Don't Ease Me In

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

One side of the Grateful Dead's first single, released in 1966. Played live right through to 1995, with some variations. Not played by any other Dead-related bands until Ratdog in 2006.

This is the 1980 studio version from "Go To Heaven"
:

Chorus
Don't ease, don't ease
Don't ease me in
I've been all night long coming home
Don't ease me in

I was standing at the corner
Talking to Miss Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
She was way cross town

So I'm walking down the street
With a dollar in my hand
I've been looking for a woman, sweet moma
Ain't got no man

[chorus]

The girl I love
She's sweet and true
You know the dress she wears, sweet moma
It's pink and blue

She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings 'bout every damn thing
But the jailhouse key

[chorus]

[chorus]
[chorus]
This is the 1966 single version::
Chorus
Don't ease, don't ease
Don't ease me in
I've been all night long coming home
Don't ease me in

I was standing on the corner
Looking all around
Well I turned around, sweet moma
I was way cross town

[chorus]

The girl I love
She's sweet and true
The dress she wears, sweet moma
It's pink and blue

[chorus]

She brings me coffee
She brings me tea
She brings me every darn thing
But the jailhouse key

[chorus]
The live 1966 version on "Birth Of The Dead" has some verses slighly different to the studio version:
I was standing on the corner
Talking to Ma Brown
Well I turned around, sweet moma
I was way cross town

The girl I love
She got my head [??]
And every time I see her
I [leave this town]


She brings me coffee
She brings me tea
She brings me every darn thing
But the jailhouse key

I was standing on the corner
Looking all around
The girl I love the best
Has left this town

This is the acoustic version from Dick's Picks Vol 8 in 1970:
Chorus
Don't ease, don't ease
Don't ease me in
I've been all night long coming home
Don't ease me in

I was standing on the corner
With a dollar in my hand
I was looking for a woman, sweet moma
Didn't have no man

[chorus]

I was walking down Main (note 1)
Deep [Ellem] too
And all the women down there
They got the Texas blues


[chorus]

The girl I love
She's sweet and true
And the dress she wears, sweet moma
It's pink and blue

She brings me coffee
You know she brings me tea
She brings me 'bout every darn thing
Except the jailhouse key

[chorus]
[chorus]
Notes
(1) On 26 October 1972, in a version when he mucked the verses around quite a bit, Jerry Garcia sang:
The girl I love
Deep [Ellem] too
Well all the women round there
They got the Texas blues
"Deep Ellem too" isn't right: it sounds as if Jerry sings something like "Deep Eleanor too" or "She better born true." (Thanks to Lucius for alerting me to this version)

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     studio 1966 Birth Of The Dead (note a)
     studio 1966 Birth Of The Dead (instrumental) (note a)
     live Jul 1966 Birth Of The Dead (note a)
     18 Apr 1970 Family Dog at the Great Highway
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     15 May 1970 Road Trips Vol 3 No 3 (early show)
     30 Jun 1970 Festival Express (DVD)
     17 Nov 1972 Dave's Picks Volume 11
     19 Oct 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 19
     26 Feb 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 28
     28 Mar 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 16
      2 Apr 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 21
      9 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     30 Nov 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
     10 Dec 1973 Download Series Vol 8
      4 May 1979 Live At The Coliseum
     studio 1980 Go To Heaven
     31 Oct 1980 Dead Ahead (video/DVD)
      6 May 1981 Dick's Picks Vol 13
     16 May 1981 30 Trips Around The Sun
     31 Jul 1982 30 Trips Around The Sun
     31 Aug 1983 30 Days Of The Dead (2010)
     27 Jun 1985 30 Days Of The Dead (2013)
      3 Sep 1985 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)
      1 Nov 1985 Dick's Picks Vol 21
     16 Sep 1987 30 Days Of The Dead (2013)
      3 Apr 1989 Download Series Vol 9
     26 Oct 1989 30 Trips Around The Sun
     15 Mar 1990 Terrapin Station (Limited Edition)
     22 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
     30 Mar 1990 Spring 1990
 
Other Dead-related recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2011 Persuasions of the Dead The Persuasions

Notes
(a) originally released as part of the Rhino box set The Golden Road (1965-1973). The studio version was issued as the Grateful Dead 7" single volume 1.

Origins

An early recording by Henry Thomas is included on the compilation "Roots Of The Grateful Dead." The lyrics are very hard to make out in places: Garcia seems to have picked up the ones that are easiest to decipher. But there are verses that the Dead play (eg "dollar in my hand") that aren't in this version, so they may have learnt it from another source.
Chorus
Don't ease, don't ya ease
Don't ya ease me in
It's all night long, Cunningham
Don't ease me in

Sometimes I walk
Sometimes I jog
I loved you drunk, great God
[zema zuma zog]

[chorus]

I dig my girl
With a single tree
She hides up the river, sweet mama
Got a watch on me

[chorus]

I's got a girl
She's named Miss [Jo?]
Believe ya walking [lover babe]
Talking to Ma Brown

[chorus]

I was standing on the corner
Talking to Ma Brown
I turned around, sweet mama
I was [way cross bound]

[chorus]

I've got a girl
And she working hard
Said the dress she wears, sweet mama
It's pink and blue

She brings me coffee
And she bring me tea
She bring me everything
Except the jailhouse key

[chorus]

Got the Texas blues
I got the Texas blues
Is all night long, Cunningham
Don't ease me in

Said I looked down Main
Old Ellem too
Said all the women coming down Main
Have them Texas blues
The Dead sing "coming home" instead of "Cunningham" in the chorus - Cunningham was the owner of a large sugar cane business at Sugar Land in Texas, with much of his labor force leased from nearby state prison farms.

Henry Thomas also recorded a very similar song: "Don't Leave Me Here":
Chorus
Don't leave, don't you leave
Don't you leave me here
It's all night long, sweet mama
Don't leave me here

I was standing on the corner
Talking to Ma Brown
I turned around sweet mama
I was way across town

[chorus]

I'm Alabama bound
I'm Alabama bound
Yes all night long, sweet mama
I'm Alabama bound

Well I've got a girl
And she's working hard
And the dress she wears, sweet loving babe
Said it's pink and blue

She brings me coffee
And she brings me tea
She brings me everything
Except the jailhouse key

[chorus]

'Cause I'm going away
And it won't be long
[incomprehensible]
I'm Alabama bound

[chorus]

'Cause I'm going away
And it won't be long
[Just ease your trailing days]
I'm Alabama bound

[chorus]

Said the boat's up the river
And she won't come down
I believe to my soul, sweet mama
She's water bound

I look to the east
And I look to the west
And she head to the south, great God
She's Alabama bound

[chorus]

Alabama bound
Alabama bound
Yes all night long, sweet mama
Don't leave me here
This in turn seems to be based on a Jelly Roll Morton song "Don't You Leave Me Here", recorded in 1939 but written much earlier (and with Henry Thomas including new verses or verses picked up from other songs such as Alabama Bound):
Don't you leave me here
Don't you leave me here
If you just must go, sweet babe
Leave a dime for beer

And the rooster crow
The hen ran around
She said if you want my fricasee
You got to run me down

Never had
No one woman at a time
I always had
Six, seven, eight or nine

Don't you leave me here


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 online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com

 


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