the 1969 studio album Aoxomoxoa. THE quintessential GD song - IMO of course. Hunter: Yea. Stephen is pacing back and forth, going in and out of the garden, like he's got a big question on his mind, perhaps the question the Lady's finger writes in the sky. This recording captures very well the WAVE that swept thru MSG when they busted out the Stephen. The time things begin to unravel late 77 into early 78 they have to drop it. They ston'd this holy man. St. Stephen was the song that combined images of ivy wrapped around the manzinita like a Celtic knot. In a way I see him much like Ken Kesy and the Merry Pranksters. And then they all so sharp and shrill, in St. Louis. you can't ignore the christian imagery when the song is named st. stephen. Lyrics By ... Country garland in the wind and the rain Wherever he goes the people all complain Stephen prosper in his time Well he may, and he may decline Did it matter, does it now? I don't mean to say the song has a simple meaning for me, but wanted to point out a possible narrative and my feeling that it's a song about fateful decisions. Anyone who writes songs, or studies poetry or lyrics, knows it can be years before some true or timely relevant meanings contained within the words reveal themselves - usually in fragments - and as with a lot of Grateful Dead songs, this one is certainly no exception. Every Time Played. ... then why do they play it so often since he's gone? As a result, I leave work every day with the song playing in my head. You scribble it down as fast as it comes, work out the chords, screw around with the words for what seems like forever and there you have it. I'm sure you've noticed in your own way how the Grateful Dead Music has a way of pulling back the curtains and revealing the unseen Spiritual realm...full of winds both foul and fair... To go even more off track, I saw DSO cover that 6/9/76 show in Boston a couple of years ago, about 50 yards from the old building where the boys played. Grateful Dead Identifier GratefulDead Mediatype collection Num_top_ba 10 Numeric_id 3 Publicdate 2004-03-27 12:49:52 Publisher Internet Archive etree.org Show_related_music_by_track true Subject grateful dead, jam, rock, jerry garcia Title Grateful Dead Title_message Free Music And it'll be ok, been here (in a state of indecision/angst) so long he's got to calling it home. But it wouldn't surprise me if he did it more than once. Deadheads, what do you think? Of course, the imagery the song gets across is more or less branded into the cerebral cortices of Deadheads everywhere, and we see this saint with his rose going in and out of the garden, and we see the wishing well, and the golden bell, and the ladyfinger writing “what for?” across the morning sky. They didn't play it that night, but two nights later broke it out in NYC. Unable to process your request at this time. What's it all mean? Meanwhile we find ourselves "half way twixt now and then." The question ("What for?") I still love the song, the tune as much as I did when I first heard Live Dead. RiRiIII, adamos, marmalade166 and 2 others like this. Stephen." Whoever you see Stephen as; I trust you see him as a Bone-Fide Radical! The very determined declamation of “Saint Stephen will remain, all he’s lost he shall regain” is followed by a verse that ends with an answer to a question that is then questioned itself: “But what would be the answer to the answer man?”. St. Stephen Lyrics: Saint Stephen with a rose / In and out of the garden he goes / Country garland in the wind and the rain / Wherever he goes, the people all complain / Stephen prospered in his time That same LP insert everyone up to see the Golden Bell on the Dead ’ s 1976,... The stars above, explosive joy rules the day answers aplenty in the bye and bye '' appreciation of music. 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