Althea

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

I told Althea I was feeling lost
Lacking in some direction
Althea told me upon scrutiny
That my back might need protection
I told Althea that treachery
Was tearing me limb from limb
Althea told me, now cool down boy
Settle back easy, Jim

You may be Saturday's child all grown
Moving with a pinch of grace
You may be a clown in the burying ground
Or just another pretty face
You may be the fate of Ophelia
Sleeping and perchance to dream
Honest to the point of recklessness (note 1)
Self-centred to the extreme

Ain't nobody messin' with you but you
Your friends are getting most concerned
Loose with the truth, maybe its your fire
Baby, I hope you don't get burned
When the smoke has cleared, she said
That's what she said to me
You're gonna want a bed to lay your head
And a little sympathy

There are things you can replace
And others you cannot
The time has come to weigh those things
This space is gettin' hot
You know this space is gettin' hot

I told Althea, I'm a roving sign
That I was born to be a bachelor
Althea told me, OK that's fine
So now I'm trying to catch her
Can't talk to you without talking to me (note 2)
We're guilty of the same old thing
Thinking a lot about less and less
And forgetting the love we bring
Notes
(1) Garcia sang "self-centered to the point of innocence" in a studio rehearsal, and in early live versions of the song (thanks to Joek Roex for pointing this out). He also mixed up the order of the verses, for example:
I told Althea I was feeling lost ...
You may be the fate of Ophelia ...

I told Althea that treachery ...
When the smoke has cleared, she said ...

You may be Saturday's child all grown ...
Ain't nobody messin' with you but you ...
(2) Hunter's lyrics in "Box Of Rain" are "Can't talk to me without talking to you" but Garcia sang it the other way round

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     31 Oct 1979 Road Trips Volume 1, Number 1
      5 Nov 1979 Road Trips Full Show: Spectrum 11/5/79
     studio 1980 Go To Heaven
     6 May 1980 Road Trips Volume 3, Number 4
     16 May 1980 Go To Nassau
      3 Sep 1980 Download Series Vol 7
      Oct 1980 Go To Heaven (note 3)
     14 Mar 1981 30 Days Of The Dead (2010)
      5 Apr 1982 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 4
      7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
     14 Oct 1983 Dick's Picks Vol 6
     15 Mar 1990 Terrapin Station (Limited Edition)
     15 Mar 1990 Without A Net

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Ratdoglive CDs and downloads

Phil Lesh and Friends Digital Download Series

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs
 
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1997 Fire On The Mountain Vol 2 Reggae Celebrates The Grateful Dead (Culture)
     1997 Pickin' On The Grateful Dead David West et al
     2000 Crazy Fingers The Grass Is Dead
     2010 Seattle Peace Concert Ultraviolet Uforia
     23 Jul 2011 Jerry Jams for Rex II Yonder Mountain String Band
     2013 Keys Keller Willams

Notes
(3) issued as a bonus track on the version in the box set Beyond Description (1973-1990)


Futher 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 information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 2 (piano arrangement)
          Without A Net Songbook (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


Notes
(4) the sheet music in "Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 2" misses out the second page of the music (it is correct in the "Without A Net" songbook)

 


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